The Kimberley Dynamiters opened the 2014 KIJHL pre-season with a resounding 6-1 home-ice victory over the Columbia Valley Rockies Wednesday night at the Kimberley Civic Centre.
The Dynamiters sent four pucks past Rockies goaltender Patrick Ostermann during the first period of play, and that was all the home team needed to claim victory in the first exhibition game of the season.
“We played well in our own zone. We started to put some systems in and they started to show,” said Dynamiters head coach Jerry Bancks following the win. “I think it showed all night long, with the shots on goal, that we were playing good on defence.”
Jason Richter opened the scoring for the Nitros early in the first period, sparking a barrage from the home squad. All the Rockies could do was sit helplessly and watch as the hosts used speed and skill to burn through the defence, opening a 4-0 lead before the conclusion of the first frame.
In addition to Richter, Tyson Klingspohn also made his way to the scoresheet in the first period. The two returning forwards finished second and third, respectively, in team scoring last season.
“One of the keys in this whole league is to get good, older guys that are good on and off the ice, and provide good leadership for the younger kids,” Bancks said. “I’ve got that in spades this year.”
Keenan Haase registered two goals in his Dynamiters debut, proving to be both a physical and offensive force for the home team.
Haase, the 18-year-old KIJHL rookie from Mission Viejo, Calif., was dominant at both ends of the rink, showing fans exactly why general manager Dave Smith took a flyer on bringing the 6-foot-2 forward all the way up to Kimberley from south of the border.
“It’s definitely a relief getting the first goal there,” Haase said Wednesday night. “Definitely just got the monkey off my back to start off with.”
Tyson Brouwer was nearly flawless, turning in a winning effort featuring 16 saves. Matt Bruyer’s second-period backhand was the only shot to sneak through the returning goaltender.
Ostermann got the start in net for the Rockies, surrendering six goals in approximately 30 minutes of crease time. The 17-year-old Ostermann eventually gave way to Alex Hinsche midway through the second period. Hinsche was perfect through the remainder of the contest, but with no support on offense, it didn’t matter.
Kimberley outshot Columbia Valley 39-17.
The Dynamiters travel to Fernie to face the Ghostriders Friday night at 7:30 p.m. before returning home Saturday night to host those same Ghostriders. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. at the Kimberley Civic Centre on Saturday night.
Coach Bancks expects to roll a few different lineup combinations over the course of the weekend as the team is still working to pare down the roster from where it currently stands at 27.
“This is going to be a really, really tough couple of weeks,” Bancks said. “We’re going to have to let go some really good hockey players. That’s going to be a tough thing.
“Anytime you go into the Fernie [Memorial Arena], it’s a smaller rink. There’s less room. It will let us know whether they are ready for the physical side of the game.”
The Rockies return to Invermere to host the Sicamous Eagles Friday night at 7:30 p.m. before visiting the Eagles Saturday night in Sicamous.
The Nitros will close out the KIJHL pre-season against the Rockies, traveling to Invermere Sept. 8 for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop.