Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Story: Adam Andersen signs with Kimberley Dynamiters


The Kimberley Dynamiters have signed Adam Andersen ('00), a local goaltender and affiliate player from last season.

"We really liked what we saw from Adam last year when played and practiced with us." Said head coach and general manager Derek Stuart. "What we saw from him was not just his goaltending ability, but his attitude, the way he works, he is overall an great kid."

"He performed well in the games he got to play in. His potential as a goaltender and everything else is fantastic."

Signing with  the Nitro's is a dream come true for the hometown goaltender.

"It's huge for me. It's a goal I've had since I was a little kid. Being in Grade 12 and playing for the Dynamiters is something I have always wanted to do."

While statistically speaking, it was a small sample size of two games for Andersen, he had fantastic goaltending numbers and had the best numbers on the team last season. He posted two wins in his two starts while recording a 2.39 goals against average and a .904 save percentage.

For Andersen, he doesn't believe it was his numbers were the reason he was signed.

"I played as well as I could, but I have been practicing with the team for two years now. I was there every week last year. I got to know the coaches and team well. I felt like I was a part of the team. It was working hard in practice that made this come true."

On top of practicing with the Nitro's, Andersen was a goaltender for the Cranbrook Dynamiters, Midget AA, in the South Central Alberta Junior Hockey League. The team lost all 36 of their games. As a result, Andersen was the last line of defence and was peppered with pucks facing more than a shot per minute.

Andersen wants to continue to fulfill his hopes and dreams with the Dynamiters.

"My goal is to be a starter. It is my first year in junior hockey, I am just going to do what I can. If it's available to me, I'll try to take control of it. It's one of my goals, but not what I am expecting to happen. It's a very good league. I'm looking to just play my best, and go from there."

As for the goaltending situation right now for the Nitro's, they still have the rights to Cody Campbell but expect and hope him to move on to Junior A. That currently leaves Andersen and Cody Call manning the crease.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Story: Cooper Page signs with Calgary Canucks (AJHL)


Another Kimberley Dynamiter is moving up to Junior A, this time it is Cooper Page. Page, a Calgary, AB native, has signed with the Calgary Canucks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL).

Page started last season with the Okotoks Oilers (AJHL). The 18 year old registered six goals and seven assists in 32 games before joining the Kimberley Dynamiters at the deadline. He then played 14 games with the Nitro's in the regular season, recording two goals and nine assists, and then scored two goals and eight assists in 17 playoff games.

"Kimberley was an unbelievable experience," Page said of his time with the Nitro's, "coming to Kimberley midway through the season I didn't know what to expect. Everything about it exceeded my expectations, all the way to the atmosphere on game days to the passionate community."


Kimberley Dynamiters head coach and general manager Derek Stuart is excited that Page is moving up.

"We were very fortunate to acquire Cooper last January as he helped us a lot on and off the ice.

"I'm extremely happy that he has found a home with a very strong organization and is back in Junior A where he belongs."

Page himself was elated to have signed.

"Excited is the simplest way to put it. I am very familiar with the coaching staff as they had coached me in past years. Therefor making me that much more exited for the opportunity to play for the Canucks."

He really credits the coaching experience in Kimberley for his successful return to Junior A.

"Kimberley was great stepping stone for me. [Coach Stuart] and the rest of the coaching staff really helped me in different aspects at the game that really helped me improve get to the next level."

Page joins Chase Miller in the AJHL who recently signed with the Calgary Mustangs.



Friday, 16 June 2017

Story: Kimberley Dynamiters sign forward Cam Russell


The Kimberley Dynamiters have signed forward Cam Russell ('99) from Calgary, AB.

Russell spent his past two season with the Northwest Calgary Athletic Association Bruins, playing Midget AA hockey. In 52 games with the team he scored 25 goals and 22 assists while accumulating 74 penalty minutes.

Russell said that there are many reasons that he chose to sign with the Dynamiters, saying that the reputation of the town, the incredible fan base, and the coaching staff, all influenced his decision.

Head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said that Russell is the type of forward who can play any role he is given, whether that is on the top line, on the power play, or on the fourth line. He is a character player, that Stuart feels keeps with the tradition the team has developed.

Russell said of himself: "I like to say I'm really well-rounded centre. You can rely on me on the front-end and back-end, and recently I have been working on my finish."

While Russell served as the captain of the Bruins, Stuart doesn't expect Russell to take an immediate leadership role with the Dynamiters, but to be a player similar to Brandt Bertoia.

However, for Russell the experience serving as the captain last season helped elevate his game, and to lead by example on and off the ice.

Russell is looking forward to moving from Calgary to Kimberley and having a fresh start in the Nitro Nation.

"It's going to be new, it's going to be fun, it's going to be good hockey. I am excited. This is a good opportunity for me to get noticed."

Past Nitro's: Jordan Busch


Jordan Busch played three season with the Kimberley Dynamiters from 2013-16. During that time he played in 146 games, scoring 18 goals and 109 assists, becoming the all-time point leading defenceman in Dynamiters history (11th overall). He also sits fifth overall for assists and eighth for games. He then added six goals and 16 assists in 50 playoff games.

Busch played this past season with the Concordia University of Edmonton. In his freshman year with the team he scored six goals and seven assists in 23 games.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Many changes from the KIJHL AGM, including withdrawal from Keystone Cup

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League held their Annual General Meeting on June 8th and 9th. The meeting was bookended by a KIJHL coaches and general managers meeting on Thursday and the BC Hockey AGM on Saturday.

Kimberley Dynamiters head coach and general manage Derek Stuart said that this years AGM was much more interesting because the coaches and general mangers meeting laid the foundation for the KIJHL AGM.

Stuart said there were two highlights from attending his second KIJHL AGM.

First was that all four playoff series for this coming season will be a best of seven.

"The players and coaches would rather have four best of seven. It was a unanimous vote to bring that back."

The league has set aside 42 days to complete the four rounds of playoffs. A worst case scenario would see a team playing 28 games in 42 days.

Second was the league, and eventually BC Hockey, withdrew from the Keystone Cup.

"Even though I have never been to the Keystone, I have heard enough horror stories to not want to go. Withdrawal from the Keystone is big for our team, league and province."

While no replacement for the Keystone Cup has been determined it is being discussed by a committee. It appears that this may be the end of the Keystone Cup, a tournament that BC has dominated in the past ten years winning seven golds, two silvers and one bronze.

There were several other changes made as well.

The successful Prospects Game will be returning to the KIJHL again this season. The league will be blacking out the schedule during the weekend of the game. Also this year, five 18 year-olds to be allowed on each conference team.

"We thought that it wasn't fair last year, since a lot of the 18 year olds are being recruited to on the basis to play here on year as a stepping stone to get into Junior A"

An All-Star game for the league was tabled, but not pursued.

The controversial no cross-over games will remain for this coming season as it was a two year agreement by the teams and will be reevaluated at the 2018 AGM.

Stuart added that there has been a new way for coaches and officials to work, evaluate and develop together through an online forum. The hope is to be able to recruit more officials.

Stuart feels that all these changes that have been made will make the KIJHL a better product, and a better place to recruit players.

Past Nitro's: Matthew Gann


Matt Gann (#24) played for the Kimberley Dynamiters during the 2012-13 season. As a defenceman he registered five goals and three assists. He then added a goal during four playoff games.

This season he played for the Whitecourt Wild of the North Central Senior Hockey League. In 11 games he scored one goal and three assists. And then went pointless in one playoff game.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Past Nitro's: Owen Solecki


Owen Solecki played for the Kimberley Dynamiters (and a little bit with the Osoyoos Coyotes) during the 2011-12 season. The defenceman scored one goal andd 21 assists during 47 games with the Nitro's. He then added two assists in 13 playoff games.

This season he played for the Edson Ice of the North Central Senior Hockey League. He played in two games going pointless.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Chase Miller signs with Calgary Mustangs (AJHL)


Kimberley Dynamiters, and Eddie Mountain Conference, Rookie of the Year, Chase Miller, is moving on to Junior A after one season with the Kimberley Dynamiters.

The 19-year-old Calgary, AB native signed with the Calgary Mustangs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL).

"Chase is very deserving of this commitment." Kimberley Dynamiters general manager and head coach Derek Stuart said. "He had an excellent rookie season with us and has a very bright future at the Junior A level."

Miller is excited about the opportunity to play competitive Junior A hockey in his hometown while furthering his education. He was also grateful for the opportunity he had with the Nitro's.

"Playing in Kimberley under the coaching of Derek Stuart, who has been around the AJHL for many years, really helped prepare me for this level of play.

"Huge thanks to the town of Kimberley for the incredible experience. Hands down the best place in the KIJHL to play."

Miller played in 41 games this past season and lead the Nitro's in scoring during the regular season with 19 goals and 32 assists. He then added two goals and 12 assists in 17 playoff games.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Past Nitro's: Bryce Nielsen


Bryce Nielsen played a short but impactful stint with the Kimberley Dynamiters during the 2013-14 season. He played in eight games scoring five goals and seven assists. He then added six goals and five assists in 12 playoff games.

This year he played for New England College Pilgrims, NCAA III. He played in 27 games notching nine goals and 14 assists.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Past Nitro's: Colton Vannucci


Colton Vannucci played one full season with the Kimberley Dynamiters during the 2011-2012 season. He scored 27 goals and 48 assists in 49 games. He then added five goals and four assists in 11 playoff games.

This year he played for the York University Lions. He played in 26 games scoring four goals and 11 assists. He then added six assists in nine playoff games.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Past Nitro's: Matt Wilkins


Matt Wilkins played for the Kimberley Dynamiters from 2007-2009. He totaled 40 goals and 44 assists in 91 games with the Nitro's.

This past season he played 51 games with the Reading Royals of the East Coast Hockey League. He scored 10 goals and 14 assists in his rookie campaign.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Past Nitro's: Carter Bancks


Carter Bancks played for the Kimberley Dynamiters from 2004-2006.  He scored 25 goals and 54 assists in 61 games with the Nitro's. He also scored five goals and seven assists in 13 playoff games.

This past season he played for and captained the Utica Comets in the American Hockey League. He palyed in 69 games scoring 10 goals and 12 assists.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Past Nitro's: Matt Foster


Matt Foster played in 64 games for the Kimberley Dynamiters from 2008-2010. During that time he scored 46 goals and 31 assists.

This year he played for the Daysland Northstars, part of the North Central Senior Hockey League. In eight games he posted nine goals and six assists. He then added three goals and two assists in three playoff games as the Northstars went on to win the NCHL title.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Past Nitro's: Drayson Bowman


Drayson Bowman played one season with the Kimberley Dynamiters during the 2004-05 season before moving onto the WHL. He played in 47 games scoring 29 goals and 30 assists.

This past season he played for the Düsseldorfer EG in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga. In 51 games he scored 11 goals and nine assists.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Past Nitro's: Tommy Latouche-Gauvin


Tommy Latouche-Gauvin played for the Kimberley Dynamiters from 2005-2008. During his three seasons he scored 86 goals and 83 assists in 142 games. He sits 7th all-time with 169 points (goals 3rd, assists 10th).

This past season he played for the Balsta Hockey Club, a Division 2 league in Sweden. He averaged a point per game, with 18 goals and nine assists in 27 games.

The Kimberley Dynamiters held their Annual General Meeting

The Kimberley Dynamiters held their Annual General Meeting on May 17th at the Trickle Creek Lodge in Kimberley, BC.

During the meeting, James Leroux, who is now in his second year of being the Kimberley Dynamiters President, said that his priorities have been first to make sure that the team is making money, and second that the team is competitive. He added that given his two priorities, he and the board is very pleased with the Nitro’s performance during the 2016-17 season.

The Dynamiters finished the season with a 33-13-0-1 record, second in the Eddie Mountain Division, and advanced to the Kootenay Conference Finals before losing to the eventual KIJHL and Cyclone Taylor Cup Champions, the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.

During the Treasurer report by Troy Pollock, he agreed that the Kimberley Dynamiters had a successful season on and off the ice. He credits the playoff run as a major contributor to the Nitro’s financial success.

Head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said during his report that he expects seven to twelve players to return from last season. He said that this last season was really exciting and a lot of fun for his first season in the KIJHL, and that he is looking forward to the next season.

After the reports, the board voted and elected the following as their executive: James Leroux, President; Glen Johnston, Vice President; Troy Pollock, Treasurer; Al Rice, Co-Treasurer; and Karrie Hall, Secretary.

The following are directors at large that take lead on various committees for the team: Amber Anderson, Scott Cameron, Chris Hall, Tasha Johnston, Chad Koran, Jodi L’Heureux, Nancy Sebolsky, Robyn Wardle, and Mitchell Zuvela.


The Dyanmiters board is using the off-season to work on several projects as they prepare for the 2017-18 season.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Past Nitro's: Mike Whitequills


Mike Whitequills played for the Kimberley Dynamiters from 2005-2008. In 126 games with the Nito's he scored 83 goals and 93 assists for 176 points. His totals sit 6th all-time for points, 4th for goals, and 8th for assists. He added another 12 goals and 17 assists in 31 playoff games, including an appearance to the finals during the 2005-06 campaign.

This season he played for the Kainai Nation Braves in the Ranchland Hockey League, a senior mens league. He played in nine games scoring six goals and adding five assists. He then posted five goals and four assists in the playoffs.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Past Nitro's: Jeremy Weasel-Moccasin


Jeremy Weasel-Moccasin played one season for the Kimberley Dynamiters during the 2006-07 season. He scored 29 goals and 49 assists with 119 penalty minutes.

This past season he played for the Kainai Nation Braves in the Ranchland Hockey League, a senior mens league. He played in 14 games scoring five goals and 12 assists. He then added four goals and one assist in four playoff games.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Kimberley Dynamiters alumni shine with the University of Jamestown Jimmies


The inaugural season for the University of Jamestown Jimmies was a tremendous success for three Kimberley Dynamiters alumni, as Tyson Brouwer, Eric Buckley, and Jason Richter all contributed to a memorable year for the new American Collegiate Hockey Association Division 1 program.

Brouwer, a goalie from Lethbridge, Alberta, switched his studies from kinesiology to law at the North Dakota school, while playing in 27 games and posting a 15-11 record with a 2.46 goals against average, a .918 save percentage and earning two shutouts.

For his efforts, Brouwer was recognized with the team’s first-ever Most Valuable Player award.

“It’s a great honour,” Brouwer said, struggling to put his feelings into words. “It was a surprise to receive such a high recognition two seasons in a row.”

Brouwer was named the MVP of the Nitros for the 2015-16 season and believes that former Dynamiters bench boss, Jerry Banks, helped prepare him, along with the other alumni, to be able to compete so well at the college level.

For Brouwer, the season’s top highlight was beating the NCAA Division One ranked Ohio State Buckeyes program early in the season.

“No one expected us to do that,” he said.

While Brouwer was pleased with his recognition, he felt that his past teammates also made vital contributions to the team.

Richter, who is from Cranbrook, BC, and was the captain of the Dynamiters from 2014-16, scored 12 goals and 12 assists for second in point-scoring for the Jimmies.

The 21-year-old forward is majoring in business administration and was recognized with the Jimmie Knight Award, an honour given to the player who best exemplifies Jimmie hockey on and off the ice.

Buckley, who is from Penticton, BC, was a fan favourite during his tenure with the Nitros and this season scored eight goals and 12 assists, good for fourth in team scoring, while majoring in computer science.

While the Jimmies only featured three Nitros this season, there was a deep KIJHL connection on the team. 15 of Jamestown’s many freshmen played in the KIJHL prior to joining the collegiate ranks.

Brouwer said that even though they were opponents the season prior, there was a mutual respect and appreciation associated with all coming from the same league that allowed the team to gel quickly.

The KIJHL-led Jimmies easily handled the pressures of their inaugural season and posted a 20-10-3 record in the ACHA. They ranked well enough to compete in the championships, but due to it being their first season were ineligible to play in the tournament.

Brouwer believes that the disappointment of not competing for a title will only make the team more invigorated for next season.

MATCH STICKS: During the months of May, June, July, and August the Nitro’s Night in Kimberley Blog will be reviewing the 2016-17 seasons of Kimberley Dynamiters alumni.

Check it out in the Kimberley Bulletin/Cranbrook Townsman

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
36-9-0-1Record34-12-0-2
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)

Playoffs
6-4Record12-3
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
38-5-1-3Record36-7-0-0
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)

Playoffs
14-2Record12-3
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.

DOUG BIRKS DIVISIONAL WINNERS
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

OKANAGAN DIVISIONAL WINNERS
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

NEIL MURDOCH DIVISIONAL WINNERS
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


EDDIE MOUNTAIN DIVISIONAL WINNERS
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. 

Friday, 17 March 2017

Kimberley Dynamiters vs Beaver Valley Nitehawks: Kootenay Conference Finals stats preview


Kimberley DynamitersvsBeaver Valley Nitehawks
33-13-0-1Season Record38-5-1-3
67Points80
2ndDivision Standing1st
8-4-0-0Playoff Record8-0-0-0
3.92Offence4.63
2.83Defence2.13
.920Goaltending.911
22.07%Power Play25.00%
84.39%Penalty Kill87.34%
7thPower Ranking2nd
4-2 (FG), 4-2 (CVT)Previous Series4-0 (GFBB), 4-0 (NL)
James Farmer (5G-14A)Top ScorerTyler Hartman (4G-6A)
Nolan Kurylo (8G-7A)2nd Top ScorerBlake Sidoni (5G-4A)
Joe Karpyshyn (5G-8A)3rd Top ScorerDylan Heppler (4G-5A)
Joe Karpyshyn (36)PIM LeaderMitch Foyle (24)

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Kimberley Dynamiters prepare to face familiar opponent in Kootenay Conference Finals

The opponent in the Conference finals is a familiar foe, the Beaver Valley Nitehawks. The past three seasons these two teams have met in the Kootenay Conference finals. The difference this year is that it is a best-of-five series instead of a best-of-seven.

Stuart wants his team to rest, but also doesn’t want to lose any momentum heading into the series Friday.

“Try to pick up where we left off; I think that our game six against Creston was our best game of the playoffs thus far.”

“Our guys understand what the level of play has to be, the compete and work ethic have to be there.”
The Nitehawks are a complete team, and a team that Stuart has wanted to emulate all-season long because they play a full 60-minutes of hockey.

Beaver Valley has swept their previous two series, first taming the Border Bruins, and then trimming the Leafs.

As a result, the Nitehawks have 10 players in their lineup that average nearly a point-per-game or more. Their goalie, Tallon Kramer, is arguably the best goalie in the Conference, if not the league. He has been in net for all eight wins, has a 2.01 goals against average and a .911 save percentage.

“We will definitely have our work cut out for us with Kramer in net.” Stuart said, but added, “In my opinion, it's the two best goalies in our conference going at it now.”


The series begins in Fruitvale with games one and two on Friday and Saturday at 8:30pm MDT, and games three and four in Kimberley on Tuesday and Wednesday.