For the second consecutive year, the Kimberley Dynamiters and Beaver Valley Nitehawks will meet in the KIJHL’s Kootenay Conference final.
That fate was determined Friday night as the Nitehawks disposed of the Grand Forks Border Bruins in Game 5 of the Neil Murdoch Division final to advance to the conference championship.
The series opens with Game 1 Tuesday evening and Game 2 on Wednesday at the Kimberley Civic Centre. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. both nights.
After sweeping the Creston Valley Thunder Cats in four games, albeit four tightly-contested games that saw three go to overtime, the Dynamiters will have enjoyed five full days off before getting to it Tuesday night.
“It’s going to be a lengthy playoff run I’m imagining,” said Dynamiters goaltender Tyson Brouwer, after backstopping his team to a Game 4 victory in the Eddie Mountain Division final Wednesday night at the Johnny Bucyk Arena in Creston. “We need all the rest we can get.
“It was our drive and will to win [that set us apart]. Coming into playoffs, I had fond memories of last year and I want to make new memories with this group. All the guys that were with us last year have the same mentality.”
The best-of-seven conference championship shifts to Fruitvale for Games 3 and 4, scheduled for Friday and Saturday (8:30 p.m. Mountain).
After finishing the regular season atop the Neil Murdoch Division with a record of 34-11-4-3, the Nitehawks trounced the Nelson Leafs in a four-game Neil Murdoch Division semifinal, before sending the Border Bruins into offseason hibernation Friday night.
The Dynamiters claimed the KIJHL’s regular season crown with a league-best record of 41-7-0-4 before saddling the Fernie Ghostriders in a five-game Eddie Mountain Division semifinal. The Nitros then grounded the Creston Valley Thunder Cats in a tightly-contested four-game sweep for the Eddie Mountain Division banner.
“We can’t be too high on this win,” said Dynamiters alternate captain Jared Marchi following his team’s Game 4 win over the Thunder Cats. “We’ve got a big series coming here. We have to be mentally focused on that and preparing, get all the rest and as healed up as we can.”
KIJHL Kootenay Conference Championship schedule
Game 1 – Tuesday, March 15 at Kimberley Civic Centre (7 p.m.)Game 2 – Wednesday, March 16 at Kimberley Civic Centre (7 p.m.)Game 3 – Friday, March 18 at Beaver Valley Arena (Fruitvale, 8:30 p.m.)Game 4 – Saturday, March 19 at Beaver Valley Arena (Fruitvale, 8:30 p.m.)*Game 5 – Monday, March 21 at Kimberley Civic Centre (7 p.m.)*Game 6 – Tuesday, March 22 at Beaver Valley Arena (Fruitvale, 8 p.m.)*Game 7 – Thursday, March 24 at Kimberley Civic Centre (7 p.m.)
* = if necessary; all times listed are Mountain