January continued to be a difficult month for the Kimberley Dynamiters as their record went to 2-4 for the month after this past weekend’s games. However, head coach and general manager Derek Stuart is pleased with how is team is performing.
“We are [going] in the right direction,” he said after splitting the Friday and Saturday night games. “There are other ways to win than just on the scoreboard.
“I thought for our group it was a big step forward, getting to the place that we need to be in terms of playing well come playoff time.”
Heading in the right direction started Friday with a convincing 6-2 victory over the Golden Rockets at the Kimberley Civic Centre. Thirteen different players would register a point, including goaltender Cody Call who earned an assist. Five of those players would have a multi-point night, including penalty minute leader, Brandon Langridge.
“It was nice, [we] got a few lucky bounces. Teammates put it on my tap, big credit to them,” Langridge said after the game. “It was a good bounce back game. It was good for the confidence.”
Stuart was impressed by Langridge’s performance.
“He was excellent, Stuart said. “It was good to see him have a good, hardworking, gritty game. We will need that going forward.”
Many of the Dynamiters goals just squeezed through the Rockets goaltender, barely crossing the line at times.
“As a coach, I was glad that we got the goals the way we did tonight.” Stuart said “It was very nice to see them score those kind of goals, and get some greasy goals instead of just the nice ones.”
Cody Lassiter was given more ice-time due to scratched players and Stuart was impressed with how he invested his time.
“He was excellent on the backend getting a lot of ice time filling in on the powerplay. He did a great job.”
Call made 20 saves for his third win of the season.
This was also the first game that the Nitros had their participants in the KIJHL Top Prospects game back, with Caige Sterzer and Harrison Risdon were in the lineup.
Sterzer, however, was ejected just after the eight-minute mark after he took the teams first and second goalie interference penalty. The second goalie interference penalty comes with a game misconduct and a one game suspension. As a result, Sterzer did not participate in the Saturday game against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.
The Cats were relentless against the Dynamiters, always having an answer, but at the same time the Nitros were ready for them.
“I thought [that] was the closest we have been [this season] to playing a full 60 minutes,” Stuart said. “[It] was a good indication of our players sticking with the game plan and focusing on what they had to do for the majority of the game.”
“I’m proud of how hard we battled back every time we fell behind,” alternate captain Franco Colapaolo added. “Even though we didn’t end up with the result we wanted, it really showed our resiliency.”
The Dynamiters levelled the score four times before eventually falling to the Thunder Cats 6-5 with under four minutes left.
“The winning goal [for Creston] was a misplay by our goaltender, and bad luck at the same time,” Stuart said. “I guess you could say the bounces didn’t go our way.”
Nolan Kurylo did his part, along with his linemates Chase Miller and Brandt Bertoia, to make sure the Dynamiters stayed in the game.
“Kurylo played really really well, especially offensively,” the coach said. “He was going to the front of the net again, as he has been when he gets most of his goals.
“Bertoia and Miller were [also] a big part of his goals. That line was our best line offensively.”
The line would accumulate nine points by the end of the night, scoring four of the Nitros five goals.
There were players, though, that did not get on the scoresheet that stood out. Forward-turned-defenceman James Farmer made great strides.
“He took a giant step as a defenceman without the puck,” Stuart said. “He’s learning to do things he didn’t normally have to do as a forward.”
Colapaolo also put in a great game while being kept off the scoresheet. “It was Franco’s best game in awhile. He probably could and should have been rewarded with a point. His work ethic and his desire last night was phenomenal.”
“I try to contribute to my team anyway I can,” Colapaolo said. “One thing I can always bring is my work ethic and I let the rest of my game build off that.”
The team now prepares for three games in three days for the first time this season. On Thursday they travel to Fernie to play the Ghostriders (21-14-1-2), and then Friday they are in Invermere to play the Columbia Valley Rockies (11-25-0-3), before bringing the third game home on Saturday against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats (29-8-1-1).
“This is our first three game weekend of the season and it’ll be a good test for us,” Colapaolo said, “We’ll make sure we do what we need to do to be prepared starting with practice on Monday.”
For up-to-date Kimberley Dynamiter information visit: www.kimberleydynamiters.net/blog and follow Josh on twitter @joshuaklockhart.