On the heels of two blow-out wins, the Kimberley Dynamiters face a pair of all-important Eddie Mountain divisional tilts this weekend.
Friday night, the Nitros travel to Golden for a rematch with the Rockets (7-4-0-1). Fuelled by a stellar performance from goaltender Magnus Viberg, the Rockets put an end to the Dynamiters season-opening six-game winning streak when the two squads last met in Golden Oct. 4.
Following Friday’s road contest, the Dynamiters return home Saturday to host the Creston Valley Thunder Cats (4-5-0-1).
“All your divisional games are extremely crucial,” said Dynamiters head coach Jerry Bancks Wednesday afternoon. “It’s hard to get the guys to bear down early in the year, but it’s a lot nicer when you can get your wins early in the year and maybe get a little rest at the end of the year if you happen to get a playoff spot sewn up.”
The Dynamiters are the second highest-scoring club in the KIJHL heading into the weekend, with 53 goals in the bank through 10 games. Only the Osoyoos Coyotes, with 70 goals, have scored more than the Nitros.
The Dynamiters production has come throughout the lineup, with five players having already eclipsed the double-digit mark in terms of points. Forwards Tyson Klingspohn (15 points), Coy Prevost (13), Jason Richter (11), Marco Campanella (11) and defenceman Jordan Busch (11) are all on the north side of double-digit production, while a handful of teammates nip at their heels. Not a surprise, the Osoyoos Coyotes are the only team with more double-digit producers this early in the season, with nine. The Princeton Posse and Golden Rockets are the only other clubs that can boast balanced scoring similar to that of the Nitros.
“Very rarely do you have this opportunity [as a coach],” Bancks said. “The balance is difficult. We’d like to stick with what we’re doing. We have four lines that can score…We don’t have a first line and we don’t have a fourth line. We have four lines that can play.
“It’s going to be tough. There are some egos that maybe get bumped a little bit, but that’s just the way it is right now.”
Perhaps the most telling tale lies in the fact only one of Bancks’ troops has registered multiple game-winning goals. With eight wins in the books, Bancks has benefitted from six different players scoring the big goal when it matters most. Only Jordan Roy has tallied two game-winning markers.
While the team’s offensive output jumps off the scoresheet as an obvious factor for its early success, not forgotten is the play of workhorse Tyson Brouwer. The 19-year-old puckstopper has started all 10 of the Nitros games this season, facing 271 shots along the way. Only one goaltender in the KIJHL has handled a bigger workload. Rebels netminder Patrick Zubick has started 13 games in Castelgar.
If the Dynamiters are to catch the Fernie Ghostriders (8-1-0-1) atop the Eddie Mountain Division standings, continued contribution throughout the lineup is going to be what gets them there. For now, the focus remains on fending off the third-place Rockets and fourth-place Thunder Cats.
The Dynamiter and Ghostriders will meet for this first time this regular season Nov. 7 in Fernie.