Friday, 15 December 2017

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Kimberley Dynamiters win a defense first game against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats

The Kimberley Dynamiters had a lone game this weekend, a rematch of Tuesday's comeback overtime win against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.

The Thunder Cats entered the game as one of four KIJHL teams with a better road record than home record. The Cats have also been explosive the past two Saturday's. Scoring eight goals against the Nitro's two Saturday's ago, and then doubled that to a walloping 16 goals against the Golden Rockets.

When the question was posed on Twitter if the Thunder Cats would continue their scoring sequence, of either adding eight more goals or doubling their goal output, the Thunder Cats Twitter account jokingly said, "how about we go easy and we make it 24."

Dynamiters captain Brett Roberts weighed in on the conversation and said "I'm thinking zero."

When the Cats rolled into Kimberley, they had come off a hard fought 7-2 win over the Fernie Ghostriders, while the Dynamiters had Friday night off.

Cam Russell, the Nitro's November Player of the Month, continued his scoring streak, now with points in six games straight, by banging in the first goal at the midway point of the first.

"I'm getting to my game where I like to play, and being comfortable with that." Russell said, "I want to keep playing good."

The middle period was scoreless as both teams were playing defense first hockey. The defensive pair of James Rota and Mason Palaga were, according to Stuart, doing a fantastic job with their task of shutting down the Cats top line.

Tempers began to flair during the end of the second and start of the third, and one couldn't help but have flashbacks to two Saturday's ago. Cooler heads did prevail, and the game resumed it's fast-skating, defense-first pace.

Russell would score his second goal of the game on the power play as he fired a shot in from the circle. He has now scored five goals and three assists in his past six games.

"Russell has been our best player going on six-weeks now." Stuart said after the game. "You can see why, he works harder than anyone else and he just wants it more."

That would be it for the entries into the boxscore, as the Nitro's would maintain the pace and hold the 2-0 lead.

Cody Campbell turned away all 27 shots earning his third shutout and 14th win of the season.

It was newcomer Ryan Keilty's first game in Kimberley, but second with the team. Stuart says Keilty has a hard shift to do from playing Nelson style hockey to Nitro's style.

"He listens well and he is smart. We just need to get the mentality of relaxing, staying back, and being passive out of his mind and be more aggressive and pressure guys. It was a much different system in Nelson. It will take time to adjust."

Looking at the whole game, Stuart was pleased with the win, but not pleased with the performance, "I thought it was pretty defensive, a lot of mistakes, and quite boring to be completely honest with you. But we will take the two points."

"Our confidence [against Creston] should be better. I really liked how we played a lot more on Tuesday then we did tonight. They were flat and we weren't much better tonight."

After the game, Roberts had a big ear to ear smile, "How about that zero?" he said, "It's a big win. Campbell played great. Everybody played hard defense. It was good for us to get a good win on home ice."

Roberts said that he and the players usually stay away from social media interactions, but said that on this occasion he had to take a stand "It is good to stand up for the boys, let them know that we are going to have that happen."

The Dynamiters now sit first in the league with a two point lead over the Nelson Leafs, having played the same amount of games. They also hold a seven point lead in the division against Creston.

Upcoming this weekend is a home-away series against the Columbia Valley Rockies.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Kimberley Dynamiters stun the Creston Valley Thunder Cats with a 5-4 comeback OT win

On Tuesday the Kimberley Dynamiters traveled to Creston to play the Thunder Cats. Entering the game, the Nitro's trailed the season series 0-2-1.

This game was one of the more anticipated games of the season so far, due to the outcome the last time these two teams met. There was also KIJHL and BC Hockey representatives in attendance.

Both teams were still suffering from the outcomes of the penalty filled 8-1 win for the Cats over the Nitro's, as both teams had players still out due to suspension.

The first period was a fast paced draw. Adam Andersen turned aside all 13 shots he faced in the period, while the Dynamiters had no scoring success on their 14 shots.

The Nitro's have struggled in the middle period in the past, and this game was no exception. The Cats chased Andersen from the net scoring three goals on five shots in just over 10 minutes. The Cats were not done, and scored a fourth goal against Cody Campbell with just over four minutes left in the second.

"There were defensive breakdowns." Head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said. "We had a couple miscoverages, and one moment where the player went for the poke-check instead of the body."

Brandt Bertoia answered back for the Nitro's, scoring with 140 seconds left. But it felt like it was too little too late and that the Nitro's had lost the game in 40 minutes of play, trailing 4-1.

"We told the guys [in the second intermission] to stop panicking and to have some poise, and to play with some confidence. We know we are better team then we showed in the second period."

"The message was simply to relax and have some fun out there."

The Dynamiters came bursting out in the third period with Bryce McDonald and Derian Bamber scoring 66 seconds apart before two minutes had even elapsed in the third period. The comeback was on.

The period waned on and it began to look like the Cats had held on long enough. The Dynamiters pulled their goalie with just over a minute left. With the 22 seconds left the Cats called a timeout after icing the puck. There was a scramble in the corner and the Cats cleared the puck out to a waiting-in-the-slot Mason Palaga's who fired the puck nailing the water bottle to tie the game with 9 second remaining.

In the first four-on-four over-time the Nitro's got a glorious opportunity with a four-on-three power play. Several posts and close calls, and this game remained knotted at four after the four-on-four fourth period.

The second over-time period began, it was three-on-three. There was a lot of ice to work with. At times the Cats elected to go with three forwards, while the Nitro's went with two forwards and a defender.

The action was frantic. Nitro's leading scorer Brock Palmer, emerged with the puck from the corner on his forehand, reaching to wrap the puck around the goalie, hitting the post. He followed up the loose puck and scored the overtime winning goal, completing the come from behind win. Stunning all the fans, players and coaches.

"I think our depth took over." Stuart said. "There is only so many minutes James, Plunkett, and Wilkie can play, that line started running out of gas."

For the first time this season the Kimberley Dynamiters defeated the Creston Valley Thunder Cats. With the win the Nitro's hold a seven point lead on the Cats.

"I liked our first, third and overtime. We have talked about how hard it is to play a full 60 minutes, and we are striving for it.

"At this point, against these guys, just to get the win mentally was all we are looking for."

The Cats and Nitro's face off again on Saturday at the Civic Centre, the Nitro's only game this weekend. The Cats, of course, will want redemption from the over-time loss, and to reign in the Nitro's in the standings.

The game starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Kimberley Civic Centre on Saturday.