Fuelled by a high-flying hat-trick from buzz saw Eric Buckley, the Kimberley Dynamiters exploded for a five-goal third period to defeat the Golden Rockets 6-1 Tuesday night at the Kimberley Civic Centre.
“I changed my stick tape from white to black,” Buckley said with a laugh after the win. “I thought maybe that was going to give me some help and it did, I guess.
“I’ve been using white all year. Now I’ll use black.”
A back-and-forth affair left the two Eddie Mountain Division opponents knotted 1-1 heading into the final 20 minutes of regulation.
With Rockets defenceman Nic Noseworthy taking a two-minute timeout for slashing, Buckley parked himself on the doorstep of goaltender Magnus Viberg. The Rockets puck-stopper made an initial save on a sharp shot from Nitros captain Jason Richter, but Buckley was there to cleanup, sending the rebound past a helpless Viberg.
“I knew I had to get it upstairs,” Buckley said. “I just flicked it and it thankfully went in.”
For Buckley, it was his first goal in four games. But he wasn’t done just yet.
On the ensuing puck drop, the speedster took a long-lead pass at the Rockets blue-line from defenceman James Jowsey. With nothing but open space between himself and Viberg, the diminutive forward snapped a high shot past the glove of the bewildered Rockets netminder, who had barely had time to recover from Buckley’s previous power-play tally.
It took a mere 10 seconds for Buckley to score the game-winning marker and the insurance tally.
“That’s definitely a first,” Buckley said of his quick-strike markers. “It kind of hit me when I got on the bench. Richter hadn’t even gotten up yet from the first one. He didn’t know how I scored the second one.
Keenan Haase was a key contributor for the second game in a row, tallying two goals and an assist, all in the third period. The California native set up Buckley for the hat-trick tally with 89 seconds remaining in regulation.
Buckley, a native of Penticton, tallied his third with a snap shot that found the crossbar before ricocheting off the back of Viberg and across the line.
The hulking Haase rounded out the scoring with his second of the night only 13 seconds after Buckley’s third of the night.
In his first game since being acquired from the Summerland Steam Friday night, Braden Saretsky registered an assist, setting up linemate Jared Marchi on the Dynamiters first goal of the night.
For Viberg, it was a forgettable night as he was victimized six times on 34 shots. Not only did Buckley’s third come off a bounce, but Haase’s first of the night came off a dump in that bounced off the lively Civic Centre end wall before hitting the goaltenders skate and trickling across the line.
“I know our boards are pretty bouncy,” Haase said. “I saw it go in. It went behind the goalie and I saw his face, he just looked back and looked disappointed.
“That is the weirdest goal I’ve ever scored.”
At the other end of the rink, Tyson Brouwer did all that was required of him, stopping 30 shots for his 12th win of the campaign.
“Each game is pretty crucial,” Haase said. “I think we did what we wanted to do today. We got the two points and we’ll keep building on it and move forward from there.”
Next, the Dynamiters travel to Creston Friday to face the Thunder Cats (19-4-1-1) in another Eddie Mountain Divisional battle at the Johnny Bucyk Arena.