Winning 10 consecutive games in the world of sport is a pretty special feat to accomplish.
With a pair of victories over the 100 Mile House Wranglers and Chase Heat this past weekend, the Dynamiters reached that monumental mark in decisive fashion early in the 2015-16 KIJHL season.
“It’s definitely good and we keep it in the back our heads, but we don’t let it get to us,” said Dynamiters forward Keenan Haase after Sunday’s 8-1 extinguishing of the Chase Heat. “At the end of the day, we still have more games and you’re only as good as your last game. Coming out and getting those wins is huge. We know that this month, we needed to get all the wins we can. We know, later on the year, it’s only going to get tougher.”
Haase, a native of Mission Viejo, Calif., has had a massive impact since returning to the Dynamiters following a quick tour with the Weyburn Red Wings of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
That impact was on full display Saturday as the 6-foot-2, 195-pound forward registered the game-winning goal in a hat-trick performance to fuel the offense in a 5-2 victory over the bruising 100 Mile House Wranglers.
Since his return, Haase has been finding twine in rapid-fire fashion, collecting nine goals and 12 points in 10 games.
“He makes a huge difference. He gives us two legitimate first lines,” said interim head coach Jeff Keiver, who is running the Dynamiters ship while head coach Jerry Bancks is away for personal reasons. “You can see when he’s in front of the net on the power play, the attention that he draws once he gets his shot off once or twice, it gives everyone else out there so much room. [Saturday against 100 Mile House] they were going in for him. He could’ve just as easily had three more [Sunday against Chase]. I know he’s probably the most frustrated guy in the dressing room with all the chances he missed, but other guys picked it up in his place tonight and that’s why we’re such a dangerous team.”
Against the Heat, there was plenty of offense to go around with the Dynamiters finding the back of the net eight times, including five in the second period alone.
Captain Jason Richter tallied twice Sunday afternoon, doing his best to keep pace with league-leading scorer Cole Keebler (15 goals and 30 points) of the Fernie Ghostriders.
Eric Buckley matched Richter, scoring twice himself, while defenceman Jordan Busch and forward Jared Marchi chipped in with three assists each.
In 16 games this season, the 5-foot-8 Richter has collected 15 goals and 28 points.
“Our goal this October is to go undefeated,” Richter said. “We’re doing what we want to do. “We’re getting better as a team as we go on and buying in every night. Jerry [Bancks] and Keivs [Jeff Keiver] are pushing us quite a bit in practice. We’ve got pretty good fans here on home ice, so it’s not hard to get going.”
While the Nitros have strung together 10 consecutive wins overall, they remain undefeated on home ice through eight games to start the 2015-16 season.
The Kimberley Civic Centre has become a notoriously hard building to play in for visiting teams and it’s a factor the Dynamiters use to their advantage night in and night out.
“This isn’t a huge ice surface compared to some new rinks in the city, but compared to some of the barns we play in around the league, this is very big ice,” Keiver said. “Teams that play on small rinks back in their home, they build their teams around that. They’re a bit bigger, they can carry slower ‘D’ men, where as we’re built for more of a speed game.
“When we’re in our own rink, it’s the width, really, that gives a little bit more room on either boards and we’re able to use our skill game, which is definitely one of our strengths.”
It was a weekend of retribution for Keiver’s crew as the Wranglers and Heat served as two of only three clubs to have defeated the Dynamiters to this point in the KIJHL campaign.
On Sept. 18, the Wranglers shutout the Dynamiters 2-0 in 100 Mile House. A week later, the Heat used overtime to edge the Nitros 2-1 in Chase.
As far as Keiver was concerned, that reality was enough motivation for his team to be up and ready to go on home ice this weekend.
Saturday night, Mitch Traichevich earned the start and was steady in turning aside 25 of 27 shots for his third win of the season.
Sunday afternoon, Tyson Brouwer returned to the blue paint, steering away 24 of 25 shots en route to his league-leading 10th victory of the season.
With eight wins in eight games to this point in October, only two contests stand in the way of the Dynamiters running the table this month, as Richter said was a team goal.
The comforts of home won’t be available to close the month as the Dynamiters take their 10-game winning streak and undefeated October record to Golden Tuesday.
“Everyone is just going out and playing hard every night,” Keiver said.
“Playing Golden again, who is still looking for their first win, it’s a different mentality. There are fewer people in the stands in Golden, so you kind of have to build your own energy. That game could be tough.”
Puck drop between the Nitros (13-1-0-2) and Rockets (0-12-0-2) is slated for 7 p.m. Tuesday night at the Golden Arena.
Montana's Cookhouse Three Stars (vs. 100 Mile House):
1) F Keenan Haase, Kimberley Dynamiters2) F Eric Buckley, Kimberley Dynamiters3) F Tyler Povelofskie, 100 Mile House Wranglers
Montana's Cookhouse Three Stars (vs. Chase Heat):
1) F Jason Richter, Kimberley Dynamiters2) F Eric Buckley, Kimberley Dynamiters3) F Austyn Moser, Kimberley Dynamiters
Notes: A handful of multi-point efforts from Dynamiters player over the weekend, including F Trey Deoll (two points), Busch (5A), D Justin Meier (2G, 2A), F Eric Buckley (G, 2A), Marchi (6A), F Austyn Moser (2G), F Sawyer Hunt (G, 2A), F Korbyn Chabot (G, A), Haase (3G, A) and Richter (3G)…