The Kimberley Dynamiters once again proved why they are at the top of the league on Saturday, battling back from a 3-0 deficit to come back and beat the Columbia Valley Rockies.
Road weariness may have been a factor in the first period as the Rockies scored three unanswered goals against the Nitros. The Dynamiters returned home at 3 a.m. the night before after defeating the Beaver Valley Nitehawks 6-1 at the Beaver Valley Arena in Fruitvale, and in total have played five games in nine days, including defeating the Golden Rockets 5-3 at a make-up game on Tuesday.
“In my three and a half years here that’s the best I’ve seen a Dynamiters team play in that tiny rink in Beaver Valley and it was very impressive, the guys were phenomenal on Friday,” Dynamiters general manager and head coach Derek Stuart said of 6-1 defeat over Beaver Valley on Friday.
Stuart agreed that the rocky first period against Columbia Valley probably was due to a bit of road weariness or fatigue, though he added that it didn’t really matter what the reason was. Another factor to always consider is that when you’re at the top of the league, your opponents will always bring their A-Game against you.
“It’s a good thing in the long run but it’s sometimes difficult to handle when you know that you’re going to get everyone’s best every night,” Stuart said.
After letting in three goals in the first, Stuart said he simply reiterated the message he’s told his team many times this year.
“They control the pace and the speed of the game and if they want to keep playing how they are, they’re going to keep getting the results that they were getting in the first, and if they want to change that then they better go out and change it.”
It appears the players got the message. They outshot their opponents 13-12 in the first as well as letting in three goals, but the second period showed a whole different energy. Larson scored their first goal and Saharchuck made it 3-2 by the end of the second, with Kimberley outshooting the Rockies 20-15.
Saharchuk scored his second goal of the game to tie it up with 14 minutes left in the third, then Graber scored a power-play goal to take the lead. Graber then snagged a second goal on an empty net to close out the game 5-3, with the Nitros outshooting the Rockies 44-24.
“It was very impressive after the first period once we found our legs and got a bit of a lucky bounce there on Larson’s goal, our first goal, but that’s something that we earned,” Stuart said. “We played Nitros hockey in the second and third period and then we were able to pull out a win.”
The Nitros have also made some trade announcements recently, as December 1 marked the nation-wide deadline for Junior Hockey where teams need to be down to 25 carded players and open cards to use for the rest of the year.
Kimberley acquired Jed Butler from the Spokane Braves and have had Erik Delaire on the roster for the whole season. Delaire had wrist surgery in September and hasn’t played a game yet, but Stuart says that if everything continues to progress as it has been he should be ready to play by mid December. Butler is in town now and will be making his Dynamiters debut on Wednesday.
“We had to create some room for open cards down the road and also to sign Butler and Delaire so unfortunately we had to move Justin Deeks and John Usselman,” Stuart explained.
Deeks is headed to Creston and Usselman to Beaver Valley.