The Kimberley Dynamiters started the Eddie Mountain Division Finals with a 5-1 win at home against the Columbia Valley Rockies.
This is the first time in the past decade that the Rockies have made it to the division finals. It has also been 18 days since these two teams have faced each other. As expected, the first period was a feeling out period. No scoring, one penalty, and not a lot of shots.
The game continued to be fast paced, with it also came a bouncy puck that ricocheted around; both teams getting great chances.
It wasn’t until near the midway of the second that Chase Gedny deflected a point shot, that Rockies keeper Ben Kelsch got a chunk off, but not enough as it trickled across the line.
Then the Nitros received a 5-on-3 power play, and Bryce McDonald skated from behind the net and roofed the puck.
After 40 minutes the Dynamiters had a 2-0 lead on the Rockies.
In the span of 1:21 the Dynamiters found an extra gear and doubled their lead to 4-0 as James Farmer and Brandt Bertoia scored moments a part.
“It’s our conditioning.” Head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said. “Our guys are in really good shape. They found an extra gear, that they started to find in the second. I thought we got better and better as the game went on. We really took control.”
As planned by the Rockies to use their physicality to create turnovers, the Rockies forced the Nitros to be sloppy, and Rockies Mike Dyck had a mini breakaway, cutting into the Nitros lead.
Cam Russell would restore the Nitros four goal lead with a power play goal, making it 5-1.
That would be the scoreline as the game wound down, with the Nitros getting five goals from five different players.
“[Depth] is important.” Stuart said. “It is something that our team is used to. We know we are deep, and we know that we have guys that can score. There isn’t one line that we rely on. It is good to see five different goal scorers.”
Cody Campbell made 20 saves in the win, and Farmer was named the Home Star of the game with a goal and an assist. Bertoia also earned a goal and an assist.
After the game, Stuart was pleased with how his team played:
“We were really good. A little rusty in the scoring department to start, but we seemed to find our scoring touch.”
“That was pretty much of a complete game that we have had in the playoffs. We may have had a couple lulls in there, but they didn’t last long.”
The Nitros take an early 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The Rockies have shown in the playoffs a pattern that they can bounce back. They lost 8-1, then won 5-2. They lost 7-1, then won 5-4 in overtime.
“I just finished telling the team that exact thing.” Stuart said after the game. “It is a big thing to not overlook. I told the guys you have two hours to enjoy it, and then it is a new day. [The Rockies] are going to be coming back hard.
“We need to do better than we were tonight tomorrow in order to take the first two at home.”
Game Two was Wednesday at the Kimberley Civic Centre. See tomorrow’s Bulletin for game details.