The Kimberley Dynamiters faced two divisional rivals this past weekend — the Fernie Ghostriders and the Columbia Valley Rockies. One game was a collapse and the other was ugly.
On Friday, the Nitros started out by building a 3-1 lead over the Ghostriders in the first 40 minutes with goals from Connor Kendall, Nolan Kurylo and Chase Miller. But then things went sour in the last 20 minutes.
Starting at the 19:02 mark until 13:05 of the third, the Riders managed to score four unanswered goals to wipe out the Nitros two-goal lead and created a two-goal deficit.
“The third period [against Fernie] was not good, it was a collapse,” said head coach and general manager Derek Stuart.
The Dynamiters had the edge in shots 40-34 in front of 528 fans in Fernie. Kurylo made his debut against Fernie and Stuart was pleased with his early performance.
“He’s a really smart player,” he said. “He already does some things that we are trying to get the team to do just from his experience playing Junior A for a year and a half.”
The Dynamiters then had to recalibrate and get ready for the Columbia Valley Rockies, who they bested 8-2 in their last meeting.
It was an ugly game in front of 626 fans at the Civic Centre. The Dynamiters struggled to make passes, appeared disorganized, and did not come to play their brand of hockey in their barn.
“It was definitely not one of our better games,” Stuart said. “For whatever reason, we didn’t come to play our game, we more tried to match Columbia Valley and they made it hard on us tonight. We were able to gut one out, but it was not pretty.”
Through 40 minutes, the Dynamiters were level at 2-2 with the Rockies, with goals by Drew Van den Bosch and Garreth Osmar. It wasn’t until the final 20 minutes that the Nitros began to pull away.
“I think we came out a little flat, [thinking] that we were going to walk all over them,” said November Nitros Player of the Month, James Farmer. “Obviously that didn’t happen. We can’t underestimate them, we’ve had had three really close games with them.”
Brandt Bertoia gave the Nitros a one goal lead. Then it was Devon Langelaar with a breakaway short-handed goal with just under three minutes left that sealed the game for the Nitros.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a defenceman getting a short-handed breakaway goal,” Langelaar said. “We just had to get the puck out [and] it was kind of a lucky bounce, it was right there for me. I just put it on net, I had no intention of scoring, really.”
While Langelaar provided the heroics, it was 16-year-old Adam Andersen from Kimberley, BC — who made his KIJHL starting debut, earning his first win with a 21-save performance — who stole the show.
“Adam was really good for a 16-year-old and a hometown kid,” Stuart said. “He was nervous all day [but] made two highlight reel saves and then a bunch of key calm saves that we needed recently and he provided them tonight. I think there were times where he kept us in the game. It was nice to see, he’s really happy.”
Andersen was not just happy, but exhilarated with the win.
“It’s the best feeling I have ever had in my life,” Andersen said. “The first one is always the hardest to get out of the way [and] I’m happy that I got to do it here on home ice in front of my family, my friends, and my teammates. It was pretty awesome.”
While the Dynamiters earned two of a possible four points this weekend, Stuart outlined a couple of things that his team needs to work on before tonight’s game against the Golden Rockets.
“We are going to have to figure out why it was a slow start,” he said. “We are not in the position to take any team lightly. If that’s what is happening, we need to fix it right away.
“We are going to have to take shorter shifts and manage the puck better [against Golden].”
“Get prepared, get rest, and come out hard,” Farmer added. “Don’t take them lightly, play them physical and strong, and beat them down.”
The Dynamiters travel to Golden tonight to play the Rockets at the Golden Arena. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.
MATCH STICKS: Mitch Traichevich (’97) has been traded to his hometown Dawson Creek Jr. Canucks for goaltender Cody Call (‘98). Korbyn Chabot has been held pointless in his four games with the Trail Smoke Eaters (BCHL). George Bertoia remains sidelined with an injury.
Eddie Mountain Division Standings
1. Creston Valley Thunder Cats (20-5-1-1), 42 pts
2. Kimberley Dynamiters (18-8-0-0), 36 pts
3. Fernie Ghostriders (16-8-1-0), 34 pts
4. Columbia Valley Rockies (6-16-0-3), 15 pts
5. Golden Rockets (4-22-1-0), 9 pts