Spirits were high in the Kimberley Dynamiters dressing room following a 5-2 victory over the Nelson Leafs Friday night.
With a three-assist performance, newcomer Braden Saretsky earned his first post-game interview and his teammates were quick to put him to task.
As Saretsky emerged from the Dynamiters dressing room, shouts followed the 18-year-old West Kelowna native, exclaiming, “You’ve got to do the meow game!”
For those unaware, the meow game happens to be a challenge making its way through the hockey world in recent weeks. The interview subject is challenged to seamlessly work as many ‘meows’ as possible into his responses. The meows are intended to replace the word ‘now.’
The game was inspired by a scene from the 2001 police comedy film Super Troopers.
It might seem like a silly little game, but it actually makes for an incredibly entertaining interview.
Saretsky, who was acquired by the Dynamiters in a Nov. 28 trade with the Summerland Steam, was as close to purr-fect as one could get.
“After about a week of being here meow, it’s been pretty good,” Saretsky said Saturday night. “The guys have been pretty good to me and coach [Jerry Bancks] is giving me lots of playing time meow. It’s been nice.”
Saretsky has seen plenty of playing time indeed. In Saturday’s victory over Nelson, the 5-foot-11 pivot was flanked by leading scorer Jason Richter and Jared Marchi on the Nitros first line. In addition to skating on the top unit, Saretsky has also manned the point on the power play since his arrival.
The speedy Saretsky set up Richter three times Saturday and has four assists in three games since joining the Nitros.
“He’s really talented. He’s really smart with the puck,” Richter said of Saretsky. “He can set guys up. He’s definitely got a lot of skill and he works really hard.”
As much as Saretsky’s interview was a highlight Saturday night, captain Richter was the man with the hot hand on the ice.
Richter single-handedly blew away the Leafs with a five-point performance, including three goals.
“Everyone’s stepping up,” Richter said. “It doesn’t matter who is on the scoresheet at the end of the game.”
With his team leading 3-2 late in the third period, 18-year-old Cranbrook native cruised over the blue-line before wiring a wrist shot through the five-hole of Leafs goaltender Joey Karrer.
“I was looking for Saretsky. If I would have passed to him, I was thinking he was going to have a breakaway, but the guy caught up to him,” Richter said, replaying his Saturday insurance marker. “I tried to slow down and I looked for Marchi. Then I saw Marchi kind of had a guy on him. I didn’t want to turn it over because we were so late in the game.
“I just kind of put it on net and luckily it went in.”
Richter, the heart and soul of the Dynamiters, completed the hat trick with an empty-net goal 24 seconds later.
“[Richter and Marchi] are both really skilled players meow,” Saretsky said. “They’ll dish you the puck wherever so you kind of have to have your stick on the ice and always be ready for them meow. They’re good guys to play with.”
If you were curious, Saretsky managed to squeak 10 meows into a two-minute interview. Kudos, to Kimberley’s newest Nitro.
Prior to Saturday’s win, the Dynamiters fell 4-2 to the Creston Valley Thunder Cats at Johnny Bucyk Arena. The Thunder Cats grabbed two more victories Saturday (4-3 at Golden) and Sunday (9-3 vs. Columbia Valley), leap-frogging the Dynamiters into third place in the KIJHL’s Eddie Mountain Division.
“We’ve got to step it up. We’ve got to play for each other [on the road],” Richter said. “Playing at home, we have a good atmosphere here and it’s pretty easy to get into the game. On the road, we definitely have to step up and start playing for each other.”
The Dynamiters are an impressive 12-3-0-1 at the Kimberley Civic Centre, but continue to battle on the road. The Nitros mark away from home is 3-9-1-1 after Friday’s loss in Creston Valley.
Richter and the Dynamiters will get a chance to improve upon that road mark this Friday when they visit the Spokane Braves (15-13-0-3).