The Kimberley Dynamiters continued their five-game road trip with games against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats and Castlegar Rebels this past weekend.
On Thursday, the Nitros faced the Cats in a battle for the top spot in the Eddie Mountain division. Creston opened the scoring in the first 20 minutes. They followed it up with two more goals before Franco Colapaolo got Kimberley on the board, making it 3-1 after 40 minutes.
The score would then double in the final frame with James Rota scoring the second goal for the Nitros, but the Cats eventually downed the Nitros 6-2.
Overall, head coach and general manager Derek Stuart was pleased with the performance.
“I thought we were pretty good in a lot of areas that we addressed during the week in practice,” Stuart said. “The first period we started out strong [but] we had a few lulls throughout the game.”
The Dynamiters Achilles heel was their net presence.
“That is what killed us, our lack of effort and pride in front of our own net,” he said. “They made us pay with five of the six goals being loose pucks right in front of the net.
They just seemed to want it more, they outworked and muscled our guys to poke it in the net.”
Mitch Traichevich turned aside 29 shots, and Colapaolo was named the Away Star of the Game with a goal and an assist.
The Dynamiters then took Remembrance Day off before focusing their attention to the Castlegar Rebels on Saturday night.
The Rebels entered the game hot having won their past four games. The Dynamiters were hoping for a repeat of their earlier matches this season, which they had both won, to end their two-game losing skid.
Early on it became apparent that the players were not going to be the leading cast in this game as the referee stole the show.
“It’s difficult that the teams have to adjust to the referee’s individual style of what is a penalty and what is not,” Stuart said. “As opposed to some sort of consistent standard amongst the referees, it was completely opposite from our experience last week in West Kootenay.
“When inconsistency happens five or six times in a game it becomes pretty frustrating for the coaches and the players. It was difficult to handle. It’s just difficult for everyone involved.”
After a back-to-back-to-back penalty filled and scoreless first period, the scoring started after the longest penalty free portion of the game, from 18:48 to 14:24 of the second period. There were grooves in the ice on the way to the penalty box as the Rebels had 17 power play chances and scored on five of them.
“It seemed like we were on the penalty kill the entire game,” Stuart said. “You give any team that many power plays and they will score some goals. Castlegar does have a skilled power play with a lot of veterans, they executed it well.”
The Dynamiters did get two of their own goals one from the Away Star of the Game James Farmer, and the another one a little too late from Matt Davies.
The Rebels diffused the Dynamiters en-route to a 6-2 victory.
Cody Campbell stopped 26 of the 32 shots he faced.
Stuart though was pleased with the team’s limited five-on-five performance.
“I thought aside from special teams, we were pretty good,” he said. “Our guys worked extremely hard [but] unfortunately, a majority of that effort was spent killing penalties.”
The Dynamiters now must shift their focus to Tuesday’s match against last-place division rivals, the Golden Rockets (4-16-0-0) as they try to end their three-game losing streak.
“Losing three in a row is not a catastrophic streak, but at the same time, it is something we are not used to. It is some adversity, we have to bond together and pull through it. It will say a lot about our character and our team as a whole how we respond on Tuesday night.”
“We have to go out and play our own game and get back to being a team that is hard to play against every single shift.”
Puck drop is 7pm at the Kimberley Civic Centre.
MATCH STICKS: Injuries continue to pile up: Drew Van den Bosch and Connor Kendall remain sidelined. Caige Sterzer, Tyler Van Steinburg and Korbyn Chabot have all been added to the list with undisclosed injuries and timelines.