The Kimberley Dynamiters opened their 2018-19 KIJHL regular season this past weekend in style.
They opened the year off celebrating as they raised three banners to the ceiling prior to their home opener: KIJHL Regular Season Champions, Kootenay Conference Champions, and the KIJHL Champions.
The game though, against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, did not start the way they wanted it to. On the first shot of the game, 22 seconds into the game, the Cats opened the scoring.
“That was the most nervous we were all game,” Head Coach and General Manager Derek Stuart said.
It wasn’t until the midway point of the second when Luke Recchi scored the Nitros’ first goal of the season, that the team began to settle in.
However, the Cats came back the very next minute, regaining their one goal lead.
Before the period ended, Chase Gedny leveled the game at two.
As the third period progressed, the game seemed to be headed to OT tied at two. Neither team was giving the other space.
Given an opportunity, the Cats scored on the power play. Later, the Nitros responded with a power play goal of their own with Recchi’s second goal of the game.
This game was headed to overtime tied at three. An entertaining, yet intense, way to start the season.
“I was pleasantly surprised with the bench morale,” Stuart said, “and the lack of panic and nervousness.”
Just as quickly as the Cats scored to start the game, the Nitros needed only that much time to finish the game in OT, was Gedny, deflecting in his second of the game.
Adam Andersen made 24 saves for his first victory of the season.
“I liked a lot of things,” Stuart said after the game. “There was a lot of good things. There was obviously some mistakes, but you have to remind yourself that it is September 7th. For the most part, I liked a lot of the things that I saw for most of the game.”
Stuart was impressed with the play of Brock Palmer, Recchi, and Gedny, and how that translated to success on the scoresheet. Off the scoresheet, Jackson Bohan, and Cole Jensen impressed on defense.
The star of the game, Palmer, was known for his scoring last season, but in his first game, he had four assists.
“I like setting up my line mates,” he said. “It was good that we were getting good chemistry going, starting off the year right.”
The Nitros then traveled north to Golden to play the Rockets, the teams first road game of the season.
The first period was flat, neither team really taking an edge until the end when Neil Kingston scored his first KIJHL goal for the Nitros.
The second period was explosive; five goals, three for the Nitros, two for the rebranded Rockets. Connor Zdan scored his first KIJHL goal, Mitch Fargey scored his first goal as a Nitro, while Recchi scored his third of the weekend.
“Zdan made a great first impression,” Stuart said. “Especially since he’s only practiced once with us.”
He also added that the pairing of Tyson Meier and Fargey was excellent, as Fargey scored on the power play, which helped get the team going.
The Nitros pulled away with the game in the third, with Palmer and Gedny scoring. With the lead came an increase in roughing calls. Seven were called on both teams in the final 10 minutes.
“Boxscores can be deceiving, there wasn’t anything more than some minor pushing and shoving.”
The Nitros would win their second game of the year, 6-2, acquiring all four points up for grabs this past weekend.
“It took a while to get going,” Stuart summarized on the bus ride home after the game. “The last six minutes of the second period, and the third period went exceptionally well.”
Gedny was named the star of the game, earning three points in the game for a weekend total of five.
Palmer accumulated eight points over the weekend, earning the recognition as Hot in the KIJHL.
The Nitros next game is this Friday, September 14 in Spokane against the Braves.
Match Sticks: The Columbia Valley Rockies won both their weekend games. After the loss to the Nitros the Thunder Cats won in Spokane. Golden won their first game of the season, prior to their loss to the Nitros. The Fernie Ghostriders also split their opening weekend with a win and a loss.