Following an exceptionally challenging week, with multiple injured players, two teammates quitting and multiple suspensions, the Kimberley Dynamiters bounced back admirably with a dominating 4-0 win on home ice against the Golden Rockets on Friday, Oct. 22.
Following the difficult week and a weekend of back-to-back defeats, head coach Derek Stuart said he was still confident his team could come back the following weekend and get the job done, and he proved to be correct.
“The guys just bought in,” Stuart said following Friday’s victory. “Everyone was working hard, everyone competed, everyone did exactly what we asked them to. They played their roles and it was a pretty unstoppable team out there in my opinion tonight.”
The team worked hard on their power play and changed up their formation for it in the practices leading up to Friday’s game. They also focused on discipline, after the past two games saw far too many penalties and even some suspensions.
“The guys were more poised, they made some more plays with the puck but I think overall it was just the guys’ determination, they wanted to get the job done tonight and they did,” Stuart said.
“Discipline was the number-one thing on our game notes tonight. They followed the game plan, exactly the way we laid it out. All we can do as coaches is give them a game and guide them to what we think will give them success but they actually have to put the work in and they did a fantastic job tonight of doing that.”
One of the stars of Friday’s game was undoubtedly #29 Austin Daniels, who contributed two goals and one assist.
“We just knew it was a tough game to go through last week, odds were stacked against us,” he said after the game. “So we just had a really good week in practice, we worked hard and got our mindsets right to come back for this game and we showed up and did what we had to do.”
He said it was also great to see so many fans in the stands. It was the biggest crowd of the year so far, with 564 people in the seats cheering the team on towards a huge win.
“One of the best things about playing here in Kimberley is the fans,” Daniels said. “We get good showings every single night and we kind of let them down last week, so it was awesome to have a good one for them this game.”
After Friday’s win, Stuart, Daniels and the rest of the team were eager to head back to Fernie for some revenge following the previous weekend’s game which saw three of their top players and Stuart suspended for fighting.
The suspensions for Matt Saretsky, Conner Furukawa and Adam Kennedy all ended going into the game against Fernie, and though the team played well for much of the game, and it proved to be a big boost to the team, particularly in the second half of the game, but the Nitros unfortunately came up just short, with Fernie winning 4-3.
“We played really good for I would say 35-plus minutes of the game,” Stuart said. “We were controlling the game and the other 25, we didn’t play bad, but we didn’t play good, so it kind of evened the playing field and we kind of chased the game from behind all night because of that.”
Daniels had another great game, getting a short handed, unassisted goal in the second period.
“Austin Daniels had a fantastic weekend,” Stuart said following the game against Fernie. “He played the way that we expect him to play and he got rewarded with some goals and points, but he’s finally starting to play consistently like a man, like a 20-year-old and using his size and skill and speed and he was by far our best player on the weekend.”
Although the team was unable to come away with a win against their rival Fernie, they have another chance right away, as they welcome the Ghostriders to the Civic Centre on Tuesday, Oct. 26.
“I always find that it takes a couple games to figure out how to play in Fernie’s rink,” Stuart said. “We were much better on Saturday than we were the first time we were there and now we get our turn at home for the first time, so the guys are pretty excited to play them in our rink instead of theirs.”