The Kimberley Dynamiters continued their hosting of divisional opponents this past weekend. They first hosted the Fernie Ghostriders on Friday, and then the Columbia Valley Rockies on Saturday.
As expected, a matchup between the Ghostriders and Dynamiters lived up to the expectations. It was a goalie duel between ‘Riders Broc Merkl, who played for the Nitros earlier this season but was cut from the team when Cody Campbell returned, and it was Campbell manning the Nitro’s net.
Cam Russell, who was named the teams November player of the month, opened the scoring in the first as he chased down the rebound from Bryce McDonald’s break.
In the second the Nitros built on their lead as Nicholas Graham deflected in Matt Davies’ shot. The ‘Riders would respond as the second period wound down, making it a 2-1 game.
Minutes later Davies, Russell, and Brandt Bertoia combined for a beautiful tic-tac-toe play that Russell finished, giving the Nitros a 3-1 lead going into the second intermission.
The Dynamiters would hold onto their two goals lead for 17 minutes before the ‘Riders pulled their goalie and scoring, making it a one goal game. The ‘Riders, as anticipated, upped their attack, but Campbell and the Nitro’s would cling on to win the game 3-2.
Campbell made 33 saves in front of the 676 in attendance as he was named the Home Star of the game.
Next up was the Columbia Valley Rockies. The Rockies keeper, Joshua King was riding a three-game win streak heading into the game.
For the recently added Colby Sherlock, this was an emotional game against he former team.
“I thought tonight he was excellent. He was very effective. He showed us and the fans why we acquired him, he is physical and he can skate. He’s a smart player and is happy to be here.”
Russell opened the scoring again, as his line of McDonald and Bertoia started showing their potential. For Russell, he was bucking the trend of the player of the month jinx.
“It’s awesome to get the player of the month but you can’t get in your own head about it. Nothing changes you gotta go play your game.” Russell said, “It’s not really something that came across my mind as I would be prepping for the two games.”
The Rockies would respond five minutes later and this game was tied at one after 20 minutes.
“I really liked our first period,” Head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said. “We hit three posts and crossbar. To me, that kept the Rockies in the game, and they built momentum off that.”
After the midway point in the second, McDonald would score two goals three minutes apart to give the Nitros a two goal lead. Those were McDonald’s first goals with the Nitros.
“It definitely felt really good,especially the second one being the game winner. We needed those 2 points.” McDonald said after the game, adding that he is getting more comfortable with the team, linemates, and the larger ice-surface.
The Rockies would cut into the lead, 3-2, before the middle period ended.
“For whatever reason our second periods at home are not very good.” Stuart said. “Their not terrible, but they are not as good as the first or third.”
The Nitros then would dig in and hold the Rockies at bay. Chase Gedny and Davies would each score to give the Dynamiters a 5-2 win.
“For some reason, in third periods, if games are close we seem to crank it up in the third.”
McDonald would be named the Home Star of the game, and Campbell would make 22 saves for the win.
Campbell showed with his 55 saves on 59 shots that last weekends outing against the Cats was an outlier.
“In his KI career he has had two or three games like he had last Saturday,” Staurt said, “and the next game he has been fantastic.
“We have no worries when Cody has a rough night, just like everyone else does, but he bounces back better than a lot of people.”
Due to the penalty filled game against the Cats two Saturday’s ago, the Nitros had 17 skaters in the lineup against the ‘Riders, and then had a full 18 against the Rockies. Filling one of those roster spots was 16 year old affiliate player Jackson Bohan.
“Bohan is very good, that is a credit to his coach in Trail. And another credit to them is they leave it up to their players if they want to come here or not.”
“He did a great job stepping in, you couldn’t really tell he was an affiliate. We’d love to see him in a Nitro’s jersey full-time next year.”
The Dynamiters now get ready to travel to Creston to play the Thunder Cats on Tuesday, a game that everyone around the league will be watching.
Stuart is hoping to build off the disappointment of the last game,”I’m hoping the guys build off the motivation Creston gave us in the last period we faced them.”
Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. at the Johnny Bucyk Arena.