A big win over the Thunder Cats

A big win over the Thunder Cats

JOSH LOCKHART

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 Saturdays. Scoring eight goals against the Nitros two Saturdays 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 its 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 Nitros 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.