Nitros can’t keep up with Thunder Cats

Dynamiters lose to Creston Valley 5-2, end Kimberley Civic Centre winning streak and fall behind in Eddie Mountain division race.

Josh Lockhart

The Month of January has not been friendly to the Kimberley Dynamiters so far, as they have started the month with a 1-3 record. Outside of a monstrous 11-2 victory, they have also been unable to get past scoring two goals in a game.

This past weekend, the Dynamiters hosted the Creston Valley Thunder Cats. The two teams are close in the standings, and the Cats had a slight edge for first place heading into the game. Head coach and general manager Derek Stuart has frequently said that the battle for first place in the Eddie Mountain Division will come down to the games between the Nitros and the Cats.

At puck drop on Saturday, the Dynamiters hoped to be able to leapfrog the 2017 Cyclone Taylor Cup hosting Thunder Cats for first place in the standings.

The Cats, without their head coach Jeff Dubois who was away coaching at the KIJHL Top Prospects Game, however, were quick to get on the board, scoring a power play goal.

“We didn’t have any energy in warm-up and it led to us coming out flat,” alternate captain James Farmer said after the game.

The Dynamiters would later tie the game at one, with forward-turned-defencemen Farmer scoring.

The adjustment from forward to defence hasn’t been too hard for me,” Farmer said. “I’ve played some defence growing up so I’m doing my best to remember how to react and be in the correct position.”

The game didn’t remain tied for long as the Cats responded with their second power play goal of the game. Before the second period wound down however, George Bertoia would get the Nitros tying goal.

“I thought at times we did a good job of controlling the puck in their zone and creating issues for their defence,” captain Ryan Hozjan said. “We did well with taking their goalie’s eyes away and creating traffic in front.”

As the clock began to tick down in the third period, it began to feel more and more like overtime, and with 7:42 the Cats took a 3-2 lead after the Nitros turned over the puck.

The Cats would then pad their score with two empty net goals to make the final tally a 5-2 victory over the Dynamiters.

It was Cody Campbell’s first game back since the 9-2 loss to the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, and he made 32 saves to keep the Dynamiters in the game.

After the game, both Hozjan and Farmer identified what the team needed to improve on.

“We just have to be more ready as a team and be ready for whatever team we’re playing,” Farmer said. “If you come out that flat in the playoffs you won’t win so hopefully we’ve learned what we can’t do and not do it again.”

“One thing we need to improve this weekend is our urgency to win for a full 60 minutes,” Hozjan added. “Instead of just glimpses throughout the game.”

MATCH STICKS: Harrison Risdon and Caige Sterzer were both held pointless in the KIJHL Top Prospects Game held this past weekend in Kelowna, the Kootenay Conference would tie 3-3 with the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference.

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