Dynamiters forward Austyn Moser (#17) chases down Thunder Cats defenceman Sebastian Kilcommons (#19) during second period action at the Kimberley Civic Centre Saturday night.

Dynamiters forward Austyn Moser (#17) chases down Thunder Cats defenceman Sebastian Kilcommons (#19) during second period action at the Kimberley Civic Centre Saturday night.

KIJHL: Dynamiters edge Thunder Cats in double-overtime thriller

Jordan Busch plays role of hero as Kimberley Dynamiters take Game 1 in best-of-seven division final with Creston Valley Thunder Cats

On two separate occasions, Jordan Busch nearly ended overtime Saturday night at the Kimberley Civic Centre.

Thankfully for the Kimberley Dynamiters, he avoided that outcome on the first go around, but made good on the second.

First, Busch bobbled an outlet pass in his own end of the rink, leading to a glorious scoring opportunity for the Creston Valley Thunder Cats that goaltender Tyson Brouwer managed to keep out of the net.

“Man, [Brouwer] is unreal,” Busch said Saturday night. “I coughed up the puck and I’m looking back, saying, ‘Oh no…’ He comes up with a big save. He’s huge. We need a goalie like that and he’s the one.”

Second, to repay his goaltender and make up for a near-costly gaff, the veteran defenceman sent a long point shot through a maze of legs into the back of the Creston net to propel his team to a 2-1 double overtime victory in Game 1 of the Eddie Mountain Division final.

“You maybe think about it every now and then — what if I score that big goal? But when it happens, I didn’t even know what to think,” Busch said. “There are no words. It’s huge. I was definitely pretty excited about that one.

“Taking Game 1, getting ahead at the start of a series is a huge confidence booster for us. But we don’t want to get too high or too low.”

The win gives the top-seeded Dynamiters a 1-0 series lead over the underdog Thunder Cats, with Game 2 set for Sunday (7 p.m.) at the Kimberley Civic Centre.

Busch’s double-overtime winner came 5:37 into the second extra period after the Creston Valley Thunder Cats and Kimberley Dynamiters treated 958 enthusiastic fans to a tightly-contested, exciting night.

After falling behind the Thunder Cats 1-0 courtesy a Liam Plunkett tally in the first period, Dynamiters forward Jared Marchi knotted the affair with a power-play goal in the second. The rest of the scoring is history, as they say, while both Brock Lefebvre (25 saves) and Tyson Brouwer (28 saves) shone between the pipes.

“First of all, that’s a very good team,” said Jerry Bancks, head coach of the Kimberley Dynamiters, in regards to the Thunder Cats. “Tonight’s game should have been videotaped by the KIJHL to show what happens when two coaches care, implement systems and players buy into it. That’s what the KIJHL should look like.

“I tip my hat to their team…It was very entertaining and it’s the way the KIJHL should want hockey to be, in my opinion.”

While Bancks’ crew came out on top at the end of more than 75 minutes of entertaining hockey Saturday night, the early stages of the game provided a script that looked as if the visiting Thunder Cats might come out victorious when the final page was turned.

The two teams exchanged grade ‘A’ scoring opportunities midway through a fast-paced first period and it was the Thunder Cats cashing in first.

Grant Iles played the roll of setup man, throwing the puck towards the blue paint where a driving Liam Plunkett was Johnny-on-the-spot, sliding the rebound past a helpless Brouwer for a 1-0 Creston lead.

After Plunkett opened the scoring, the Thunder Cats carried a 1-0 advantage through 20 minutes of play and continued to press the issue to start the second period.

It took a delay of game penalty by defenceman Sebastian Kilcommons to spark a bit of life into the host Nitros.

After the Thunder Cats defender sent the puck out of play, only 10 seconds elapsed before a bang-bang play from Eric Buckley to Marchi found a conclusion in the back of the Creston net to tie the game 1-1.

From there, what fans were witness to was nothing short of a chess game as both teams did well to match the opponent, rush for rush, hit for hit, opportunity for opportunity.

“It’s one of those where we came in and did enough to win,” said Jeff Dubois, head coach and general manager of the Thunder Cats, following Saturday’s Game 1 defeat. “We were pretty good through 40 minutes, maybe gave up a bit more than we wanted to in the third. It’s kind of a roll of the dice in overtime.

“First game of a series, we knew it was going to be tough to come in here and win… We’ll take another crack at it [Sunday] night.”

With how tight the checking was after 40 minutes were in the books, the third period may as well have served as an overtime session.

The first overtime period provided more of the same.

The opening half of the 10 minutes of extra hockey saw the Thunder Cats with the early jump though no pay day resulted.

First, Logan Styler forced a turnover deep in Kimberley territory before dancing in to the side of Brouwer’s net, only to have the door slammed shut at the last moment.

At the other end, Lefebvre was forced to be at his best during the first overtime as well.

The lively Civic Centre end boards propelled a dump-in back towards the slot where Graham Dugdale was waiting, only to have his effort deflected over the Creston net and out of play.

That seemed to turn the tide in favour of the home team as Austyn Moser forced a turnover at centre ice to send Trevor Van Steinburg and Brodie Buhler in 2-on-1.

Again, Lefebvre was on the money and there to make the save.

Next, it was Buckley stripping a Creston defender at his own blueline, turning the play the other direction. Keenan Haase picked up the loose puck and drove the net hard, but again, Lefebvre held the fort.

“He gave us exactly what we expect,” Dubois said of his goaltender. “I don’t think we made him work. I don’t think tonight was a 9/10 or 10/10 in terms of difficulty, but there were a couple of real key saves he made… We’re spoiled with Brock because we expect that every night and we get that most nights. We also know that he’s phenomenal bouncing back from a loss.”

Both teams will need to bounce back from what was a long night in the opening game of a best-of-seven series with Game 2 set for 7 p.m. Sunday evening at the Kimberley Civic Centre.

“I think we learned to respect how offensively skilled they are and that you can’t make mistakes,” Bancks said. “As the game wore on, we were making less mistakes — better reads, better high guys — I thought we grew as a team as the game wore on.

“The most resilient team will win [Game 2].”

While the outcome remains to be seen, what fans can be certain of is the fact this series is ramping up to be an absolute doozy — and it has only just begun.

Just Posted

City council deferred moving forward on a proposed development in Wildstone, requesting a meeting with the developer to get clarification on project details. Photo submitted.
Cranbrook city council debates proposed Wildstone development

Cranbrook city council held off on moving forward with a proposed apartment… Continue reading

Interior Health is reporting a COVID-19 exposure at Selkirk Secondary in Kimberley. Bulletin file.
COVID-19 case identified at Selkirk Secondary in Kimberley

Interior Health is conducting contact tracing

Cranbrook Arts will finally open the doors to their brand new gallery space on Friday, June 18th, 2021 at 4pm. To see what is behind these doors, be sure to check out the exhibit, Kootenay's Best, running until Labour Day weekend. (Cranbrook Arts file)
Cranbrook Arts’ inaugural exhibit, Kootenay’s Best, opens this Friday

The exhibit features over 50 Kootenay-based artists and will run until Labour Day Weekend

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

Calvin Dickson photo.
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for East Kootenay

Conditions favourable for the development of thunderstorms, hail and heavy rain

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers tested more than 230 commonly used cosmetics and found that 56% of foundations and eye products, 48% of lip products and 47% of mascaras contained high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus students Ethan Reid, from left, Brenden Higgins, Ty Oviatt, Kaleb Alphonse, Nathan Kendrick and Landon Brink with RCMP officers Const. Nicoll and Const. Stancec. (Photo submitted)
RCMP thank 6 teens for helping prevent forest fire in Williams Lake

The students came across fire in a wooded area and used the water they had to try and extinguish the flames

There is an emergency shelter near the Golden Ears peaks. (Facebook/Special to The News)
Hiker fogged in on Golden Ears, spends 2 nights

Talon Helicopters, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue bring him home Monday

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-week-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

Most Read