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Leafs fall flat as Dynamiters start round three with back-to-back wins

The Kimberley Dynamiters started off round three of the KIJHL playoffs strong, with back-to-back wins on home ice against the Nelson Leafs.

The Kimberley Dynamiters started off round three of the KIJHL playoffs strong, with back-to-back wins on home ice against the Nelson Leafs.

Game one of the Kootenay Conference Finals began with a scoreless first period. The Leafs are a relatively unfamiliar team to the Dynamiters, as they only played each other three times throughout the regular season, so there was perhaps some sizing each other up taking place early on.

“You never know what they’re going to bring,” said team captain Ryan Bennett. “I mean someone that you’ve played eight times throughout the season you definitely know what they’re going to do a little bit more, but these guys they’re pretty much brand new to us so we’ve just got to go out and play our game.”

Austin Daniels opened up the scoring in the second with his ninth goal of the playoffs so far, continuing to prove himself as a force to be reckoned with on the ice. Nelson fired back with a goal of their own shortly after. Cash Regan would go on to score the game-winning goal in the third period, assisted by Christian Mealey and Cam Reid, to secure a 2-1 victory in game one.

The team unfortunately lost another player to injury, with Ty Smith suffering a broken ankle in the same corner of the rink where Carter Spring broke his leg just a few games earlier.

“Everyone’s got injuries I mean [Nelson’s] playing with an affiliate right now in their lineup, so we’re not quite in the place they are, but we’ve had guys step in,” said head coach, general manager Derek Stuart.

“Conner Furukawa stepped in to Smith’s spot and did a great job tonight and Hudson Ketsa stepped in to the lineup for the first time in a while and he was very, very good and solid. The guys have to step up now, it’s their turn to contribute a little bit more than they’re necessarily required to with Smith and Spring out but they’re doing a great job so far.”

The team did indeed step up in the wake of losing two of their players and delivered another exciting win on Wednesday, Mar. 16 win to a crowd of 824, the largest crowd that’s turned up so far for the playoffs.

“It was awesome tonight, the whole crowd was buzzing and all the guys showed up to play tonight it was great to see,” Bennett said after the game.

Christian Mealey scored the first goal of the game early in the first, his tenth of the playoffs making him tied for the league lead.

Nelson tied it up just eight seconds into the second, the only goal of the second period and ultimately the Leafs’ only goal of the game.

A big third period with goals from Tenzin Bogardis, Cash Regan and Ryan Bennett sealed the deal for a solid 4-1 win.

“It’s a great start, it’s good for us to get a win in game one, I think our first two rounds game ones weren’t very good,” Stuart said. “Last night was actually decent game one. Played very good defensively, Tyrstan has been great in net and I think for us defence has been really solid the first two games so far.”

Trystan Self has been a consistent factor in the Dynamiters’ success throughout the regular season and into the playoffs. On Wednesday’s game he made 29 saves, allowing his team to surge forward on the scoreboard.

“It’s obviously feels good to help out the boys and keep us in the game, but after every single save I kind of just get focused, reset and get ready for the next one,” Self explained.

Bennett’s goal was a big one, not just as it was the last of the game, but because it was his first since returning from an early-season injury.

“It was good to finally get that off my chest, I’ve been wanting that one for a while,” Bennett said. He knows very well how injury can affect the individual and the team as a whole, and has been a tremendous leader since returning from his broken collarbone.

“Obviously it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, but all in all we find a way every night with our depth to go out there and just kind of not worry about what’s going on outside of the game,” he said. “We go in every night with a different group of guys and we know that we still have that depth to do it.”

The Dynamiters will now head to Nelson for back-to-back games on Friday, Mar. 18 and Saturday, Mar. 19.

“There’s definitely a chance we can sweep it, we’re up two nothing, but you never know what Nelson’s going to bring in their own rink,” Bennett said. “It’s a tough rink to play in and they’re a good hockey team.”


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