With four consecutive wins in the bag, the Kimberley Dynamiters look to maintain a second-place perch in the Eddie Mountain Division when they visit the Osoyoos Coyotes — the top team in the KIJHL — Friday night.
“It’ll be a good test for us,” said Dynamiters head coach Jerry Bancks of Friday’s tilt. “I’d like to have our whole team, but it will be good for the younger players to play against [the Coyotes] again and to pick up their pace and try to adapt to it. That will only help you moving forward.”
Despite seeing forwards Sawyer Hunt and Jordan Roy return from injury, Bancks still has a bevy of players in bandages heading into the weekend.
Defenceman Jordan Busch and forward Eric Buckley remain day-to-day heading into the weekend and defenceman Jonas Gordon is also inching closer to action. Forward Marco Campanella remains a few weeks out.
The Coyotes and Nitros last met Oct. 31 in Kimberley — a 4-0 victory for the visitors from Osoyoos. Forward Jackson DeMatos led the Coyotes with a goal and an assist that night, while goaltender Lawrence Langan was perfect, turning aside 19 shots for the shutout.
From Osoyoos on Friday, the Dynamiters then carry on to Armstrong where they will face the North Okanagan Knights — the lowest-ranked team in the KIJHL — Saturday.
“They’re improving as a team,” Bancks said of the Knights. “You don’t want to take them lightly, as Fernie found out [Tuesday in a 5-3 loss to the Columbia Valley Rockies]. You don’t take anybody lightly. You don’t look at the standings. You’ve got to play every night.”
The Knights have battled to a 5-31-1-3 mark this season and have lost seven consecutive games. The last time the two teams met, the Nitros cruised to an 8-2 victory Oct. 26 in Kimberley.
Busch led the push, with one goal and two assists in the win.
After the weekend on the road, the Dynamiters get a five-day break before hosting the Rockies Jan. 23.