It’s all a part of the process.
Jerry Bancks, head coach of the Kimberley Dynamiters, was often quoted about “the process” during his team’s run to the KIJHL championship last season.
With the 2015-16 season well underway, nothing has changed — the Dynamiters continue to win, they sit atop the KIJHL’s Eddie Mountain Division and Bancks continues to stress the process.
“It’s where you are in February that matters the most,” Bancks said Monday. “It takes a while to get the guys there. I thought we showed significant growth this weekend over last weekend and that’s what matters most.”
Faced with six consecutive road games to close the month of September, the Dynamiters earned three of a possible six points during a three-game swing last weekend (Sept. 18 to 20).
This past weekend, five of six points courtesy an overtime loss to the Chase Heat (2-1 on Friday) and wins over the Revelstoke Grizzlies (4-3 on Saturday) and Golden Rockets (5-3 on Sunday) are not only significant in the standings, but represent a promising projection for the club as the calendar flips over to October.
“We might have missed a couple points in the overtimes,” Bancks said. “But if you’d have told me at the start that we’d get eight [points], I’d have been happy with that. When you miss a couple in the overtimes, you know you could’ve had more but it was very successful to come out with eight and now we need to have a good October to keep the momentum going.”
Captain Jason Richter continued to put the puck in the back of the net, tallying his team’s lone goal in Friday’s overtime loss to the Heat.
Saturday in a 4-3 victory over Revelstoke, it was Richter and linemate Eric Buckley fuelling the offense once again, as both registered a goal and an assist. Richter’s marker stood as the game-winner, coming on the power play during the third period of play.
Sunday, the Dynamiters closed out their second consecutive weekend of three games in three nights with a 5-3 victory over the Golden Rockets.
After falling behind 2-0, the Nitros tallied five straight goals — three off the stick of California kid Keenan Haase — to provide the necessary run support as goaltender Mitch Traichevitch claimed his first KIJHL victory.
Haase, who late last week returned to the Dynamiters from the Weyburn Red Wings of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, provided an instant boost with his physicality and nose for the net.
Also making his season debut was defenceman Zach Morey — acquired from the Revelstoke Grizzlies last week.
“Zach was very steady, he did a great job and fit right in with what we kind of represent in terms of making good first passes and trying to play with the puck as opposed to just firing it out of your end,” Bancks said of the 6-foot-2 rearguard. “He dealt well with the physicality of the game. A very heads-up player.”
Buckley was busy once again, setting up three goals in Golden and overtaking Richter for the team and KIJHL scoring lead.
The 5-foot-9 pest is producing at an electrifying rate so far in 2015-16, with 16 points to his name through eight games. Last season, the native of Penticton posted a career-high 43 points in 47 games, so if he continues at this rate, he’s bound to blow those numbers out of the water.
Starting goaltender Tyson Brouwer earned the decisions on Friday and Saturday, while Traichevitch turned aside 23 pucks for the Sunday win.
After six straight road games to close the month of the September, the Dynamiters return home to balance out the schedule, playing five consecutive games in the friendly confines of the Kimberley Civic Centre.
“The process” continues when the Nitros host the Revelstoke Grizzlies Friday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m.