Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Setting up the 2017 Cyclone Taylor Cup

The Cyclone Taylor Cup starts tomorrow. Here is a summary of each teams regular season and playoff stats.

Creston Valley Thunder CatsRegular SeasonCampbell River Storm
4.77Offence (GFA)4.52
2.51Defence (GAA)2.63
0.911Goaltending (SV%)0.900
21.61%Power Play22.76%
87.56%Penalty Kill85.15%
27.47%Top 3 Dependence29.32%
Paxton Malone (26G-38A)Top ScorerColin Blake (34G-44A)
Liam Plunkett (18G-37A)2nd Top ScorerKobe Oishi (19G-31A)
Thomas Cankovic (14G-35A)3rd Top ScorerAaron Brewer (11G-29A)
Liam Rycroft (131)PIM LeaderBrayden McCartney (177)

4.00Offence (GFA)4.69
2.60Defence (GAA)2.75
0.924Goaltending (SV%)0.904
22.00%Power Play15.58%
85.11%Penalty Kill77.63%
36.66%Top 3 Dependence26.74%
Thomas Cankovic (5G-10A)Top ScorerDarren Hards (6G-12A)
Ronnie Wilkie (6G-7A)2nd Top ScorerCarter Hikichi (8G-6A)
Justen James (6G-7A)3rd Top ScorerColin Blake (5G-9A)
Justen James (32)PIM LeaderBen Raffler (41)

Beaver Valley NitehawksRegular SeasonAldergrove Kodiaks
4.64Offence (GFA)4.95
2.23Defence (GAA)2.63
0.911Goaltending (SV%)0.901
25.00%Power Play21.30%
87.34%Penalty Kill84.42%
24.41%Top 3 Dependence33.52%
Tyler Hartman (17G-33A)Top ScorerEric Callegari (26G-47A)
Dylan Heppler (19G-30A)2nd Top ScorerCameron Davitt (25G-37A)
Blake Sidoni (16G-29A)3rd Top ScorerMatt Oliver (28G-21A)
McKoy Hauck (137)PIM LeaderTy Pickering (116)

4.25Offence (GFA)4.47
2.13Defence (GAA)3.07
0.913Goaltending (SV%)0.886
18.84%Power Play23.81%
87.50%Penalty Kill76.62%
26.34%Top 3 Dependence31.36%
Tyler Hartman (6G-11A)Top ScorerQuincey Leroux (8G-10A)
Tyler Ghirardosi (9G-7A)2nd Top ScorerCameron Davitt (7G-11A)
Dylan Heppler (6G-10A)3rd Top ScorerEric Callegari (12G-5A)
Mitch Foyle (30)PIM LeaderJeremy Lagler (73)

Friday, 31 March 2017

Kimberley Dynamiters coach reflects on first season

When the Kimberley Dynamiters finished their training camp on August 28 and prepared for the upcoming regular season, the 23-man roster contained only seven players who had played a game in the KIJHL, and only five of those played for the Nitro’s the season before.

Not only did the team have a new head coach, but they had a completely new roster. Many around the league and at home pegged this season to be a rebuilding year. When the Nitro’s lost their season opener 2-1 at home against the Fernie Ghostriders, fans too began to feel it was a rebuilding year.

But then the Nitro’s won the remainder of their September games, winning seven in a row, going into October. Then as October ended and November started, the Nitro’s went on another seven-game winning streak. And to the fans pleasure, the Dynamiters were not losing at home, including sweeping the Christmas Classic with Fernie, and would not lose at the Civic Centre until January 14 against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.

During that time span, the Dynamiters had an astounding 29 player transactions as Stuart would keep tweaking his lineup.

The player’s individual work would start garnering league wide attention. Mitch Traichevich was an honorable mention for player of the month in October, and would later be traded to his hometown club in Dawson Creek.

Later, in December Cody Campbell would go undefeated posting two shutouts and earning the Kootenay Conference Player of the Month recognition, while newly acquired Nolan Kurylo scored seven goals and 12 points during December receiving an honorable mention for player of the month.

Kurylo would keep up his top-notch performance in January scoring six goals and 19 points in nine games. That would be the only highlight to January, as the Nitro’s would lose ground on the division leading Thunder Cats.

The Dynamiters would close out the regular season strong, winning their last five games, and lineup against the Fernie Ghostriders in a fan favourite best of seven series in the opening round. Chase Miller would be named the Eddie Mountain Divisions Top Rookie posting 19 goals and 32 assists.

This series helped the Dynamiters build character as they would finish the ‘Riders season with Tyler Van Steinburg scoring in double overtime.

Next was the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, the Cyclone Taylor Cup hosts, a team stacked because of their automatic ticket to Junior B tournament. Winning game one, and then game three and four in double overtime, what once seemed impossible at the start of the season, was becoming a reality.

For the third year in a row the Dynamiters would advance to the Kootenay Conference Finals, after winning the Eddie Mountain Division playoff title, and face the Beaver Valley Nitehawks. The “rebuilding” team would force a winner-take-all game five. And that’s where the Nitro’s magical run would end, one game away from advancing to the KIJHL finals for a third year in a row.

While Campbell would be named the teams playoff MVP, James Farmer would put on the best offensive output by a defenceman in the KIJHL in recent memory, and lead the team in scoring with five goals and 15 assists.

When Stuart reflected on the season he acknowledged there was a learning curve, unfamiliar territory and a lot of uncertainty.

“I didn't really see it going this well, given all the uncertainty. I couldn't have asked for a better group of people from the executive right down to the equipment manager.”

“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.”

Stuart was very pleased with the support of the community and the fans, “One of my goals at the start of year was to put together a team that the town would be proud of, I really think we did that.”

While it is still too early to venture into what the team will look like next season, Staurt is excited about next season.

“We could be a dangerous hockey club next year. We have 20 eligible players that could come back, about 10 have indicated already that they would like to come back, and the closer to 20 returnees we get the more dangerous we will be.”

It was a rebuilding year, the team did over exceed expectations. Stuart and staff now have a foundation established that they can build upon.

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.