After a 6-0 victory in Game 1 of the Eddie Mountain Division semifinal, Kimberley Dynamiters head coach Jerry Bancks knew Game 2 was going to present a much steeper challenge.
And he wasn’t wrong.
His club might have claimed a victory for the second consecutive night, but it didn’t come easy as the Nitros required double overtime to dispatch the Fernie Ghostriders by a 4-3 margin Wednesday evening in front of 617 fans at the Fernie Memorial Arena.
“Our will wasn’t really where it needed to be to start the game, whereas we had it for 60 minutes the other night,” Bancks said Wednesday evening over the phone from Fernie. “That’s the one thing that happens when you win a game 6-0 — you think the next one is going to be easy.
“That’s kind of how we thought [the Ghostriders] were going to come out tonight and that’s not going to happen. I give them full credit, they came out hard. I think we have a new respect for them. I hope it wakes us up.”
Pesky 16-year-old pit bull Korbyn Chabot played the role of overtime hero in Wednesday’s victory for the Dynamiters.
After the two teams battled to a 3-3 tie through regulation, the initial 10-minute first overtime period solved nothing.
Only 1:32 into double overtime, Chabot beat Ghostriders goaltender Jeff Orser to a loose puck before tucking it into the vacated cage to boost the Dynamiters to victory and 2-0 series lead.
“That was a big goal,” Bancks said. “That was humungous.
“It was a fortunate bounce, fortunate break. But after the halfway point of the game, I thought we deserved it.”
Wednesday’s Game 2 in Fernie was nothing short of wild, to say the least.
Regulation was marred with penalties, as the two teams combined for 64 minutes worth of infractions, with 39 handed to the Dynamiters and 25 to the Ghostriders.
In the first period, Ghostriders forward Zach Befus was tossed from the game after incurring a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct for cross-checking Eric Buckley into the boards.
According to Bancks, the veteran pest was cut open at the mouth as a result of the check.
In the second period, Dynamiters defenceman Jordan Busch had his night end early after incurring a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct for head contact.
Another second-period penalty of note was a four-minute double minor to Dynamiters veteran Jared Marchi for spearing.
When Chabot finally ended the raucous outing, the Ghostriders had seen 10 power-play opportunities, converting on one. On the flip side, the Dynamiters went 2-for-3 on the man advantage.
It was a back-and-forth affair from start to finish, as Nitros defenceman George Bertoia opening the scoring with a first-period power-play goal only to see Ghostriders forward Justin Peers knot the game with his own man-advantage effort before the opening 20 minutes expired.
Fernie took a 2-1 lead in the second period as Trevor Broad found twine, but Brodie Buhler evened the score and the two teams remained tied through 40 minutes.
Buckley put his team ahead 3-2 on the power play midway through the third period, but Evan Reid forced overtime, tallying for the Ghostriders with 3:33 remaining in regulation.
At the end of the night, Brouwer made 35 saves on 38 shots for his second victory of the series, while Orser went the distance, turning aside 31 shots for Fernie.
With the win, the Dynamiters now lead the best-of-seven division semifinal 2-0.
The bitter rivals will take Thursday off before the puck drops on Game 3 Friday night (7 p.m.) at the Kimberley Civic Centre.
Game 4 sees a return to the Fernie Memorial Arena on Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m.