After a lengthy eight-day break from hockey, the Kimberley Dynamiters return to the ice this weekend looking to continue their winning ways, having won their past eight in a row.
The Kimberley Dynamiters (25-8-0-0) — top in the Eddie Mountain division — host the Beaver Valley Nitehawks (25-4-1-2) — top in the Neil Murdoch division — tonight at the Memorial Arena in Cranbrook.
The last time the two teams met, the Nitehawks downed the Nitros 3-1, in what head coach and general manager Derek Stuart called “the closest to an elimination playoff game that we’ve had this year.”
“It was very intense, quick, hard hitting, and very physical,” he said.
The Nitehawks scored by committee with seven players averaging, or close to averaging, a point per game. They are built from the back out, with Tallon Kramer backstopping the team to 20 wins in 26 appearances while posting a 1.61 goals against average and .940 save percentage.
The Nitehawks have three forwards going to the KIJHL prospects game next week: Aiden Browell (’99), Tyler Ghirardosi (’99), and Bradley Ross (’00).
On Saturday, the Nitros face off against divisional rival Columbia Valley Rockies (8-21-0-3) on the road in Invermere. The Rockies are currently holding on to a six-point lead over the Golden Rockets for the last playoff spot in the division.
The two teams have played six times this season, with the Dynamiters winning five of the games, outscoring the Rockies 27-12. However, the Dynamiters are 1-1 in Invermere, with the goals being level at five.
The biggest impact on the games this weekend won’t happen this weekend, it happened last week in the final 20 seconds against the Fernie Ghostriders when a line brawl earned suspension for four Dynamiters skaters: Brandon Langridge (3 games), George Bertoia (3 games), Garreth Osmar (3 games) and Harrison Risdon (2 games for kneeing).
As a result of the suspensions, the Dynamiters will be down one player and will be playing with a lineup of 17-skaters this weekend.
Friday’s game in starts at 7 p.m., while Saturday’s in Invermere starts at 7:30 p.m.
MATCH STICKS: Goaltender Cody Campbell (‘98) was named the December Kootenay Conference Player of the Month. Forward Nolan Kurylo (‘98) received an honorable mention for player of the month. Caige Sterzer (‘00) was handed a one-game suspension, but his punishment was rescinded.
For up-to-date Kimberley Dynamiter information visit: www.kimberleydynamiters.net/blog and follow Josh on twitter @joshuaklockhart.