It had all the hallmarks of a preseason game—some jitters, some undisciplined play, and some unexpected twists and turns.
The Kimberley Dynamiters erased a two-goal deficit, took a brief lead, but eventually settled for a 3-3 tie with the Columbia Valley Rockies in their first exhibition action of the new season.
Riding a 3-2 lead going into the final minute of the game, Rockies forward Justin Kostiuck managed to sneak a shot past the blocker of Nitro goaltender Troy Brouwer to knot it up by the final buzzer.
Doan Smith and Jerome Thorne supplied the other two goals for Columbia Valley, while Brady Revie, Coleman MacDonald and Tyson Klingspohn potted markers for Kimberley.
Columbia Valley had played twice before in their pre-season schedule, making it their third time outing against the untested Dynamiters.
It certainly showed in the first period.
“The first period, we were pretty—I guess you would use the word awful, but we got better from there, and had a nice battle back to have the lead,” said head coach Jerry Bancks. “Just an unfortunate break on the last goal.”
New goaltender Braydon Rubisch got the start for half the game, making some sharp saves while surrendering a lone goal at the end of the first period.
Ten minutes into the second period, Rubisch was replaced with Tyson Brouwer, a goaltender out of Lethbridge, who allowed two goals over the remaining 30 minutes.
Smith shovelled away in front of the net with 42 seconds left in the opening period to score his goal to put the Rockies in the lead. The second period was scoreless, but not without opportunities for both teams.
It was a wild finish, with five of the game’s six goals scored in the final frame.
Columbia Valley doubled up early in the third period when Thorne picked up a rebound just outside of the crease and put it home.
However, mere seconds later, Revie answered back for the Nitros to get the offensive ball rolling.
A few minutes later, MacDonald broke down the left wing, beat a Rockies defenceman, and slipped the puck through the five-hole on goaltender.
Kimberley scored it’s third goal not long after that, Klingspohn snapped in a shot to take a 3-2 lead in the latter half of the frame.
However, Kostiuck managed to get around Kimberley’s Tanner Grey after he broke his stick to beat Brouwer in the final minute of the game to tie it at a 3-3 final.
It was end-to-end action at the start that wasn’t very coordinated as players were thrown into the game to see how they handled the game situations.
“It was a real great opportunity to do some evaluating,” said Bancks. “They’re [Columbia Valley] a good team. Columbia Valley has turned their program around and they’re going to be good for a long time now.
“It was good to get that game in. They got great players, and it was good for us to evaluate our guys.”
One player who stood out was defenceman Charlie Dagostin, who was making some smart plays and some big hits while patrolling the blue line.
Dagostin, who came in all the way from Dawson City in the Yukon, arrived two weeks ago after a marathon drive broken up into two day stints to get to Kimberley.
However, it was worth it, he said.
“It felt great to get out onto the ice,” said Dagostin. “Definitely a new experience, coming up from Midget to play some junior, but I like the pace and the boys are great here.”
Kimberley will head up to Invermere for a rematch on Saturday evening, and Bancks will have roughly 26 skaters to choose from when making up the game roster.
“We had five or six veterans out of the lineup tonight that will need a chance to play,” Bancks said. “[Goaltender] Jeremy Mousseau needs to get a game in, or part of a game in, anyhow, so we’ll probably pull out some veterans and put some other ones in, and have another look at the younger players or the rookies.”