The Kimberley Dynamiters continued their hot streak, winning their third and fourth games in a row as they bounced both the Grand Forks Border Bruins — in a 9-3 blowout — and the Spokane Braves — by a score of 6-3 — from the Kimberley Civic Centre this weekend.
On Friday, the Nitros played the Border Bruins and exploded from the drop of the first puck, scoring four goals in the first period alone.
“That was probably the best start we have had to a game this season,” said Dynamiters head coach and general manager Derek Stuart. “[But] it’s real tough whether you are a professional or a junior aged player to keep your mind on the task at hand when you are up 4-0 that early. They start thinking that it is point night, and don’t do what they are supposed to do.”
The Dynamiters kept pressing scoring an additional three goals in the middle frame to give them a 7-0 lead over the Border Bruins heading into the third.
It was in the final frame that the Border Bruins got under the skin of the Dynamiters.
“It’s hard staying focused in a game where you get up early and are playing the dirtiest team in our conference.”
A whopping 117 minutes’ worth of penalties were called at the 13:52-minute mark of the third.
The Bruins then scored a powerplay goal, but the Nitros responded quickly. Grand Forks scored another two quick goals within ten seconds before Kimberley responded in the last minute.
The Dynamiters finished the game with a 9-3 win over the Border Bruins.
“We started out really strong [and] were on them right away,” said James Rota, the Nitros 17-year-old local talent and home star of the game. “Near the end, we let up a bit. But we finished strong with a goal at the end.”
Rota earned one goal, his first of the season, and the eventual game winner, plus he added three assists on the night.
“It was awesome, it was my first of the year,” Rota said. “I’m pretty happy to finally get one. I was just excited to get one. Being the game-winning goal, that’s always a nice bonus.”
“[Rota] had a great game,” said Stuart. “He was definitely one of our most valuable players tonight. His whole line was our best line, Hozjan, and Colapaolo.”
Cody Lassiter, the new addition from Bassano, AB, played his first game as a Dynamiter.
“[Lassiter] did very well. For him to step in like that and be that calm with the puck and make that many good decisions with the puck. He was very impressive.”
Dawson Creek, BC, native, Mitch Traichevich, made 29 saves for his sixth win of the season.
The Dynamiters then focused their attention on battling the visiting Spokane Braves on Saturday. They came out with a flash early again, scoring within the first minute.
“I thought we started out great in the first 5-6 minutes,” Stuart said. “I believe in the first four minutes we had nine shots on net, and ended the period with 13. It went down hill from there.”
“We were pretty lackluster — lazy with the puck, lazy getting to loose pucks.
“I don’t know if our heads are getting a little too big or that early goal put thoughts in guys’ heads that this was going to be an easy night. They should know that nothing comes easy against Spokane because I think they are better than their record shows.”
“We had a lot of turnovers in our own end,” said Nitros’ Chase Miller, an 18-year-old from Calgary, AB. “We were trying to be pretty with the puck instead of just getting deep and grinding it out in their end.”
The Braves were always within striking distance as they continually made plays out of nothing.
“I thought we let them hang around for far too long,” Stuart said, “and gave them a chance to be in this game, and gave them hope.”
It wasn’t until the midway point of the third that the Dynamiters started to pull away to earn their fourth win in a row with a 6-2 victory.
“The book ends were good. The middle was not good. Hopefully, it is a wake-up call for us, even though it was a win. I don’t think we were very good tonight.”
Cody Campbell from Calgary, AB, started his first game as a Dynamiter and earned his first win in the KIJHL with a 21 save performance.
“Campbell was good. I thought he was very composed and he made a couple big saves. [For] his first game with a new team in a new league, he did very well.”
Franco Colapaolo, also from Calgary, AB, continued to be a hard-working force for the Dynamiters as he scored two of the three third period goals.
“Colapaolo is definitely a leader, he wears a letter for a reason. With some help from his linemates, he took over the third period and willed those pucks into the net. He used his speed and went to the net with his stick on the ice. Simple things that every player can do.”
Chase Miller was the star of the game as he distributed the puck well, earning three assists in front of family for the Dynamiters Family weekend game.
“I had lots of family here. It was awesome having them all out here. It was a good night. I was working the puck well.
“It wasn’t our prettiest game, but [we] got the win and that’s what matters at the end of the night”
Looking back on the current four-game winning streak, the Dynamiters have now scored 29 goals, while being scored on nine times.
“Last four, the results look great,” Stuart said. “The nine against is a huge sign of how we have been playing the defensive zone. If we can keep that up, we can get a lot of wins. Especially in a league like this where it is tough to score goals.
“Now we put it behind us and look forward to Nelson [on] Friday.”
For up-to-date Kimberley Dynamiter information visit: www.kimberleydynamiters.net/blog. Also follow Josh on twitter @joshuaklockhart.