The Dynamiters managed to pull off a hefty 7-1 victory over Creston on Friday, Nov. 20, but the KIJHL announced that same evening that the season will be put on hold until Dec. 7 due to new health measures.
Based on the revised Return to Sport guidelines published by Viasport this evening, the #KIJHL will pause from regular season competition following tonight’s games through Dec. 7. The league will make a further announcement on play resuming once more information is available.
— KIJHL (@KIJHL) November 21, 2020
Head coach, general manager Derek Stuart expressed some frustration with how the announcements were rolled out.
“Thursday it was announced that we can continue to play games as long as we didn’t leave our health region and suddenly on Friday that rule was completely changed to not being able to leave our communities,” Stuart said.
“Those are two drastically different restrictions, so something got changed in 24 hours and to not know what the reason was for their drastic change in restrictions is pretty hard to take especially when you consider what all these kids across the province have gone through since March. They’ve gone through a lot of crap so to screw with their minds like that, to me is cruel to be honest.”
After two losses the weekend prior, the Dynamiters started the game off relatively slow, with Creston leading 1-0 at the end of the first.
The Dynamiters came back with a vengeance after the break score, with Ty Smith scoring just ten seconds into the second. McDowell got his first goal of the night just over a minute later and then scored his second on the power play with 10.25 left in the period.
After a positive COVID test on their team put a stop on practise and exhibition games, Stuart had said his team was behind others in the league, but was happy with what he saw on Friday.
“We finally got to work on some things in practise,” he said. “So we got to see some structure and especially in the special teams department. Our penalty kill was 100 per cent and our power play was three for four, so to see that much improvement in just one week was a testament to the guys how hard they worked in practise and how much they payed attention.”
The Nitros capitalized with another power play goal from Tyler Russell and then Jack Karpyshyn made it 5-1 with 1.03 left in the second.
Ryan Bennett and Blake Anderson padded the score with goals of their own, for a final score of 7-1, the Dynamiters outshooting Creston 41-29.
“We’re pretty deep up front and it was good to finally see it come through with a bunch of different lines and players and guys getting goals and points,” Stuart said. “So it was a total team effort in terms of the goals scored for sure.”
Stuart said that although the team isn’t able to travel for games, practise is still a go, and he relishes the opportunity to get some more work in and make up for lost time.
“Extremely selfishly, it’s going to help us catch up a little bit, systems wise and we should be where we need to be on December 7 because of this,” Stuart explained. “But we’re going to have some fun as well as work on things and make it more of a fun thing instead of just practise hard consistently for two weeks. We’ll throw some skills competitions and competition days in there as well and have some games and things like that so it will be fun but I know the guys are ready to get going already.”