Heading into Tuesday’s game, head coach and general manager Derek Stuart was optimistic about returning to home ice after difficult road trip against hot goaltenders.
The oppenent was the Fernie Ghostriders. A team that heading into the game was on a six-game losing streak, and had just lost to the Golden Rockets and Creston Valley Thunder Cats this past weekend.
The Dynamiters wanted to focus on their own game, and not on how the Ghostriders were doing, many expected the Nitros to control the game and handle the 14-man lineup for the ‘Riders.
However, the opposite could not have been more true, as the Ghostriders looked way more comfortable playing at the Kimberley Civic Centre than the Nitros did.
“Give them full credit, the [Ghostrider’s] were the better hockey club.” Stuart said.
Ghostrider captain Mitch Titus opened the scoring at the midway point. Nicholas Ketola deflected in a point shot five minutes later, but the Ghostriders answered right back with a power play goal of their own.
In the second, the ‘Riders looked like they were skating circles around the Nitros. They had several breakaways and odd-man chances. At one point a ‘Rider player was left alone in front of the net, snapping a shot past Adam Andersen to take a 3-1 lead.
“When that many players on our team are that bad,” a displeased Stuart said, “there is definitely a common reason.”
Stuart then added, “if it wasn’t for Andersen, the game would have been over long before the third period. He was amazing. He did a great job of keeping us in the game.”
The Nitros began catching up to the in the third. Ketola scored 40 seconds into the period to cut into the lead. The Nitros had their chances, but so did the Ghostriders. With 5:51 left in the peroid, the ‘Riders took their third penalty of the game. Twenty-one seconds later, James Farmer’s point shot found it’s way to the back of the net.
“Not at any point were we better than Fernie.” Stuart said, “In the third we caught up and were the same as them.”
The game then went to overtime, with both teams knowing that they had earned one-point each.
In overtime the Ghostriders, understandably exhausted with their short bench, took a hooking penalty. Just before the penalty expired, Brandt Bertoia, the Dynamiters December Player of the Month, scored the over time winning goal.
“Any OT goal I would have been pumped to score.” Bertoia said after the game. “But it makes it that much bettert that it was against Fernie!”
Looking back at the game, Stuart felt that this was a game that Dynamiters should have lost.
“They shouldn’t have gotten rewarded for that. Hockey has funny way of evening things out in the long run. I thought we should have been rewarded with two points on Saturday in Nelson. Last night we absolutely did not deserve two points.”
Either way, the Nitros will take the two points, and take-away some positives from the game.
“They didn’t quit in the third” Stuart said.
Aside from Andersen, Stuart was also impressed with affiliate player Braiden Koran. “He worked hard, skated well, was physical, and had a few shots on net.”
Now, the Dynamiters look to rest for a week as they host the Golden Rockets on Tuesday January 16th.
MATCH STICKS: Cooper Page returned from Junior A to the Nitro’s, Brant Mack was released by the Nitro’s. Derian Bamber and Colby Sherlock are expected to return from injury for January 16th’s game. James Rota is hopeful to return for January 19th. This weekend is the KIJHL Prospect Showcase, the league schedule has been blacked out for players to participate.