KAMLOOPS, B.C. — The Kamloops Storm needed a win to get back into the KIJHL championship and on home ice for the first time in the series, they made good with a 3-2 double-overtime victory Tuesday night.
“This is where we are. If it was easy in the league final, there’s something wrong,” said Kimberley Dynamiters head coach Jerry Bancks. “Whoever wins this will remember it more than if it was a four-straight type thing. It’s a battle.
“I didn’t expect it to be a four-straight series anyhow. They’re too good a team. They were desperate. They played desperate and we made one mistake.”
Kyle Lohmann ended Game 3 with a backhand spinner that just slipped past the outreached left leg of Tyson Brouwer to give the Storm new life 5:34 into the second overtime period, cutting the Dynamiters series lead to 2-1.
“Every squirrel gets a nut every once in a while,” Lohmann told Adam Williams of Kamloops This Week. “The puck just popped out and I swung at it and got a good bounce. I’m very thankful.
“We needed that. We have a lot of belief in that locker room and it just took that one. We got it now and I think we’ve got a lot of confidence going into the next game, pushing forward, going into Kimberley for Game 5. I’m really happy with this group.”
With time winding down in the third period, the Storm were able to force overtime courtesy a pair of goals by Brayden Dale and Max Patterson.
Dale started it off with a nice backdoor finish, taking a pass from Ian Chrystal to make it a 2-1 game with 9:02 to go in regulation.
Patterson — a Kootenay Ice prospect — finished off the comeback.
After Brouwer made a stellar sprawling save on Mitch Friesen, the 6-foot-3, 165-pound Patterson banged home the rebound to tie the game 2-2 with 5:09 remaining in the third period.
“The boys never gave up. The PP goal early for them brought life to their bench. The guys just kept going, stuck with it,” Storm head coach Ed Patterson told Adam Williams of Kamloops This Week. “Even down 2-0, there going into the third, they just kept doing the little things, and eventually wore them down. We definitely got lucky there with the game-winner.
“This team does a great job blocking shots and collapsing to the house. We just had to get them chasing, get pucks through. Once we got pucks on net, second and third chance rebounds, we got lucky.”
In their first game on Olympic-sized ice at McArthur Park Arena in Kamloops, the Dynamiters looked at home early on, taking a 1-0 lead through 20 minutes of play.
“It’s a foreign ice surface that you sometimes question whether you can play on it or not,” Bancks said. “We definitely proved we can play on it.
“We adapted quite well. The shots we faced favoured them but when you think about breakaways, two-on-ones and really good opportunities, I thought we had more than they did…I thought we adapted really well to the play.”
The Nitros took advantage of a power-play opportunity as defenceman Jonas Gordon carried the puck down the right wing before driving the net. After Storm goaltender Jacob Mullen made the initial stop on Gordon, Alex Rosolowsky followed up on the play and was able to chip a quick shot over the pad of the 6-foot-4 goaltender to give the visitors a 1-0 edge.
The Storm carried the play through the opening 10 minutes of the second period, only to have any momentum swept away as Ryan Keis and Addison Bazian took back-to-back penalties to give the Dynamiters a five-on-three man advantage.
After whiffing on his first shot attempt, Nitros forward Braden Saretsky retrieved the loose puck and snapped a shot low past the glove hand of Mullen to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
Mullen made 27 stops for his win of the series, while Brouwer was good on 37 of 40 shots.
“We’re still up 2-1 in the championship series, so we’ve just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing and being a little bit more solid in our own end,” Saretsky said. “We’re doing fine.
“It was our first game as a team in this barn. We were all I little bit nervous, I think, on the wider surface. We just need to bear down a little bit more on passes and get pucks deep. We’ve got to keep forechecking them like we did in our barn.”
The two teams you right back at it Tuesday night, with Game 4 scheduled for 8 p.m. (MT) at the McArthur Park Arena in Kamloops.
“It’s a huge game. I’m a big believer in the resiliency of my guys,” Bancks said. “They’ve been resilient all year long through all kinds of adversity. They seem to respond and bounce back.
“They need to stop wasting energy on anger and disappointment. That’s done. When the game’s over, it’s over. Now you prepare for the next game and that’s all you can really control — your next shift. It’s been our mantra all playoff and that’s what we have to do — control our next shift.”
Game 5 back at the Kimberley Civic Centre is a certainty Friday night. What remains to be determined is whether or not the Nitros will be able to clinch a KIJHL championship on home ice. Game 4 will help decide. A Game 4 victory for the Nitros will give them an opportunity to clinch the KIJHL championship on home ice.
“They’re going to be hungry to have a chance to wrap it up at home and we’re going to be hungry to make sure they know we want this more than they do,” Patterson said.
“They’re a good team. I don;’t know if it was tired — we were just a little bit more desperate. That’s what it boils down to.”
Notes: Kimberley was 2-for-4 on the man advantage in Game 3, while Kamloops went 0-for-2…Attendance at McArthur Park Arena was just under 600 spectators for Game 3…Storm forwards Mitch Friesen and Bobby Kashuba each earned two assists…
The Townsman/Bulletin has you covered for the KIJHL championship as sports editor Taylor Rocca will be headed to Kamloops for Games 3 & 4. For live updates, follow Taylor on Twitter (@taylorrocca) and keep eyes on dailytownsman.com/kijhl/ for nightly game stories.