Nitros push Fernie to brink of elimination

Kimberley leads series 3-1 and can close it out on Monday night on home ice.

The Kimberley Dynamiters are one game away from heading into the next round of the KIJHL playoffs.

Fernie picked up a 3-1 win on Friday in Kimberley, but the Dynamiters won the rematch in Fernie on Saturday in overtime.

Kimberley now leads the series 3-1 and have a chance to close it out on home ice on Monday night.

Down 3-2 heading into the final minute on Saturday night in Fernie, Bryce Perpelitz scored a clutch goal with 10 seconds left on the clock to tie the game and force overtime.

Tristan Pagura was the overtime hero, ending the game at 3:31 of the extra frame.

Fernie jumped ahead to an early first-period lead on a goal from Kale Johnston and a powerplay marker from Dylan Robertson.

The Riders padded their lead in the second frame on a goal from Josh Oderlein, before Kimberley cut into the lead with a powerplay goal from Tyler Garcia.

Garcia notched his second of the game after the halfway mark of the final frame, setting up an exciting finish as Nitros goaltender Jeremy Mousseau headed to the bench for the extra attacker with 1:40 remaining on the scoreboard.

Mousseau made 20 saves during the game, while Phoenix Logan-Hill turned awe 32 shots for Fernie.

Both teams scored once on the powerplay; Kimberley had five chances with the man advantage, while Fernie had four.

The contest also featured the return of Kimberley captain Darren Martin and Fernie forward Aiden Geiger, both of who were suspended for three games for a staged fight in the final meeting of the regular season.

The night before, on Friday, Kimberley dropped the only game of the series so far after a stellar performance from Logan-Hill helped Fernie to a 3-1 win.

In a pre-game ceremony, Perpelitz was honoured with the Eddie Mountain Division defenceman of the year award.

Perpelitz had nine goals and 22 assists in 37 games with the Nitros this year, making him the team’s highest scoring defenceman.

“It means quite a bit as a 19-year-old playing, moving on after this, going to school and all that—I think it means a lot,” said Perpelitz.

“I think I’m more proud of my teammates right now, keeping the playoffs alive right now, and I couldn’t have done it without them.”

After losing the first two games of the series, Fernie came out with some jump and Ben Primeau scored the first goal on a tough Kimberley giveaway in the neutral zone.

In the second period, a controversial icing call was made on Kimberley. Fernie won the face-off in Nitro territory and Spencer Bender promptly made it 2-0 for the Riders.

Kimberley got on the board in the third period on a powerplay goal, with Garcia feeding Pagura, who sniped the short side top corner to make it a one-goal game.

However, five minutes later, JJ Beitel restored the two-goal lead, which Fernie rode to the win.

Logan-Hill was unbeatable, making 43 saves for the win while Dynamiters netminder Mousseau made 19 saves.

Both teams had five chances with the man advantage; Kimberley scored once, and shut out Fernie on all their powerplay opportunities.

“We had the momentum of the game, the whole game,” said Perpelitz, “we just didn’t have any puck luck going for us. We had it in their end the whole game and we fought through it, just couldn’t bury so it’s a tough loss.”