The Kimberley Dynamiters collected two more crucial points Tuesday night in Invermere with a 5-2 defeat of the Columbia Valley Rockies.
The victory puts the Dynamiters three points ahead of the Creston Valley Thunder Cats for second place in the Eddie Mountain Division, though the Thunder Cats hold one game in hand on their rivals from Kimberley.
“A lot of special teams [play] didn’t allow a lot of flow to happen,” said Kimberley Dynamiters head coach Jerry Bancks over the phone from the team bus following the win. “I thought our power play was off. Too many shots missed the net. Just not bearing down.”
The Nitros handed the Rockies 10 power-play opportunities, including three in the first period alone. Despite the parade to the penalty box, the visitors took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, after Braden Saretsky and Jesse Wallace each tallied shorthanded markers.
The situation didn’t improve in the second period as Sam Young cashed in on the man advantage for the hosts, cutting the Nitros lead to 2-1 early on.
Midway through the period, Wallace earned his second special-teams goal of the night with a power-play marker to retake the two-goal advantage for the Nitros. It’s all the Dynamiters needed as Alex Rosolowsky provided one more second-period score to put his team up 4-1.
Wallace, a 17-year-old local Kimberley kid, has been a steady presence of late, providing four goals and seven points through his previous four outings.
“He’s always had a very high hockey IQ and the ability to make the right play,” Bancks said of the 5-foot-10 forward. “He’s just being himself.
“He’s being what I always expected him to be — he is a good player, a very intelligent player. Playing with Braden [Saretsky] and Jason [Richter] helps him and he’s thriving, which is nice to see. He’s where he should be. I’m not surprised to see him playing as well as he is.”
Harrison Davies tallied the second goal for the Rockies with 6:01 to play in the second period and Saretsky grabbed his second goal of the night late in the third period to ice the victory.
Invermere native Brody Nelson earned the start in net for the Dynamiters, returning to his hometown for the first time since a trade sent him from the Rockies to the Kamloops Storm in December.
Nelson turned aside 24 shots for the win.
At the other end of the rink, Jason Sandhu made 30 saves for the Rockies.
Despite the win, Bancks was not completely pleased with his team’s performance early on in the game.
“Our first period [Tuesday night] was very similar to our first period [Friday night], so the concerns are still there,” Bancks said. “We turned way too many pucks over.”
After Friday’s 6-2 win over the Rockies, Bancks expressed concern regarding the number of turnovers his team committed, particularly in the early stages of the game. After Tuesday’s repeat performance of that same blemish, Bancks gave his players the benefit of the doubt, attributing the loose puck play to an influx of players returning from injury, which in turn, shakes up defensive pairings and places players in relatively unfamiliar situations.
The turnover problem will have to be resolved sooner rather than later, as the Dynamiters travel to Creston Valley to face the Thunder Cats Friday night in a critical matchup that will weigh heavily into deciding second place in the Eddie Mountain Division.
Notes: Nitros F Jordan Roy (flu) and D Tyler Kinnon (flu) missed Tuesday’s game…F Jared Marchi (lower body) is close to returning and could dress as early as Friday at Creston Valley…