They may have been the unlikeliest of candidates, but Brady Revie and Trevor Steinburg were certainly candidates as two of the hardest-working players and they were rewarded for their tireless efforts Friday night at the Kimberley Civic Centre.
With 1,358 fans chewing on whatever remained of their finger nails, Revie poked a puck deep into Kamloops territory before shipping a pass off to a charging Van Steinburg, who tapped it past a helpless Storm goaltender Jacob Mullen with 11:09 to go in double overtime to give the Kimberley Dynamiters a 3-2 victory and 3-2 lead in the KIJHL championship.
“It’s huge, I can’t talk enough about my buddy Revs over there,” Van Steinburg said with a beaming smile Friday night. “He got that poke check through and I saw my opportunity and went for it. It just worked out. I couldn’t hear a thing out there, the crowd was going wild.
“I’ve never played in [front] of a crowd like this. It’s huge. It’s fun.
“This is the biggest thing in 30 years [for junior hockey in Kimberley]. We’re taking every game step by step and we know the crowd is there to support us the whole way.”
For Van Steinburg, the goal was only his second of the post-season. The 18-year-old native of Cranbrook has three points through 17 games in the KIJHL playoffs, after tallying eight goals and 20 points in 49 games during the regular season.
For his toothless linemate Revie, the setup on the game-winning goal was only his second point of the post-season. The 18-year-old Cranbrook kid spent 36 regular-season games playing in the Nitros bottom-nine, tallying two goals and six points.
To say these boys were the unlikely heroes might be an understatement, but it isn’t meant to take anything away from their tireless work ethic and willingness to do what is asked of them on a nightly basis.
“I saw the ‘D’ man fiddle with the puck at the blue line, so I just poked it through him, got my feet moving and beat him wide,” Revie said, recounting the game-winning play. “I saw Trev drive and called, slid it across and luckily he got it past [Mullen’s] glove. The feeling was unreal. Nothing like it.
“It’s unreal. We had the support of our fans, which really helps. We played an awesome game — forechecked hard, kept our feet moving, which is exactly what we need to do.
“Every guy in that room will do whatever it takes to win. We have each others’ backs no matter what. If we stick to our game, there’s no doubt in my mind we can come out with a championship.”
As for the heroics of Revie and Van Steinburg, they wouldn’t have been possible without the prior pageantry of Nitros forward Keenan Haase.
With goaltender Tyson Brouwer on the bench in the dying moments of a 2-1 hockey game, Haase gave Kimberley fans some sweet California heat — and heaps of relief — when he deposited a bouncing puck past Mullen to force overtime with 10.6 seconds remaining in regulation of Game 5.
“I was just out of my mind. I looked at the clocked and there were 10 seconds left,” Haase said. “I knew we could do it from the start of the game. Our first, second and third periods — we were really strong and we knew it. We just had to bury.
“I went on for the [extra] man and I knew I had to get a goal or something towards the net. I posted myself away from their ‘D’ and where a rebound might pop out and it did. It went my way.”
The first overtime period all but belonged to the Dynamiters, with Mullen doing everything in his power to keep the puck out of the back of the net, including a lightning quick glove stop on Nitros captain Jason Richter.
“I thought we were the better team in overtime, but they were definitely the better team during the game,” Storm head coach Ed Patterson told Adam Williams of Kamloops This Week.
“I thought they played a very good game, a very desperate game. They know they can’t win on our home ice and they didn’t want to risk it. This gives them the luxury of having a fall night, when we have to be desperate now.”
It was a game of flowing energy from start to finish.
After Braden Saretsky scored a power-play goal to tie the game 1-1 midway through the third period, Mitch Friesen quickly put the lid back on the electric Kimberley Civic Centre by scoring 16 seconds later to reclaim a one-goal lead for the visitors.
A fast-paced first period saw the Kimberley Dynamiters carry the bulk of the play, but that didn’t carry over to the second.
Furious forechecking from forwards Jordan Roy and Revie brought life to a packed Kimberley Civic Centre in the first period, but nothing in terms of offense came about.
Storm forward Ryan Keis banged home a rebound on the doorstep of Brouwer’s crease a mere 55 seconds into the second period to give the visitors a 1-0 lead, silencing the packed house of 1,358 previously raucous fans.
Mullen took care of business at his end of the rink, making a big breakaway stop on Jason Richter later in the period. Haase had another glorious opportunity on top of the crease earlier in the period, but couldn’t quite get his stick down to slide the puck past an outstretched Mullen.
By the end of the night, Mullen made 40 stops on 43 Kimberley attempts, but it wasn’t enough to give his team the edge.
“Look at the shots on goal. They outplayed us,” Patterson said. “Jake [Storm goaltender Mullen] was phenomenal.
“We had a chance to steal one and we didn’t steal it. But, we said the whole time, this series was going to be six or seven. We’re prepared to come here four times.”
At the other end, Tyson Brouwer turned aside 27 of 29 shots, including a couple of show-stoppers in extra time, to claim his 15th victory of the post-season and push his team within one win of Kimberley’s first KIJHL championship since the Kimberley Knights won it all in 1980.
“We need to keep our composure,” Haase said. “They could very easily come back. We can’t get too high, can’t get too low, like coach has said. We just need to focus up on the next game.”
The Dynamiters will use Saturday as a travel day, while the Storm hit the highway immediately following Game 5. The Dynamiters can end it in Game 6, which is slated for 6 p.m. (MT) at McArthur Park Arena in Kamloops.
“We need to keep playing the game like we’ve been playing it,” Van Steinburg said. “We know it’s wide ice so we’ve got to take short shifts. We did a good job when we were down there [for Games 3 and 4] we just couldn’t quite get the wins. I think it’s going to come this time around.”
The winner of the KIJHL title heads to the Cyclone Taylor Cup (April 3 to 6 in Mission) to compete for the B.C. provincial title.
The Townsman/Bulletin has you covered for the KIJHL championship as sports editor Taylor Rocca will be headed to Kamloops for Game 6. For live updates, follow Taylor on Twitter (@taylorrocca) and keep eyes on dailytownsman.com/kijhl/ for nightly game stories.