The road to the Cyclone Taylor Cup — British Columbia’s provincial Junior B championship — will once again travel through the Kimberley Civic Centre.
After winning the KIJHL regular season crown with a record of 41-7-0-4, the Kimberley Dynamiters ensured home-ice advantage straight through the entire post-season. With a 3-1 victory over the Beaver Valley Nitehawks in Game 5 of the Kootenay Conference final Monday night at the Kimberley Civic Centre, the Dynamiters booked their second consecutive ticket to the league championship.
“You hear all the guys talk about how much sacrifice and how much hard work it took to get there last year,” said Dynamiters goaltender Tyson Brouwer. “It just makes you want to go that extra mile to get there again.
“We’ve explained a lot to the younger guys that it’s a really special feeling and the hardest thing in hockey to do is win a championship. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at. That drove us all year.”
The 100 Mile House Wranglers also checked in for the KIJHL championship after claiming the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference title with a five-game series triumph over the Summerland Steam.
Monday night, the Dynamiters and Wranglers confirmed the best-of-seven series schedule, with Game 1 set for Saturday, March 26 (7 p.m.) at the Kimberley Civic Centre.
“We’re a pretty healthy team right now,” said Dynamiters captain Jason Richter. “I think we’re a healthier team than we were after the Fernie series [in Round 1]. We’ll get a little bit of rest [before Game 1], fine tune some stuff out on the ice and get back at it.”
The Wranglers finished the regular season as the top squad in the Doug Birks Division with a record of 33-12-3-4.
With nearly 800 kilometres separating the two cross-conference opponents, there is plenty of ground to cover over the course of the series, which led to a schedule break down with only two swings.
Games 1 and 2 will be played in Kimberley before the series shifts to the South Cariboo Rec Centre in 100 Mile House for Games 3 and 4. If necessary, Game 5 will also be played in 100 Mile House.
If necessary, the Dynamiters will play host for Games 6 and 7.
This marks the second consecutive trip to the KIJHL finals for the Kimberley Dynamiters, who claimed the league title in 2015 by defeating the Kamloops Storm.
From there, the Nitros went on to place second in the province, falling to the Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League in the Cyclone Taylor Cup final.
KIJHL Championship Schedule
100 Mile House Wranglers vs. Kimberley Dynamiters
Game 1 – Saturday, March 26 at Kimberley Civic Centre (7 p.m.)Game 2 – Sunday, March 27 at Kimberley Civic Centre (7 p.m.)Game 3 – Tuesday, March 29 at South Cariboo Rec Centre (8 p.m.)Game 4 – Wednesday, March 30 at South Cariboo Rec Centre (8 p.m.)*Game 5 – Thursday, March 31 at South Cariboo Rec Centre (8 p.m.)*Game 6 – Saturday, April 2 at Kimberley Civic Centre (7 p.m.)*Game 7 – Sunday, April 3 at Kimberley Civic Centre (7 p.m.)
* = if necessary; all times listed are Mountain