The Kimberley Dynamiters and Revelstoke Grizzlies split the opening weekend of the 2019 KIJHL Finals, a rematch of the 2018 KIJHL Finals.
Game One was played at the Kimberley Civic Centre in front of 1,524 fans.
The Nitros appeared to be in slow motion in the first period. The Grizzlies capitalized on that, and Cody Flann scored on the power play. silencing the large Nitro’s crowd.
The second period was scoreless.
In the third, the Grizzlies took a 2-0 lead with an early goal by Ryan Bedard. This was the first time in these playoffs that the Nitros trailed by two.
Keegan Mcdowell cut into the lead, giving the Nitros 14 minutes and 44 seconds to tie the game.
The Dynamiters couldn’t solve Liam McGarva, and the Grizzlies continue to remain undefeated on the road, now going 8-0.
“I really liked our second and third period. I didn’t like our first period at all.” Dynamiters head coach and general manager said. “That’s three games in a row. It’s probably about time that that’s caught up to us and cost us a hockey game.”
Grizzlies head coach and general manager Ryan Parent simply said, “We won.” Then he added, “I feel [the game tonight] went well, on our end of it.
“It’s one small piece. I don’t read a lot into it, it is just one hockey game.”
History doesn’t always predict the future, but, the last time the Nitros repeated a final appearance, they lost game one, and then eventually lost to the 100 Mile House Wranglers. Do keep in mind, that series was a 2-3-2 due to travel, instead of the typical 2-2-1-1-1.
This is the first time the Nitros have lost game one in a series since losing the 2017 Kootenay Conference Finals to the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.
The last time that the Nitros lost game one and then won a series was in 2015. The Nitros lost the first game of the playoffs, game one round one to the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, and then went on to win the 2015 KIJHL Title.
The last time Revelstoke won a game one and then lost a series, was in 2017 against the Chase Heat.
Moving on to Game Two, 1,204 attended.
The Dynamiters have not lost back to back games all season, and it was not about to start in game two.
Ryan Skytt opened the scoring, in similar fashion to how they were scored against in game one. Early and on the power play.
Braiden Koran made it 2-nothing before the first period was complete.
The Dynamiters kept pressing. Erik Delaire made it 3-nothing on the power play. Then seconds later Neil Kingston made it 4-0.
When a team is having a bad game, you can’t pull the team, you can only pull the goalie. Liam McGarva, arguably the best goalie in the Okanagan Conference was pulled, and Noah Desouza entered the crease.
The Grizzlies did end Brett Andersons bid for a shutout as Raymond Speerbrecker scored on the power play.
The Grizzlies pulled their goalie, and controlled the play, but the Nitros held on and won 4-1.
“The start was the key,” Stuart said, “we wanted to focus on. I thought that was our best first period probably since the Fernie series.”
“I’m not happy with the result, obviously.” Parent said. “We are going to have to take a good look at the game and dissect it.”
The series now shifts to Revelstoke for Games Three and Four on Monday and Tuesday.
The series will return to Kimberley for Game Five on Thursday.