Our tale of the Kimberley Dynamiters Eddie Mountain Division Finals sweep begins on Thursday March 7 at the Kimberley Civic Centre.
The game went as fans hoped, tightly contested.
It wasn’t until the third that the scoring began. Home Star of the Game Keegan McDowell opened the scoring on the power play early in the third period.
Braiden Koran added the Nitros second goal just after the halfway point of the period.
In the closing Ghostriders Nikolas Sombrowski brought his team to within one.
Then Nitros February Player of the Month Brady Daniels scored an empty net to seal this game, 3-1.
Adam Andersen made 27 saves in the win.
March 8th, in Kimberley.
The fans doubled, from 716 to 1434 for this Friday night tilt.
Keelan Saworski opened the scoring giving the Ghostriders the lead.
This is only the fifth time that the Nitros have been scored on first in 2019. However, four of those five first goals have been scored by Fernie.
“I don’t think there is any correlation to Fernie getting the first goal on us,” head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said after the two games. “It’s obviously not translating into wins for them, it’s not too concerning on our end.”
As the first period wound down, Captain Chase Gedny scored on the power play to tie it at one.
In the middle frame, Neil Kingston scored the periods only goal. Nitros up 2-1.
In the third, the game was intense. Simon Bergsagel tied the game with just over twelve minutes left.
From then on the game felt like it was in overtime.
The first period of overtime, solved nothing.
In the second overtime period, Andersen made a fantastic 2-on-1 save to prevent the Ghostriders from winning, and the fans erupted in praising him for the save.
“I saw the two on one shape up,” Andersen recounted, “I was thinking ‘shot’ the whole way. I just threw everything I had to pushing across, threw my arm out, it worked out well.”
“That was the coolest moment of my time playing hockey in my entire life.”
Moments later, Koran finished off a rush play with the overtime winner.
Andersen made 28 saves in the teams 20th straight win, going back into the regular season.
“It’s obviously what we wanted [having a 2-0 start], we are halfway there,” Stuart said after the two games. “Nobody is thinking that it is over with, we have a lot of work to do still.”
Stuart highlighted the impressive unheralded play of Mitch Fargey, “he has been our best defencemen in the playoffs thus far.”
And also added “Cam Russell has been great this series, he’s dominated a lot of the time he’s on the ice.”
March 10th, in Fernie.
A raucus 910 showed up in Fernie.
“We knew what to expect going in there,” Tyson Meier said.
The fans were quickly silenced be Spencer Kennedy, the Away Star of the Game. He scored two power play goals 1:36 apart.
Bergsagel got the Ghostriders back into the game late in the second period. To only have Brady Daniels score minutes later. After 40 minutes, Nitros were up 3-1.
Koran, scoring for the third game in a row, made it 4-1. Then Erik Delaire potted an empty net goal.
It was Brett Anderson’s first game in Fernie, and he turned aside 29 of 30 shots.
“Brett was outstanding and gave us a chance to win,” Stuart said. “He was a huge reason why we won game three.”
March 11th, in Fernie.
The Ghostriders season on the line.
Cam Russell, wearing the ‘C’ in Gedny’s absence, scored on a lucky play giving the Nitros a 1-0 lead.
Jackson Bohan scored on the power play in the second period for the Nitros second goal.
Ryan Skytt added the third goal, in the third period, on the power play.
Andersen made 26 saves for his first career KIJHL shutout, and was named the Away Star of the Game.
“It feels really good knowing that our goaltending is hot in playoffs right now,” Meier said, “and our defense is doing really good too. Keeping it simple and keeping pucks out.”
And that’s how our tale ends, with the Nitros sweeping the ‘Riders.
“We got better as the series went on,” Stuart said reflecting on the series. “Our physicality and conditioning took over.
“Winning on the road is huge in the playoffs.”
One key aspect to the Dynamiters success was their defensive play, they limited the Ghostriders top three scorers (Tyler Witzke, Brandon Nemes, and Kyle Ford) to a combined three assists.
Stuart also added that the penalty kill, which did not allow a single goal the whole series, was another key contributing factor to the series sweep.
It’s the first time in recent history that the Dynamiters have swept rounds one and two in the KIJHL playoffs.
“We are just expecting to win every game that we play,” Stuart said.
They have also won 22 in a row going back to the regular season.
Also, it is the fifth season in a row that the Nitros have advanced to the Kootenay Conference Finals.
With the series now complete, the Nitros wait for the winner of the Nelson Leafs and Beaver Valley Nitehawks series.
“We are going to do our best to take care of our bodies, and prepare for the next series,” Meier said, “And keep our habits good.”
The Kootenay Conference Finals are anticipated to start Tuesday March 19 in Kimberley.