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Nitros look to finish strong before holidays

Kimberley Dynamiters eager to keep up impressive home record against Columbia Valley and Nelson before taking a week off.

Josh Lockhart

The Kimberley Dynamiters are preparing for the last two games before the KIJHL goes on a holiday break. They host the Columbia Valley Rockies (6-19-0-3) on Friday and the Nelson Leafs (14-14-0-2) on Saturday.

The Dynamiters currently boast the best home record in the KIJHL, winning 14 of 15 games in their barn. They have not lost at home since the 2-1 opening season loss to the Fernie Ghostriders. That’s a 14 game winning streak.

Head coach and general manager Derek Stuart has two difficult tasks to make sure the players don’t get too high or too low — maintaining focus while being on a 14-game winning streak at home and navigating through the excited emotions of the holiday break.

“I think all the players know we have a good home record but no one is talking about it,” Stuart said on the task of trying to keep the players focused.

“If anything, it doesn’t have to do with our home record, it has more to do with the Christmas break beginning Sunday.”

The players, like most of us, are distracted by the upcoming holiday break.

“The players are excited to go home for a week and see their family and friends,” Stuart said. “I had to [give them a] friendly reminder at practice [on Tuesday] that their break doesn’t begin until we take care of business on Saturday.”

This Friday will be the third time this month, and fifth time this season, that the Rockies and Nitros have played each other. The Nitros lead the season series 4-1, outscoring the Rockies 21-9 over that time span. The Rockies are currently on a seven-game losing skid.

However, the Leafs are a less familiar opponent and are heading in a different direction in the standings compared to the Rockies, having won their last five. The two teams have only met once this season, back in October, when the Nitros won 2-1 at home.

Stuart feels that his team will be able to focus and find motivation through their team goals and once the puck drops will be the same group that they’ve been all year.

“One of our goals was to have the best home record in the league and to obtain home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. In order to do that we have to take care of as many games as possible, but especially our home games.

“There is motivation enough. Once they get ready for the game on Friday, the motivation should be there.”

Both games start at 7 p.m. at the Kimberley Civic Centre.

MATCH STICKS: Korbyn Chabot (’99) has been signed by the Trail Smoke Eaters (BCHL), and registered his first point with the team Wednesday.

For up-to-date Kimberley Dynamiter information visit: www.kimberleydynamiters.net/blog. Also follow Josh on twitter @joshuaklockhart.