The start of February has been remarkably different for the Kimberley Dynamiters compared to last month.
The Nitros opened the month on Friday with a wild 7-6 win over the Fernie Ghostriders, followed by a convincing 4-0 win over the Golden Rockets on Saturday.
Despite the wins, head coach and general manager Derek Stuart is still worried about consistency.
Against Fernie, the Dynamiters came out strong in the first 20 minutes, taking a 2-1 lead with goals by Nolan Kurylo and Nic Herringer. However, during the second they went flat and the ‘Riders took a 3-2 lead.
“I liked our first period. I don’t know what happened in the first intermission for us to come out flat in the second,” Stuart said. “The third period we were back to playing how we can.”
Fans needed to fasten their seatbelts for the third period.
The ‘Riders doubled the Nitros early in the period, 4-2, with a power play goal. Then in a span of 70 seconds, Brandt Bertoia scored an unassisted short-handed goal. Then Brandon Langridge and Matt Davies scored. KABOOM, it was 5-4 for the Nitros.
Langridge would then score his second of the game on a power play, making it 6-4 with just over seven minutes left. The game felt secure for the 613 Dynamiters faithful in attendance.
The Ghostriders, however, had plans of their own and scored two goals in 38 seconds to level the game at six. Before anyone could even whisper the word ‘overtime’ Langridge scored his hat-trick goal. T eventual game winner was potted a mere 13 seconds after the ‘Riders had tied the game.
“From a coaching standpoint, it was almost comical what was going on,” Stuart said. “Mistakes everywhere, goals everywhere. Penalties that weren’t penalties, calls that should’ve been made that weren’t called.
“I really don’t know how to explain what happened out there, especially in the third period. For the fans it was definitely entertaining bus as a staff we would rather have three periods like we had in the first.”
Langridge was named the home star of the game, and his coach sang his praises at the end of the night.
“He’s getting rewarded because of his gritty work,” Stuart said. “He’s one of the guys that is playing consistently [well].
“[Langrodge] is a great example of someone who has been doing what we ask, keeping things simple and playing a gritty game. Hopefully, it catches on with some of the other players.”
As for his take, Langridge felt fortunate to have put away so many goals.“It [was] nice feeling,” he said. “All three squeezed by. Throw it on net, good things happen.”
Langridge’s consistency appeared to catch on with the other players when they headed to Golden to play the Rockets.
The Dynamiters paced themselves for 50 shots throughout the game and scored a goal in each period. In the first, Cooper Page scored his first goal as a Dynamiter.
The Nitros withheld the fight-back by the Rockets in the middle frame after Kurylo scored early in the frame giving the Dynamiters a 2-0.
In the third, it started getting gritty. Herringer scored the Nitros third goal, and then 58 minutes worth of penalties ensued. Page scored his second of the game into the empty net securing the Dynamiters 4-0 win.
Cody Campbell would earn his third shutout of the season, making 31 saves. Throughout the weekend, he put up 48 saves on 54 shots.
“I know we didn’t have the best month, but we are starting to come around now,” Kurylo said. “We will be coming in hot into the playoffs.”
The Dynamiters are now 2-0 in February and only have three games left. They travel to Golden this Friday and then host the Spokane Braves on Saturday.
MATCH STICKS: Kurylo was named the Kimberley Dynamiters Player of the Month for January. He scored six goals and 13 assists in nine games. He was also named the KIJHL Player of the Month for January. Chase Miller received an honorable mention for the KIJHL Player of the Month. Harrison Risdon has been suspended for two games for kneeing. Caige Sterzer, James Rota and Miller remain sidelined with injury.