After last weekend’s action, Dynamiters head coach Derek Stuart said that their one “uncharacteristic” loss wasn’t causing him to much concern. Tuesday, Nov. 30’s 6-1 victory over Columbia Valley proved him to be absolutely correct. It was their best game of the year so far, without question.
“It was probably the funnest game I’ve ever played in my life,” said Matt Saretsky outside the locker room with an ear-to-ear smile plastered across his face. He put up two sensational goals that night. “Everybody was on their game, everyone was loose and we just did what we needed to do.”
Discipline was one thing Stuart wanted to focus on following the team’s 3-2 loss to Beaver Valley, and the team displayed a professional level of it throughout the game.
Columbia Valley seemed to get progressively more frustrated throughout the game, and tried goading the Dynamiters into trouble, and took several costly penalties themselves, including a nasty five-minute major for slashing halfway through the third.
Saretsky said the team had a talk on the timeout shortly before the end of the game and resolved to stay out of it, knowing they didn’t need any players out for their next game.
“We definitely wanted to make sure that we were disciplined, especially after Saturday night’s game when we were very undisciplined,” Stuart said. “The guys did a fantastic job of just biting their lip and taking some shots that maybe could have been penalties, but I think overall the referees did a good job tonight.
Stuart and his team have been working hard to become the cohesive unit he knows they can be. After all the stops, starts and hurdles of the past two years, plus dealing with losing some players this year, it seems they are really starting to reach that next level of cohesion.
“We’re a lot better now than we were even two weeks ago, or a month ago, or six weeks ago,” Stuart said. “We’re getting better and better and we’re getting harder to play against and we’re holding the puck and having possession of the puck a lot more.”
Due to this heightened solidarity and professionalism, the team produced some seriously highlight-reel worthy goals throughout the night, making for an exceptional experience for the many fans who packed the stadium on a rainy Tuesday evening.
“We’ve been kind of snakebitten in the goal-scoring department up until probably a week ago and it’s nice to see the guys finish on some of the nice plays they were making,” Stuart said. “And more so it’s nice to see them do the things to create those chances and I think that it was good to see them score of course, but I think the things that they did to create the chances was really good to see too.”
This kind of win is a huge momentum builder, especially going into their next game, on Saturday, Dec. 4 against Golden, who they’ve beaten each of the three times they’ve faced them.
“Everyone’s super pumped, it was a big one, a big statement,” Saretsky said. “Games coming up are going to be huge for us.”
“We’re now one point out of first with two games in hand and that was a big game,” Stuart added. “We’re either one point out, or we’re five points out, so I think that for us is a huge win and I think it shows our guys more importantly that we’re the best team in this division and we believe we are anyways, and it’s good to start playing like it finally.”
That confidence was not unwarranted, as the Dynamiters would go on to trounce the Golden Rockets 7-0.
“The guys prepared for the game properly which enabled us to start extremely strong,” Stuart said. “From there we just played Nitros hockey and dictated what happened on the ice.”
He added Kade Leskosky was “a force” on Saturday. The 2003-born forward from Calgary, Alta. put up two goals in the first period and a couple assists later in the game. He now has three goals and a total of nine points so far this season.
“He just did whatever he wanted out there,” Stuart said.
Christian Mealey also got two goals that game, the first and last of the night, with the others being scored by Austin Daniels, his thirteenth of the season, Cash Regan, his tenth, and Tyler Russell.
If they were instilled with confidence going into this game against Golden, it would be safe to assume they’re brimming with it going in to Tuesday, Dec. 7’s game against the Rockets on home ice.