The Kimberley Dynamiters were celebrating as though they had won, and the game was just three minutes old.
When Brock Palmer scored early in Friday’s game, his teammates emptied the bench to congratulate him.
Leafs captain David Sanchez thought his team was being mocked in their own barn and wanted a delay of game call.
Little did he know that Palmer’s goal had just given him 215 points, making him Kimberley’s new all-time points leader in the KIJHL.
“I think it was still rude,” said Sanchez after the game. “But I understand.”
But in the first period the Leafs still thought they were being disrespected. So when forward Joe Davidson tied the game up shortly after, his teammates responded by leaving their bench for a sarcastic celebration.
“We just had to prove a point,” said Davidson. “Gotta let them know.”
Leafs head coach Mario DiBella praised official Ryan Blake for not handing out penalties to either team.
“I wasn’t aware it was a milestone for Palmer,” said DiBella. “He’s a fantastic player. It’s a big record and congratulations to him. Had we known, it wouldn’t have been an issue.”
Kimberley Head Coach and General Manager Derek Stuart doesn’t know if he buys that explanation.
“We had a player that broke a major record,” he said. “So our team decided to go out and celebrate that. A bunch of their players were talking to Palmer and congratulated him at the time, so I don’t know that I buy they didn’t know. In any event, it didn’t have any effect on us.”
The eyebrow-raising start to the game kicked off a fun contest that ended with Kimberley forward Cam Russell skating around the stretched out Leafs goaltender Anderson Violette to score in overtime for a 4-3 win.
Davidson scored twice and Shawn Campbell added a single for the Leafs (21-11-6), while Violette stopped 31 shots.
Palmer, Erik Delaire and Jett Saharchuk had goals for the league-leading Dynamiters (32-4-6), with Blake Pilon making 19 saves.
DiBella said he was impressed with his players, who earned a point against the KIJHL’s elite despite only dressing 11 forwards.
“I thought we competed very hard. I thought we rose to the occasion with every piece of adversity we got. … I like our game, I like our team, I like our compete level.”
Palmer’s record-setting goal came in his 131st game through three seasons with Kimberley. Although Nelson took issue with the celebration, the home team should have been more upset with the goal, which was scored despite Leafs putting sticks on the puck twice to no whistle while the ref had his hand up.
Kimberley’s Stuart says the Nitros spent the majority of the night on the penalty kill.
“Our opponent was not getting called for the same things as us. We had one five on three power play all night. We spent the majority of time on the penalty save. But that happens sometimes.”
Nelson took two quick penalties after Davidson’s tying goal, but a brave shot block by Adam Diotte and several saves by an alert Violette helped the Leafs survive the 5-on-3. Nelson had its own 5-on-3 shortly after, but Campbell’s shot off a post was the closest the home side came to scoring.
In the second period, Davidson put a shot off the post but made up for it with a power-play goal at 10:50. “I was angry after that [first shot],” he said. “I just wanted to score again, get the boys back in it.”
That lead lasted just 26 seconds when a puck bounced in front of Violette and Delaire cleaned up the rebound.
One minute later Keegan McDowell found Saharchuk left alone in front of Violette, and it was 3-2 for Kimberley.
The Dynamiters closed ranks to shut the Leafs down defensively in the third, but a nasty hit opened the door for Nelson to tie the game.
Leafs forward Bryden Pow took a check to the head from Kimberley forward Jed Butler, which led to a brief scrum and a five-minute major.
That led to a tying goal from Campbell, who was ready in the slot for a quick shot after being fed the pass from Davidson.
On Saturday afternoon, the Dynamiters had a quick turn around and played Beaver Valley Nighthawks in Trail, winning in overtime 1 – 0.
“Adam Anderson (Goalie) was real good,” Stuart said. “He made two or three highlight reel saves and then the team defence was fantastic.”
The Nitros are home to Fernie tonight at the Civic Centre before hitting the road again for the weekend.
“One thing about this team I really like is that they love being on the road,” Stuart said. “I think we’re 18 of 21 on the road. They have no problem with travel and playing in someone else’s rink.”
With files from Tyler Harper Nelson Star