The Kimberley Dynamiters emerged from the weekend a win and a loss, beating the Fernie Ghostriders 5-3 on Friday and losing 4-3 to the Sicamous Eagles on Saturday, Jan. 28.
“We’re not finding a way to play a full 60 minutes,” said assistant coach Byron Garrels after Saturday’s home game.
“I thought we were great in the first, created a lot of offense, and for the most part three goals this year has been enough to win us a hockey game, but we fall asleep and Sicamous is a good hockey team. You stop skating for two periods, they’re going to make you pay.”
After a shootout loss to Creston Valley on Tuesday, the Nitros got a much needed pick me up in their win over the Ghostriders.
Head coach Derek Stuart had commented in recent interviews that the team’s offensive lines were struggling to put the puck in the net enough to win, with not enough goals being scored to win games in a tough division, and many of those goals coming from defenceman.
Friday’s game saw goals from forwards Christian Mealey, Jayden Kostiuk and Campbell Mclean, who scored two that night on the way to his team’s only win in five games.
“Stuart kind of coaches me through a few things and I needed to step up my offensive game and I’ve really been focusing on that and that’s how it’s been going the last few games,” he said. Mclean now has 19 goals this season, with four in the last three games.
And while their recent record doesn’t look the way they’d like, there has been some positive takeaways.
“At times we were very good, but at times we were very poor too,” Garrels said of Friday’s win. “Somehow we need to find a way to have that very good translate to 60 minutes instead of 20 or 40.”
Looking ahead to their next game, Mclean echoed Garrels sentiment about what needs to be done.
“I just hope to see a full 60 minutes from our guys,” he said, adding he has noticed the offensive end picking things up as a whole. “We haven’t really played a full 60 in quite a while, so to play a full game and stomp Creston would be nice.”
Saturday’s game started strong, with Cash Regan scoring a nice unassisted goal to get things going. Mclean got himself a powerplay goal and then Regan got a second goal with just a couple minutes left in the period and they headed into the second with a 3-1 lead.
The momentum shifted quickly in the second, with Sicamous scoring early and often. The Dynamiters had a couple costly penalties and turnovers and by the end of the second period the Eagles were leading 4-3.
Despite a strong push in the third, it would be a scoreless and frustrating end to the game and the final score remained at 4-3.
“In fairness they should be frustrated and to finish out the season I guess we’re just going to have to get back to work Monday and we got a big game Tuesday,” Garrels said. “There’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves, and there’s nothing we need to feel sorry about, we lost to a good hockey team tonight and we didn’t play our best. We just have to go back to the drawing board and focus on our next game.”
“Things aren’t going our way right now and we’re getting down on ourselves — we’re one in four in our last five games right now, so we’ve got a lot to get down on ourselves about,” Mclean added. “But we’ve got to just keep getting back to work in practice and keep fighting every game.”
The Nitros have just four games left in the regular season, three of which are at home. They take on the Creston Valley Thunder Cats on Tuesday Jan. 31, then hit the road to play Golden on Sunday, Feb. 5 before closing out the season at the Civic Centre on Friday, Feb.10 against Creston and Saturday, Feb. 11 against Columbia Valley.
Garrels thinks that at this stage, how they finish out these remaining games is up to them.
“It’s 100 per cent on the players to figure out now, in my opinion,” Garrels said.