The Kimberley Dynamiters added two more wins to their season and highlighted their status as league leaders over the weekend, defeating Nelson and Creston on Friday and Saturday respectively, all without a single goal scored against them.
Before Friday’s game began, the family of the players were all honoured on the ice; each presented with a single rose as a token of gratitude for all the families do to allow for their kids to compete at this level. It was perhaps a good omen with which to begin the weekend, as the team proceded to defeat Nelson, the second ranked team in the division 5-0.
“It ended up being a statement for sure, but that wasn’t our goal, or wasn’t talked about before,” said head coach Derek Stuart. “We just try to focus on one shift at a time and I told the guys after the game if we won 1-0 we would have been just as pleased because that was as complete a team effort as we’ve had all year.”
What made this victory over a challenging opponent even more impressive was the fact that the Nitros did it with several injured players and two players benched with check to the head penalties.
Ryan Bennett got hurt on the first shift and then Carter Sprint was injured later in the second period. Two other players were hurt but managed to battle through it, and then Easton Jolie and Justin Deeks were benched for 12 minutes for check to the head penalties.
“Our forward group did a really good job. We were down to eight forwards there for a good stretch in the second period. So for them to keep working as hard as they did and then keep playing as well as they did is very impressive and it shows there dedication and character.”
The team showcased their ability to adapt to a difficult situation with so many players off the ice. Stuart noted that another big takeaway from the game was that they won 5-0 without their top scorer Palmer scoring any points. Guys like Cam Russell, Daniel Anton, Mitch Fargey and Cam Reid all chipped in and put points on the board.
“It didn’t matter who they were playing with after those injuries and those penalties happened,” Stuart said. “The guys put their blades on the ice and they just went as hard as they could and played smart.”
“There were times earlier in the year where we were relying on Palmer a little bit too much and that wasn’t going to carry on over the course of the year, it wouldn’t sustain itself,” Stuart continued. “So to see that tonight, to see the other guys chipping in and scoring and to see Palmer and Piva and Saharchuck playing as hard as they did and as gritty as they did was good to see too.”
While such a commanding victory over one of the top teams in the league is without question a big morale booster, Stewart said after Friday’s game that they would simply stick to their strategy of taking games one shift at a time.
“That’s what we’re trying to do, just focus on what’s happening right now so we’re not even going to think about Creston until we wake up tomorrow and then kind of slowly throughout the day get prepared for them and Golden’s a long ways away so we’re just going to enjoy this for the next few hours and get ready for Creston in the morning.”
And the strategy paid off. While Saturday’s game may not have been as dramatic and exciting for the fans at the Civic Centre, it’s hard to poke holes in another shutout, as the Nitros sent Creston packing after a 4-0 finish.
Their next game is against Golden at the Civic Centre on Tuesday, Nov. 26 — a make up for the cancelled game on Saturday, Oct. 5. All season tickets dated for that game will be honoured on Tuesday.