The month of the November and life on the road have not been kind to the Kimberley Dynamiters.
Through nine games in November, the Nitros have struggled to a 2-6-1-0 mark, sliding into third place in the Eddie Mountain Division.
While remaining dominant at home, proven by the team’s record of 10-2-0-1 at the Kimberley Civic Centre, the Dynamiters have struggled to a 3-8-1-1 mark on the road.
A 5-3 road loss to the Golden Rockets Friday night put another ding in the Dynamiters’ road record as Rockets goaltender Magnus Viberg turned in a strong performance to shut down the visitors.
The following night, the Nitros battled the Fernie Ghostriders to a 4-4 draw, once again on the road.
Despite only grabbing one of a possible four points over the weekend, head coach Jerry Bancks believes his squad can build upon a gutsy effort that saw the Nitros battle back against the Ghostriders after surrendering a two-goal advantage.
“It feels like a win,” Bancks said Monday afternoon. “On the road in Fernie. Third game in three nights after getting home from Golden quite late. I thought it was a good, character, come-from-behind win, basically.
“I thought, going down the stretch, we outworked [the Ghostriders], which was good.”
The Dynamiters received stellar performances from captain Jason Richter, Coy Prevost, Jared Marchi and goaltender Tyson Brouwer in keeping the Ghostriders grounded Saturday night.
After falling behind 4-3 early in the the third period, Richter knotted the game with a mere 14 seconds remaining in regulation. With the game-tying goal, Richter extended his point streak to five games (6G, 1A).
Offensively, 17-year-old Prevost chipped in with a goal and an assist, while Jared Marchi found the net twice and added a helper.
Between the pipes, Brouwer recorded 30 saves.
“[It was good to see] how we battled back and didn’t give up,” Bancks said. “It was a little discouraging to be up 2-0, then early in the third [period] we get a short-handed goal to [go ahead] 3-2 and they score two quick ones. But we didn’t get down. We stuck with it and battled back.
“That’s all part of a growing process and it is a long process. It’s February and March that matters, not now. We have to experience losing streaks, slumps, injuries, sickness and everything else. It’s all a part of it.”
Bancks has had to watch leading scorer Tyson Klingspohn suffer through a production slip in recent weeks. From Oct. 25 to Nov. 7, Klingspohn rattled the opposition for 13 goals, two assists and 15 points in five games. While an incredible rate that no one could have expected him to maintain, the Penticton native has only managed one goal and three assists in seven games since then, including a three-game pointless skid that began Nov. 20 against Spokane.
“Kids judge themselves too much by goals and assists,” Bancks said. “With a player like [Tyson], you just hope he can just stick to playing the systems. He was pretty incredibly hot and it will come. It comes and it goes.
“I always ask kids, ‘Would you rather win 2-1 and you have no goals and no assists? Or lose 6-4 and you get two goals and an assist?’ Figure it out. When your whole team says they’ll take the 2-1 any day, you’ve probably got a good team.”
Next up, the Dynamiters host the Fernie Ghostriders Friday, Nov. 28 at the Kimberley Civic Centre. Fernie leads the season series between the two clubs with a win and draw to its credit.
It will be the first time the two teams will have met at the Kimberley Civic Centre.
The Nitros knocked off the Ghostriders 5-2 in pre-season play at the Kimberley Civic Centre back on Sept. 5.