The Kimberley Dynamiters managed to come away with a hard-fought victory on Wednesday, Nov. 3, rallying together for a strong third period and defeating the Creston Valley Thunder Cats 4-3.
It had been just over a month since Kimberley last faced off against the Thunder Cats, beating them 5-2 in the second game of the season. The team knew, however, that they shouldn’t come in to this next matchup expecting an easy win.
“We came to the rink knowing these guys were probably going to put up a battle,” said Kimberley’s #89 Tyler Russell. “Just because we previously played them and we won, we knew they were a good team, we knew they were a big team, we knew we had to be physical coming into the ring tonight.”
Russell said that before the game the team discussed focusing on “doing the little things right,” things like chipping pucks out of their end, blocking shots and playing solid defence. The 20-year-old forward is a product of Calgary, Alta. who played for the Dynamiters from 2019-20, left to temporarily join the Osoyoos Coyotes and then returned to Kimberley in 2020.
His older brother Cam is a former Dynamiter as well, and Russell did the family proud on Wednesday, contributing the team’s second goal of the night on a power play in the second period, and then getting an assist on the game winning goal in the third.
“The team’s looking great, the practices are looking good and everything, all the guys love it here,” he said following the win. “We love the fans, the community’s amazing. It’s going to be a really fun season and I can’t wait.”
The Dynamiters started the game out playing more sloppy than they’ve shown they can. Carter Spring received a two and 10 minute penalty for head contact just 25 seconds after the puck dropped in the first.
Creston took two penalties of their own not too long after and Kimberley capitalized with a 5-on-3 goal from Cash Regan. Creston answered with a goal of their own a few minutes later, then scored again to take the lead going into the second period.
Russell’s goal tied things up halfway through the second, but unfortunately Creston was able to sneak in another with under a minute left in the period, and so Kimberley headed into the third down 3-2 and outshot 18-15.
Victory was anything but assured and certainly wasn’t going to come easy.
“We expect a close game with them,” said Derek Stuart, head coach and general manager of the Kimberley Dynamiters. “They’re definitely not a team we’re going to outscore by a lot, or vice versa. I think those are two evenly matched teams, both teams have some pretty key players not playing tonight. It was an even game and we were fortunate to have a better third period than our opponent.”
Stuart said his team’s first two periods were sloppy, but their play had some diamonds in the rough, notably their power plays and their penalty kills, which were important as the game was rife with whistles.
“Right now I think we’re like first in the league for penalty minutes, it’s been bad recently,” Russell said with a laugh.
“But I think overcoming the first couple penalties really showed the boys that we can do it and we’re here and why not keep going. Why give up?”
Matt Saretsky tied the game up with an assist from Carson Cleland about five minutes into the third, and then Carter Spring scored what would prove to be the game winner at 13.07.
The Dynamiters clutched up and played some solid defence for the remainder, ultimately managing to hold off their opponents and secure an exciting 4-3 win on home ice in front of a week-night crowd of nearly 500 appreciative fans.
The Nitros welcome back Golden on Saturday, Nov. 6 and then head to Fernie on Friday, Nov. 12.