There’s no place like home for the Kimberley Dynamiters.
Following six consecutive games away from the Kimberley Civic Centre, the defending KIJHL champions returned home to find it just as friendly as when they left, skating to a pair of victories this past weekend.
Friday night, the Nitros scored an explosive victory, defeating the Revelstoke Grizzlies 4-3 in overtime.
Saturday, a 5-2 triumph over the Columbia Valley Rockies vaulted the Dynamiters to the top of the KIJHL standings.
“Happy with the second win, the first win not so much,” said Jerry Bancks, head coach of the Kimberley Dynamiters Monday afternoon.
“[Saturday] we played more as a team and supported each other better…Everybody seemed to buy in and it was much better.”
Friday night saw the Dynamiters and Grizzlies go back and forth over three periods in a game that featured no shortage of fireworks.
During the third period of play, a heavy hit from burly Dynamiters blueliner George Bertoia sparked what can only be classified as a good, ole-fashioned line brawl.
The two teams combined for 88 penalty minutes at that one stoppage in play, as Bertoia and Austyn Moser were thrown from the game, along with Grizzlies defenceman Nicholas Higgs and forward Steven Flust.
Flust engaged in two scraps during the mêlée and as a result, was slapped with a two-game suspension by the league.
If the fisticuffs weren’t enough to get fans riled up on a Friday night, the finish took care of the rest.
Trailing 3-2 with time winding down, Nitros forward Korbyn Chabot knotted the game 3-3 with less than a minute remaining in regulation before Keenan Haase completed the comeback with a power-play effort 1:24 into the extra period.
Goaltender Mitch Traichevich turned aside 29 shots to claim his second victory of the season, while the Dynamiters man advantage executed expertly, going 4-for-5.
“The veterans got the job done,” Bancks said of the man advantage.
“They’re starting to learn exactly what we want from them and doing what they need to do.”
Saturday night, a more complete performance from the Dynamiters showed on the scoreboard as the hosts cruised to a 5-2 victory over their Eddie Mountain Division rivals from Invermere.
Nitros forward Eric Buckley continued his torrid start to the season, tallying twice and adding an assist in the win over the Rockies.
The 20-year-old native of Penticton now has five goals and 19 points through 10 games, leading both the Dynamiters and KIJHL in scoring.
“He’s doing what we ask. He’s staying disciplined — he’s not getting himself in the box for 10 minutes or running at goalies or anything like that,” Bancks said of Buckley. “He’s doing what he needs to do and he’s a very skilled hockey player.
“He would definitely like to see himself get down to the States and play some college hockey. He knows this is his last kick at the cat, so he came back with a great attitude and he’s totally bought in to everything.”
Kick-started by Buckley, the Nitros built a 5-0 lead before the Rockies tallied twice late in the game to make it close.
Tyson Brouwer returned to the crease, making 24 saves for his fifth win of the campaign.
The Dynamiters are back in action with another pair of home games this weekend, hosting the Creston Valley Thunder Cats Friday and Grand Forks Border Bruins Saturday.