The Kimberley Dynamiters continued their polarizing play this past weekend.
Heading into the weekend, the Dynamiters had been winners and losers in several lopsided affairs, with at least four-goal differentials in each of those games. The pattern continued as the Nitros were downed 7-2 by the Creston Valley Thunder Cats on Friday and then won by the same score Saturday in Kimberley against the Grand Forks Border Bruins.
“It’s been a weird month,” head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said.
The game in Creston was a result that the Kimberley Dynamiters want to forget. Starting goalie Mitch Traichevich was chased from the net after surrendering four goals. Cody Campbell came in as relief, but the Cats attack just kept coming, clawing in another three goals.
The Dynamiters could only muster two goals, one on the power play from Korbyn Chabot and the other unassisted by Nicholas Ketola.
“We got embarrassed,” Stuart said. “Straight up, [on Friday] we got our butts kicked and we deserved to lose 7-2, if not even worse. That was definitely what we deserved.”
After such a big loss, the Dynamiters did their best to keep the game out of the front of their minds.
“We tried not to focus on the loss [Friday], kind of keep it in the back of your mind, don’t want it to happen again, use it to our best [advantage],” Nitros forward James Farmer said.
“[We] tried to forget about [that loss], at the same time used it as motivation to bounce back to make sure we are hard to play against. We were just trying to focus on our actions,” added teammate Franco Colapaolo.
The lines for Saturday’s match against Grand Forks also changed.
“We changed the lines up a bit. We had fresh lines,” said Colapaolo.
His new linemates, Farmer and Chabot, started the game and got the Nitros on the board in the first period, with Colapaolo getting the first goal and Farmer and Chabot both getting helpers.
The night just kept getting better for Farmer and Colapaolo, as both would add another goal and assist each, as they led the Dynamiters to a 7-2 victory over the Border Bruins.
“My linemates really helped me out tonight and made it easy for me. It was a great night,” Colapaolo said.
Campbell made 24 saves, doing his part to help the team win.
“I thought we were pretty solid in all areas,” Stuart said. “The work ethic was definitely there from the get-go. Once we established our work ethic we were able to do the systems we wanted for the most part. We were able to capitalize on some scoring chances. I thought the guys worked extremely hard.”
For the team, it was a welcomed home victory.
“Obviously, it felt really good to bounce back from last night,” Colapaolo said.
“We are doing pretty good at home. It’s just great to play in front of our fans, we get really good support from them. And everyone seems to love playing at home.”
“We were a pretty angry hockey team,” Stuart added.
With that victory, the Dynamiters are now 10-1 at home, but 6-5 on the road.
“On the road, you have to build your own energy, and that can be hard sometimes,” Farmer said. “At home, you can use the energy of the crowd.
“I know everyone likes playing at home [but] whether or not they are working harder at home as opposed to the road — I certainly hope that’s not the case,” Stuart said. “I don’t think that’s the case, I think that we [just] talked about getting back on track and the first thing we have to do is work hard.”
As for Farmer and Colapaolo, they both continued to lead the team by example. Farmer’s performance stood out on Saturday, earning him the Home Star of the Game.
“We just stuck to our systems,” Farmer said “I got a lucky bounce there and managed to put it in. On the PK, I just sacrificed the body for the boys. I know they would do it for me too. I’ll take [being black and blue] for a win.”
New to the lineup on Saturday was Connor Kendall. He suited up earlier in the year but suffered an injury right away.
“Unfortunately, Kendall has had some injury problems last year in Junior A and in his second shift with us in September he got hurt,” Stuart said. “He came back, and he is fully ready to go. He played well [as] a physical [and] big kid.
“He’s very experienced and smart with the puck, moves his feet [and is] good at placing pucks. His experience and strength are a big help to our team, especially along the walls.”
The Dynamiters will now prepare for their last two games in the weird month of November. They are at home again on Friday to play against the Columbia Valley Rockies, and then on the road against the Fernie Ghostriders on Saturday.
MATCH STICKS: Garreth Osmar and James Rota are both listed as injured with undisclosed injuries and timelines.