The Kootenay Conference Finals are underway between the Kimberley Dynamiters and Beaver Valley Nitehawks, and the Dynamiters couldn’t have asked for a better start to the series.
The two teams last met on November 23, 2018; so they took a moment to get to know eachother.
Spencer Kennedy opened the scoring just after the ten minute mark of the first, scoring on the power play. Brady Daniels collected the assist.
In the middle period, Derian Bamber scored on a wrist shot, to make it 2-0. Daniels, picked up another assist.
In the third, captain Chase Gedny made it 3-0; and again, Daniels earned an assist.
“I felt that we got stronger as the game went along,” head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said. “We got better and better.
“There were no passengers tonight, everyone stood out in different times.”
Adam Andersen made 19 saves for his second shutout in a row, while Daniels was named the Home Star of the game.
“Just finding the right areas on the ice,” Daniels said about his performance. “Putting the puck on net and good things are happening.”
In game two, things did not go as smoothly for the Nitros.
While Daniels did open the scoring for the Nitros. The Dynamiters got themselves into penalty trouble, and the Nitehawks scored on back-to-back five-on-three power plays.
This was the second time in the playoffs that the Nitros trailed in a game, unfamiliar territory.
Cam Russell tied the game at two, to only have the Nitehawks restore their one goal lead moments later.
Now twice in one game the Nitros were trailing.
In the third, Kennedy was able to swat home a rebound to score on the power play tying the game at three.
Then on a breakout poke-check pass by Bamber, Keegan McDowell charged in and was able to tuck the puck in. Nitros up, 4-3.
“It was a team effort,” McDowell said after the game about the game winning goal. “We just battled through, we knew we could get them.”
The Dynamiters would survive the Nitehawks third period push. The Nitehawks pulled their goalie for a sixth skater, however, the Dynamiters had their own support: the fans.
“The fans were a huge boost to the guys, especially in the third period. They were a big reason we were able to comeback and win.”
With the support of the fans, the Nitros overcame adversity and held on to take a 2-0 series lead. Kennedy was named the Home Star of the Game, and Andersen made 28 saves.
“We might have gotten a little bit fortunate there,” a bearded Stuart said after the game, “We will take it, not going to complain, it’s 2-0, and that’s all that really matters now.”
Reflecting on the game, Nitehawks head coach and general manager Terry Jones said, “I thought we had a pretty good game. Unfortunately we turned the puck over three times in our zone, and three times it went in the net.”
The series now shifts to Fruitvale where the Nitehawks have not lost at home this playoffs, that being said, the Nitros have yet to lose a game these playoffs, winning ten in a row.
“We haven’t lost at home,” Jones said. “We gotta bring our ‘A’ game and our ‘A’ effort, and that’s what we are going to do. We are not going to lay down, we are going to come out and play our hardest, and get game three.”
For Stuart, he too feels confident going into Fridays game, using the Fernie series as a measuring stick, “it’s not going to be louder than Fernie, there won’t be more people than in Fernie, it’s not going to be any smaller of a rink than Fernie. We feel like we are prepared.”
Puck drop is at 7PM in Fruitvale for game three and four, on Friday and Saturday.