It doesn’t take much to spark a rivalry and when two teams play one another twice in one calendar week, that sort of scheduling certainly helps stoke the fire.
For the second time in seven days, the Kimberley Dynamiters (32-5-0-4) host the Columbia Valley Rockies (23-17-0-0) at the Kimberley Civic Centre, with a Friday evening puck drop slated for 7 p.m.
While the Dynamiters and Rockies meet regularly as Eddie Mountain Division opponents, the rivalry that exists isn’t typically regarded on the same level as that which rages between the likes of the Nitros and the Fernie Ghostriders, or even the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.
But this season, that is quickly changing and one might point to last Friday when the Rockies handed the Dynamiters a 5-2 defeat on home ice.
“I’m hoping I don’t have to say anything,” said Jerry Bancks, head coach of the Kimberley Dynamiters. “They know how disappointed the coaching staff was and you could see how disappointed [the players] were in themselves.
“That’s the beauty of it — we get them again. And it’s the last time we them before possibly playing them in the playoffs. So we’ll see how the guys respond.”
The 5-2 victory for the Invermere-based Rockies was a long time coming. The last time Columbia Valley claimed two points from the Dynamiters was in the early stages of the 2014-15 season — a 3-2 triumph Oct. 24, 2014, in Invermere.
The 2015-16 campaign has a been a campaign of returns for the Rockies.
In fact, the Eddie Mountain Division’s fourth-place squad has already clinched a playoff spot just one season removed from a fifth-place finish that saw the club go 12-34-0-6. The last time the Rockies qualified for the KIJHL post-season was during 2013-14, in which they squeaked into fourth with a 13-28-3-8 record.
Though the Rockies once again find themselves fourth in the Eddie Mountain Division, they’re a much more competitive outfit this time around, having already posted 23 victories this season.
Should the playoffs begin today, the Dynamiters and Rockies would be pitted head-to-head in a seven-game, first-round match up.
But with nearly a month remaining on the KIJHL calendar, plenty can change in the middle of the division, with the Rockies (46 points) working to keep pace with the third-place Ghostriders (23-13-0-4, 50 points) and second-place Thunder Cats (24-12-1-2, 51 points).
Though the Eddie Mountain Division’s four playoff teams are confirmed, everything else remains to be determined.
What fans can be certain of, with the Rockies return to hard-nosed, feisty competitiveness, there isn’t going to be an easy first-round opponent for the Kimberley Dynamiters.
Friday night at the Kimberley Civic Centre could easily serve as a preview.
Following Friday’s rematch with the Rockies, the Dynamiters move on to host the Creston Valley Thunder Cats Tuesday evening (7 p.m.) at the Civic Centre.