The Kimberley Dynamiters will look to remain undefeated this weekend as they host the Summerland Steam (5-1-0-0) Friday night before hitting the highway for an important Eddie Mountain Division game in Golden against the Rockets (3-4-0-1).
“That should be our goal, to get a little bit better every day,” said Dynamiters head coach Jerry Bancks over the phone as he lined up a birdie putt on Hole 11 at Trickle Creek Golf Course Wednesday afternoon. “As a team, you have to have the same goal. You want to get a little bit better. We have to make sure we play our game, not worry about the other team and just do what we do.”
Friday’s tilt at the Kimberley Civic Centre is scheduled for 7 p.m. while Saturday’s road contest in Golden goes at 7:30 p.m.
The Dynamiters (5-0-0-0) are coming off a pair of victories last week, doubling up the Nelson Leafs 4-2 Friday night on the road before taking down the Castlegar Rebels 7-3 on home ice Saturday
Rookie forward Coy Prevost leads the Nitros with five goals and eight point through the teams first five games. Between the pipes, Tyson Brouwer remains the only puck-stopper to see any rubber in 2014-15, having posted a 2.80 goals-against average (GAA) and 0.890 save percentage (SP).
The Steam represent one of the more difficult tests for the Dynamiters early in the 2014-15 KIJHL regular season. Summerland is second in the Okanagan Division, trailing the KIJHL’s only other perfect squad, the Osoyoos Coyotes (7-0-0-0).
The Steam are fuelled by goaltender Brett Huber who leads the league in goals-against average with a sparkling 1.20 mark. Huber’s 0.957 SP isn’t too shabby either. The 19-year-old Calgary native has posted a 4-1-0 record with one shutout so far this season.
“You want to think of the big picture,” Bancks said. “We’ve got to take care of our own end first.”
Bancks said the game plan is to generate lots of traffic in front of Huber in an effort to burst his bubble.
While the Dynamiters will have the backing of the home crowd Friday, they enter hostile territory Saturday when they travel to Golden.
“They’re going to be a good team,” Bancks said. “They’ll be well coached. They’ve got some key returnees that will play well.
“[Golden Arena] is one of the toughest rinks for my players to get up in, for whatever reason. We have to make sure we get over that.”
The Dynamiters claimed the season series with the Rockets in 2013-14, going 5-3-0-0 against their Eddie Mountain Division rival. But it took until Jan. 17, 2014 for the Nitros to claim their first and only victory at Golden Arena last season, a 2-1 triumph. In four games in Golden, the Nitros were outscored by a combined margin of 13-7. In four games at the Kimberley Civic Centre, the Dynamiters were undefeated against the Rockets, outscoring Golden by a combined tally of 24-7.
“It’s a long day when you go up there and it’s a quiet rink,” Bancks said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re internally motivated because there isn’t going to be anything extra happening [to motivate us].”
The Rockets struggled to a 15-32-1-4 record in 2013-14, good enough for last place in the Eddie Mountain Division and Kootenay Conference. Goaltender Mitchell Privett and Braeden Allkins lead the Rockets in 2014-15 as they look to ascend out of the Kootenay Conference cellar.
Privett and Allkins represent the two opposing ends of the spectrum in the composition of the Rockets roster.
Privett, a 19-year-old import from Corona, Calif. is 2-3-0 to start the season, with a 2.87 GAA and a 0.910 SP.
Allkins is a hometown kid hailing from Golden. The 17-year-old is in his third full season with the Rockets. After firing up 22 goals and 41 points in 2013-14, the Golden native is off to an impressive start early in the 2014-15 campaign, registering four goals and nine points through eight games.
The Dynamiters are healthy heading into the weekend, an almost unheard of quality after a few weeks of regular season play.
Following Saturday’s contest in Golden, the Dynamiters gear up for three games in three nights next weekend, including a home-and-home series with the defending KIJHL champion Beaver Valley Nitehawks. The Dynamiters and Nitehawks face-off in Fruitvale Oct. 10 and then in Kimberley Oct. 11. The Nitros close out the Thanksgiving weekend with a Sunday afternoon matinee against the Kelowna Chiefs Oct. 12.