The Kimberley Dynamiters took to the road Friday to face-off against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, for the first of eight meetings, and then hosted the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.
In Creston, the Cats were electric. They scored the first goal of the game and fired an astounding 18 shots in the first period. The Nitros did respond with a goal of their own, by Brock Palmer, and 13 shots.
Early in the second Brandt Bertoia was able to give the Nitros a 2-1 lead, but it was all down hill from there.
The Cats outshot the Nitro’s 29-16 and scored two goals, taking the game 3-2 and handing the Nitro’s their second loss in November, and fourth loss on the season.
“We were very bad.” Head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said. “Our first period was just above average. For some reason in the second and third we lost our legs. We lost our will to compete.”
Staurt said that the veterans reported that there was a lack of preparation by the players and “that perhaps some of the players don’t have a hate on for Creston, that we should have had right away.”
The Dynamiters looked for a fresh start against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks on Saturday.
The Nitehawks, however, had other plans, and deflated the 755 in attendance early in the first. It was the sixth game in a row that the NitrOs were scored on first.
“You’d like to get the first goal,” Stuart said, aware of the trend, “but it doesn’t necessarily have a direct outcome on games. It is definitely nicer to play with a lead to chasing. But the guys have done a great job of bouncing back.”
And bouncing back is just what the Nitros did. Being scored on first seemed to awaken the Nitros, as four different players would score before the end of the first, Brett Roberts, Nicholas Graham, Cam Russell, and Palmer.
That would be Graham’s first goal with the Nitros, and Stuart would say that Graham was a standout player, and contributing reason for the win.
The scoring slowed down in the middle period, as Brant Mack increased the Nitros lead. It was 5-1 after 40 minutes, a very different scoreline than what is expected between these two clubs.
“When everyone is going, we are very dangerous depth wise.” Stuart said. “We do have three lines, and a fourth line that can chip in.
“Plus, when we play at home, we get a boost from the crowd.”
In the third, the Nitehawks would press back, scoring one goal to the Dynamiters two goals (Devon Langelaar and Bertoia).
By the final buzzer it was 7-2 Nitros, and they saluted the crowd after a massive win.
Cody Campbell started both games, making 44 saves in the loss, and 29 saves for his ninth win of the season.
Brock Palmer continues to stand out, scoring two goals and three assists over the weekend. He now sits third in league scoring with 34 points. Linemate, Matt Davies is just behind at ninth with 31 points.
Looking back on the weekend, the Nitros had polarizing performances. “It was two different hockey teams. It was very strange. We can’t have that big of discrepancy when we play.”
The Dynamiters now get to host the Thunder Cats at the Kimberley Civic Centre, and Stuart hopes for a lot of change compared to Friday’s game. “Hopefully every changes. We are looking for our speed and physicality to be like what it was against the Nitehawks.”
“Creston is our number one rival in the division, we need to get that hate on for them.”
The rematch is Tuesday night at 7:30pm at the Civic Centre.