There will be a first-place face-off Friday night in Fernie as the Kimberley Dynamiters visit the Ghostriders for the first time in the 2014-15 KIJHL regular season.
“That’s exactly what it is, a measuring stick,” said Dynamiters head coach Jerry Bancks Thursday afternoon. “We haven’t seen them yet this year.
“We need to see where we’re at and how we stack up against them. It’s a good time of year to do it. It would have been nicer to have played them earlier in the year, but this is early enough we can see where we’re at and see what we need to do to move forward.”
The Nitros are coming off another contentious Eddie Mountain Division battle, having gotten past the Golden Rockets 6-4 last Saturday.
With only one point separating Kimberley and Fernie the Dynamiters and Ghostriders will go head to head six times between Friday night and Dec. 29. If that doesn’t help fuel an already fiery rivalry, the race for the Eddie Mountain Division title most certainly will.
“[Fernie Memorial Arena] has a really good atmosphere and I would say, of the road rinks [in the KIJHL], it’s probably our favourite to play in,” Bancks added. “That works a little bit to our advantage and we have a lot of people that usually head down [to Fernie] from Kimberley and Cranbrook to cheer us on. That’s nice and I hope they show up again tomorrow.”
With goaltender Tyson Brouwer still on the shelf, the duties fall to one of Liam McBain and Brett Reader this weekend. With a Saturday night game back home against the Princeton Posse, Bancks believes he will split the starts between the two fresh-faced rookies.
The two teams met twice during pre-season play, with the Dynamiters earning a 5-2 home victory Sept. 5. The very next night in Fernie, the two teams battled to a 3-3 draw.