Kimberley Dynamiters defenceman Cody Lassiter drives into the zone during the first game of the Nitros 2017 opening round playoff series against the Fernie Ghostriders.

Kimberley Dynamiters defenceman Cody Lassiter drives into the zone during the first game of the Nitros 2017 opening round playoff series against the Fernie Ghostriders.

Kimberley and Fernie series tied 2-2

The Dynamiters split road games with Ghostriders, return to Kimberley with momentum in explosive opening round series.

Josh Lockhart

The Kimberley Dynamiters and Fernie Ghostriders continued to battle it out in the Eddie Mountain Division semifinals this week, with games three and four taking place in Fernie on Monday and Tuesday.

The Dynamiters went into Fernie feeling prepared and confident. It showed early on Monday as the Nitros scored four power play goals in a row, scoring three of those goals within 90 seconds of each other.

The last time Kimberley did that, it was in game one on Friday and they went on to win 8-3. With a 4-1 lead after 20 minutes, the Dynamiters were excited but still had 40 minutes to play.

“We went into Fernie [and] we knew we could play there,” said head coach and general manager Derek Stuart. “We were excited with our performance in the first [but] I got the sense that they were definitely a little over excited.

“There was no indication that they thought they had [already] won the game [though].”

Ghostriders head coach and general manager Craig Mohr wanted a push back from his team and that’s exactly what he got in the second period.

They quickly erased the Nitros excitement and the three-goal lead within four minutes of the second period, doing so with only six shots on net.

“We had a couple lulls [and] we didn’t get the goaltending we needed,” Stuart said. “[Goalie] Cody Campbell would be the first to admit that, he told me that himself.

“It’s unfortunately one of those things that happens, not everyone will play their best every night. Unfortunately, it cost us a win, but not the series.”

The Ghostriders would eventually steal the game 6-5 over the Dynamiters.

In game four, the Nitros showed their resiliency. For the second game in a row, they jumped out to an early 2-0 lead as Nolan Kurylo and Cody Lassiter scored.

It was in the third period, up 2-1, however, that the Dynamiters truly showed what they were made of.

Shorthanded for nine minutes following a series of head contact penalties against George Bertoia, the Nitros were on the ropes.

“The attitude and excitement that the guys had to go out there and kill the penalty for George was phenomenal,” Stuart said. “They did an outstanding job. If there was any guy on the team that the players would choose to go to war with, it’d be George.

“It wasn’t an easy seven minutes to kill, but at the same time, it was [an] easy [player] to rally for.”

Luckily for them, the Nitros only had to kill seven of the nine minutes due to a Fernie penalty. The ‘Riders would tie the game shortly after their power play ended but Kimberley didn’t give up.

With seven minutes left, James Farmer got a puck on net and Chase Miller found the loose puck to give the Dynamiters a 3-2 win in Fernie, levelling the series at two.

Cody Campbell had an excellent game, stopping 38 shots, and was named the ‘Away Star of the Game’.

“Campbell had a very impressive response in game three,” Stuart said. “He was calm and collected. Without him, we would be down 3-1. Those highlight reel saves gave us a big boost and got our guys going.”

With the series tied at two, it is now a best-of-three situation. The series shifts to Kimberley tonight and then goes to Fernie on Friday, and back to Kimberley if a game seven is necessary.

MATCH STICKS: George Bertoia received an automatic two-game suspension for his infraction during Tuesday’s game. James Farmer currently sits second in KIJHL playoff scoring (2 goals, 7 assists). Fernie’s Kyle Haugo and Keegan Kingwell remain sidelined due to injury.