On Friday, captain Ryan Hozjan said he wanted the Kimberley Dynamiters to show that they were a road team and they did just that this weekend.
The team took their winning streak on the road to Castlegar on Friday where they beat the Rebels 6-1, before dropping a close game on Saturday in Invermere losing 3-2 to the Columbia Valley Rockies.
Outside of being scored on first, it was all Dynamiters in Castlegar. The game was knotted for 40 minutes, and then saw an offensive burst by the Nitros in the third period.
“The first nine minutes of the third period was our best attacking hockey,” said head coach and general manager Derek Stuart. “They showed their potential as a team, I hope the players realize that.”
Matt Davies gave the Nitros a 2-1 lead early in the third frame. Brandt Bertoia followed that up 90 seconds later with a goal of his own. Then Korbyn Chabot’s individual effort two minutes later put the Nitros up 4-1. Seventeen seconds later, Davies added his second, and the Nitros fifth of the game.
Chabot then added the exclamation mark — a sixth goal — as he scored his second of the game with 56 seconds left to play.
At the end of the night, two Nitros had a four-point game: James Farmer, who had one goal and three assists and Chabot who had two goals and two assists.
In net, Mitch Traichevich, the away star of the game, made 34 saves for the win.
“Mitch gave us a chance to win, just as he has done before,” Stuart said.
The Dynamiters returned home around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday from Castlegar. Slept, and then went at it again that night against the Columbia Valley Rockies.
“We told the players to not let their minds tell them that they are tired,” Stuart said. “Give us one good shift at a time, and rest while on the bench, then give us another good effort.”
For the Dynamiter fans, expectations were high heading into a game against the lower seeded Rockies.
“As a coaching staff, we prepare the team the same regardless of who we are playing.”
However, maybe it was the bus legs, maybe it was the mental fatigue, or maybe it was the desire to be flashy against a team lower than them in the standings, but the winning streak came to an end in Invermere, as an elated Rockies downed the Nitro’s 3-2, with three unanswered goals in a short window of time.
The Kimberley Dynamiters did have an abundance of opportunities to change the outcome of the game, but couldn’t finish their chances.
“Yes, we had 50 shots, but by my count, we had 16 scoring chances and didn’t finish them,” Stuart said, adding that he felt that the team didn’t play a full 60-minutes. “A lot of the goals scored against us came on mistakes and lacklustre play.”
California native Ruslan Katsnelson was in net for the Nitros and made 17 saves in his first, and the Dynamiters second, loss of the season.
Despite scoring eight goals in the two games, the Dynamiters power play — the once deadly and a staple of the Dynamiters attack — continues to be a struggle this season. They scored one out of nine on Friday and were one for six on Saturday. Currently, it sits at 15th in the league at 14 percent efficiency.
Stuart, however, is optimistic.
“Our power play is still working on knowing what options are available.”
All things considered, Stuart feels that this weekend’s results are to be expected from such a young squad— the Dynamiters have 13 rookies on their roster — and that it was a learning experience.
The Dynamiters took Monday off from practice, as they rested up for another two-game out-of-division weekend road trip to Spokane on Friday and then Grand Forks on Saturday.
MATCH STICKS: Bryce Salverda and Connor Kendall remain sidelined due to injuries.
For up-to-date Kimberley Dynamiter information visit: www.kimberleydynamiters.net/blog. Also follow Josh on twitter @joshuaklockhart.