The hometown crowd was treated to quite a showing from their Kimberley Dynamiters over the weekend, as they shut out the Summerland Steam 7-0 on Friday and the Creston Valley Thundercats 6-0 on Saturday. It would be hard to picture a better showing from the team for the annual Parent Weekend.
These two dominant victories saw goals from the Dynamiters’ star players like Kade Lesosky, who got his second hat trick of the season on Saturday, and Tristan Weill, who scored his twentieth goal of the season on Friday. The wins also saw fantastic performances from the team’s emerging star players, strong defensive play and shut outs for both goaltenders: Ryder Ponto who stopped 14 shots on Friday and Matt Fleet who stopped 26 on Saturday.
“It was good to see to see the goaltenders get rewarded,” said head coach Derek Stuart. “Our defensive play has been much improved over the past couple weeks here and our penalty kill continues to be dominant, so those are two key factors.
“I think the guys had an urgency to create some chances and score some goals so that was nice to see as well. We had got in a bad habit before of not being urgent enough in the offensive zone so I like that too.”
Bearing down on the scoring chances they create is something Stuart has been working on over the course of the season and he’s already been seeing it from guys like Leskosky and Weill, but is pleased to be seeing some of the guys the coaching staff believed could contribute offensively start to do so.
“Guys like Braycen Dube and Hayden Selin and Dryden Harding and Luke Rothfos was really good on the weekend,” Stuart said. “So I think some of those other guys that we knew we could get offence from are starting to produce.
“I think right now for sure you never want to rely on one line or one player or a couple of players and it’s really great to see us get some secondary scoring and I think that’s going to be a key part to our success.”
Stuart also highlighted the play from his defensive players; guys like Carson Cleland who’s been excellent since returning from injury, Callan Valstar who has been fitting in nicely, but said that all eight players have been playing good hockey and contributed to their team’s winning weekend.
Back-to-back shutouts always bode well for a team’s confidence, and Stuart liked that his team not only started the past two games strong, but finished them strong as well, outshooting their opponents 41-10 in the combined third periods.
“We had big leads in both games after two periods, but we came out hard in the third and finished the games properly and it was good to see the guys compete and battle all the way to the end even though the games were both out of hand,” he said.
“We made a point of making sure they recognize the important number on the scoreboard after two periods was the zero and to keep them there and they did a great job in the third period both nights.”
Over this week the team will work hard in practise to make sure they’re focused and paying attention to the specific details they’ll need for a tough weekend ahead. The Nitros will head west to take on Doug Birks Division leaders the Sicamous Eagles on Friday, Nov. 24 and last season’s Cyclone Taylor Cup champs the Revelstoke Grizzlies.
“This is probably as hard a road trip as someone can get in our league,” Stuart said. “You’re playing the first overall team on Friday and then playing a team that’s red hot and always an elite team in Revelstoke on Saturday, so it’s going to be a very good test for our team.”
The Dynamiters will then head to Spokane to play the Braves the following Friday and to Grand Forks to take on the Border Bruins on Saturday. Their next home game isn’t until Sunday, Dec. 3, when they will welcome the Princeton Posse, who they beat in game seven overtime last season to win the Teck Cup.