Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Kimberley Dynamiters Playoff MVP: Cody Campbell

The Kimberley Dynamiters named Cody Campbell as their Playoff MVP.

"I feel honored that head coach Derek Stuart and the rest of the staff thought that I deserved the award." Campbell said about receiving the award. "It's pretty awesome. I feel like I put a lot of hard work in.

"I never really had an award or recognition like that before."

During the playoff run Campbell started all 17 games, winning 10 with a 2.79 GAA and a .916 SV%. Campbell also earned one shutout and five stars of the game.

For Campbell, he had two highlights of the playoff run.

First was in the division finals against Creston, "The whole Creston series was a battle. We weren't necessarily supposed to win it. 

"After we won in overtime in game four, to go up three-one. We realized, 'Wow we have them on the ropes.' That was probably one of the coolest moments, winning back-to-back overtime games."

The second was against Fernie, "The other really fun game, was game six against Fernie that went to double overtime. That game was crazy."

Photo by Jodi L'Heureux

Monday, 27 March 2017

Interviews with Kimberley Dynamiters 20 year olds

Kimberley Dynamiters are eliminated from the KIJHL Playoffs by Beaver Valley Nitehawks

The Kimberley Dynamiters worked hard in game four to force a winner-take-all game five with the Beaver Valley Nitehawks on Friday in an attempt to reach the KIJHL finals for a third year in a row.

The past two trips to the KIJHL finals, the Nitro’s have had to go through the Nitehawks to get there. The Nitehawks, however, were hopeful that third meeting would be the charm for them.

It didn’t take long for the Nitehawks to get the 350 in attendance, a capacity crowd, celebrating by scoring a mere 2:30 into the game. It soon became apparent, that Nitehawks Tyler Ghirardosi was on a one man mission to advance the Nitehawks into the KIJHL Finals. He scored his second of the period at 6:41, and then his hat-trick goal at the 10:35 mark of the first period.

“Unfortunately, we had three missed assignments, or bad shifts that ended in the back of our net.” Nitro’s head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said. “Three simple mistakes that they made us pay for.”

The Dynamiters did respond with Devon Langelaar scoring second of the playoffs, and Nolan Kurylo with his 10th of the playoffs.

“That's how we have been all year. We don't quit. Our resiliency has been there all season long.”

The Nitehawks wouldn’t go away, and would score their fourth of the period, taking a 4-2 lead into the second period.

Despite being doubled on the scoreboard, Stuart was very pleased with his teams performance.

“As weird as it may look and sound, I thought that was our best first period of the entire series.

“We outshot them, we had more scoring chances, and we scored two goals in their rink in the first period.”

Both teams would halt all scoring in the middle frame. The Dynamiters kept pressing, but were having a tough time finding a way to beat the Nitehawks and their goalie, Tallon Kramer, for a third goal.

“Despite the score being 4-2 we had a chance to win, and they believed it. We just couldn't get that third one.

“If we just could have got that third one, I really believe we would've been able to tie it up.”

In the third period, with just under nine minutes left, the Nitehawks would add their fifth goal of the game on the power play.

“After they got their fifth goal, the effort was still there, as impressive as that was, but everyone saw the writing on the wall.”

As the game wore down, the Dynamiters wanted to finish the season with class.

“For us as coaches, we tried to get Colapaolo, Hozjan and Lassiter out there as much as possible.”

But the emotion of losing started taking over, and weighing on everyone.

“The last couple of minutes it was tough to see the boys faces, it's two minutes that no coach or player likes to experience.”

It was a hard fought loss. The third time would be the charm for the Nitehawks as their 5-2 victory advanced them to the KIJHL finals against the Chase Heat.

Stuart felt that the team was treated unfairly by the officials. The Nitro’s were handed 68 minutes’ worth of penalties compared to the Nitehawks 32. This includes four 10-minute misconducts (Farmer, Langelaar, Langridge x2) and one game misconduct; some of them Stuart didn’t feel were necessary or understandable.

“I'm really confused as to why a ref would do that to a young kid and make him miss 10 minutes of the game.”

But he added, “Those don't have an effect on the outcome of the game, but it does impact the game at that time.  It hurt not to have them for 10 minutes.”

Even though the loss hurts, the Nitro’s can hold their heads high where they accomplished a lot more than anyone expected.

“I am most proud of is how they players came together and competed and battled as a team. They were, in my opinion, a true team.”

MATCH STICKS: The Nitro’s finished the series with injuries. Harrison Risdon received a concussion in game two. Tyler Van Steinburg broke his clavicle in game two. The Nitro’s conducted exit interviews this past Sunday, and Stuart is hopeful for more returnee’s next season.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Comparing KIJHL Division Awards with (unofficial) All-Stars

Remember back in early February when a bunch of social media brains got together and created an (unofficial) KIJHL All-Star team? No, well check it out here.

The KIJHL (FINALLY) released all of the division awards, which means it is time to compare how the all-star lines compare with coach-voted upon division awards.

The compete list is below, players in bold were named to the all-star lines, italicized received votes but not enough to make the team.

MVP – Michael Fidanza Chase Heat
Top Defenseman – Pat Brady – Chase Heat
Most Sportsmanlike – Joshua Bourne – Chase Heat
Top Div Goalie – Nicolas Bruyere – Chase Heat
Top Scorer Doug Birks Div – Michael Fidanza – Chase Heat
Top Rookie – Rob Raju – 100 Mile House Wranglers

MVP – Colin Bell – Osoyoos Coyotes
Top Defenseman – Daniel Stone – Osoyoos Coyotes
Most Sportsmanlike – Daniel Stone – Osoyoos Coyotes
Top Scorer – Colin Bell – Osoyoos Coyotes
Top Div Goalie – Adam Jones – Osoyoos Coyotes
Top Rookie – Jason Village – Kelowna Chiefs

MVP – John Moeller – Castlegar Rebels
Most Sportsmanlike – Ed Lindsey – Castlegar Rebels
Top Scorer – Logan Styler – Castlegar Rebeles
Top Defenseman – McKoy Hauck – Beaver Valley Nitehawks
Top Div Goalie– Tallon Kramer – Beaver Valley Nitehawks
Top Rookie – Luke Gallagher – Spokane Braves

MVP - Sebastian Kilcommons – Creston Valley Thundercats
Top Defenseman – Sebastian Kilcommons – Creston Valley Thundercats
Most Sportsmanlike – Sebastian Kilcommons – Creston Valley thundercats
Top Div Goalie – Brock Lefebvre – Creston Valley Thundercats
Top Scorer – Paxton Malone – Creston Valley Thundercats
Top Rookie – Chase Miller – Kimberley Dynamiters

A quick look shows that Sebastian Kilcommons was the number one overlooked player when naming the all-star lines. He brought home three pieces of hardware, yet did not receive a single vote by those involved (Ooops!).

Another quick observation is the amount in common with the Okanagan Division. All but one lined up, and the one that didn't make it, still received a vote.

Obviously, this shows how paid coaches and social media volunteers see the game differently.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

10+ Year History of Top KIJHL Playoff Defencemen Scorers

I was challenged to look at how impressive James Farmer's post-season numbers have been for a defencemen. And of course, I can't turn down a statistical challenge.

I went through all the years that are available on the KIJHL website and grabbed the top point scoring defender. There are some years where there are ties (2014, 2010), and some years where no defender made the top 25 (2011, 2012, 2015).

Here is the complete list of each post-seasons top 25 scoring defenders, ordered by points.

Defender PO Year Team GP G A PTS
James Farmer 2017 Kimberley Dynamiters 16 5 15 20
Bryce Perpelitz 2014 Kimberley Dynamiters 12 6 12 18
Daniel Buchanan 2014 Kamloops Storm 20 4 14 18
Brayden Sherbinin 2010 Nelson Leafs 24 6 9 15
Caleb Roy 2010 Revelstoke Grizzlies 15 2 13 15
Erik Alden 2013 Castlegar Rebels 21 6 9 15
Justin Palazzo 2009 Kamloops Storm 19 0 14 14
Kevin Koopman 2006 Beaver Valley Nitehawks 15 7 6 13
Derek Porter 2007 Fernie Ghostriders 17 2 11 13
Jordan Busch  2016 Kimberley Dynamiters 16 3 10 13
Cody Lockwood 2008 Kamloops Storm 21 4 8 12

While it is noticeable that Farmer is #1 on this list, another observation (Kimberley bias) is that there are two past Nitro's on this list, Perpelitz (who Farmer passed two points ago), and Jordan Busch.

This is a team sport, but Farmer's performance this post season is one for the history books.

The Kimberley Dynamiters force decisive Game Five against Beaver Valley Nitehawks

After splitting games one and two in Fruitvale, the Kimberley Dynamiters lost game three at home, and then won game four, forcing a final and decisive game five in Fruitvale on Friday.

Game three was played at the Kimberley Civic Centre on Tuesday night with 1,024 in attendance. The Beaver Valley Nitehawks’ Dylan Heppler struck first, scoring just after the five-minute mark in the first.

Nitro’s Matt Davies would dangle in short handed and score a beauty of a goal to tie the game at one. But this was as close as the game would be, as the Nitehawks would put pressure on and chase down the puck, scoring two more goals before the second ended.

“Frustration was definitely starting to creep in on the bench.” Said head coach and general manager Derek Stuart. “They were working extremely hard, taking a lot of abuse, but weren't getting rewarded for it on the scoreboard. It's hard to convince the players that scoring chances are a type of reward.”

The Dynamiters struggled to finish their chances as the Nitehawks would score their fourth goal of the game late in third on a defensive miscue by the Dynamiters.

The Nitehawks would take a 2-1 series lead with their 4-1 win.

“It wasn't a 4-1 game.” Stuart said, “They finished their scoring chances and we didn't. It was pretty even game throughout the course of 60 minutes, in terms of scoring chances and opportunities.”

The focus quickly shifted from Tuesday nights loss, to the elimination game on Wednesday night.

“Tomorrow is the easiest job for coaches for pre-game motivation, if we lose, we go home. Motivation shouldn't be a problem tomorrow.” Stuart said.

Nitro’s captain, Ryan Hozjan, added: “Make sure that when we wake up tomorrow that we forget about tonight…

“Every one has believed and wanted to get to the finals for a third year in a row. We are going to keep digging away.”

Wednesday was the first time this post-season that the Dynamiters faced elimination, as such 1,043 Nitro’s faithful, sprinkled with a few ‘Hawks faithful, filled the Civic Centre.

Both teams skated out a defensive first period, neither team wanting to make an error to cost the game.

Cody Campbell has a history of bouncing back, and he showed his commitment to the team, “I don't want to be the reason that the ship sinks, we have such an amazing opportunity here.”

Campbell would make 17 saves in the middle period, which allowed the team the opportunity to take the lead. Franco Colapaolo would take the puck from the corner, and with patience, skate across Nitehawks Tallon Kramer and give the Dynamiters a 1-0 lead.

“It feels great.” Colapaolo said about scoring the first goal, “I just try to help out the team in any way I can. I knew it was going to be a tight game, and I knew we needed the first goal - we play pretty good when we get the first one.”

The Nitehawks would turn up the intensity dial in the third, but the Dynamiters matched pace, and hold on to win 1-0.

Campbell was named the home star of the game as he made 32 saves to earn his first shut out of the post-season.

“I feel that under pressure in these playoffs I have good, and the team has been great. It's a lot of fun.” Campbell said. “The whole team very is happy.

“We knew it wasn't going to be easy, they are a phenomenal team. We are on cloud nine.
Thursday is a rest and travel day for both teams before the winner-takes-all game five on Friday for a ticket to the KIJHL Finals.

“But we are not done,” Campbell said “We know we can enjoy [the win] for the next couple of hours. Make sure we are ready to go for Friday.”

“We have been believing all season,” Colapaolo said “Even if people weren't giving us a chance.

“We know in that room that we are a good team and that we can beat any one on any given night. Hopefully we planted some doubt in [the Nitehawks] minds tonight.”

Faceoff is 8:30 MDT at the Fruitvale Arena.

MATCH STICKS: The Osoyoos Coyotes and Chase Heat will be playing their game 5 at 9:00 MDT on Friday, winner advances to the KIJHL finals.

Check it out in the Kimberley Bulletin/Cranbrook Townsman

Photo's by Jonathan Righton

Monday, 20 March 2017

Kimberley Dynamiters split series opener in Fruitvale

The Kimberley Dynamiters opened the Kootenay Conference series with a split against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.

Game one was played on Friday, and heavily favoured the home-town Beaver Valley Nitehawks. The Nitehawks scored two lucky goals very early. They would then score their third of the game on a deflated Nitro’s team with 2:21 left in the first.

“We weren't very good in the first and had a couple of unlucky bounces end up in our net. The game was 1-1 after that.” Head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said. “However, against a team like Beaver Valley one bad period can cost you a game.”

The Nitro’s would slow the Nitehawks relentless pace in the second before trading goals in the third. Brandt Bertoia would be the Nitro’s only goal scorer, falling 4-1 to the Nitehawks.

Cody Campbell, despite being pulled after Beaver Vlley’s fourth goal, made 32 saves and was named the away star of the game.

The Dynamiters regrouped, and prepared for game two.

Even though the Nitehawks held a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes, the Dynamiters played a strong opening period.

“It was excellent at the start of the game. We got back to the mentality of focusing on your next shift, and nothing else.” Stuart said.

“It was a big improvement, everything from the preparation, to the execution, to the communication.”

The Nitro’s would then storm back in the second. Nolan Kurylo would score on the power play to tie the game, and Nic Herringer would score with 70 seconds left in the second to give the Dynamiters a 2-1 lead.

Franco Colapaolo would give the Nitro’s a 3-1 lead as he potted an empty net goal. The Nitehawks wouldn’t go away, scoring with 31 seconds left to make it 3-2. And that’s how the game would end.

Campbell was once again named the away star turning aside 26 of 28 shots.

The Dynamiters took Sunday as a long travel day. Stuart said from the Kootenay Lake Ferry that the team needs a rest.

“We [need to] have our rest, because we really need to continue to use our speed. They had a tough time handling our speed and quickness, if we can continue to do that on our big ice it will bode well for us.”

He added that “We are excited to get home and be in front of our crowd and on our ice.”

The last time the Nitehawks were in the Kimberley Civic Centre was March 21, 2016, game five of the Kootenay Conference finals. Just over 1,100 fans watched the Nitro’s win 3-1 and advance to the KIJHL finals.

Games three and four of the series are Tuesday and Wednesday at 7p.m. at the Kimberley Civic Centre, with game five back in Fruitvale if needed.

MATCH STICKS: The Osoyoos Coyotes won 6-5 in double OT on Sunday to take a 2-0 series lead over the Chase Heat in the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference Finals.