Kimberley Dynamiters forward Brandt Bertoia takes a shot on net during a game against the Spokane Braves on October 22

Kimberley Dynamiters forward Brandt Bertoia takes a shot on net during a game against the Spokane Braves on October 22

Nitros look to keep winning streak alive

Kimberley Dynamiters play the Thunder Cats on Friday, Beaver Valley Nitehawks on Saturday.

Josh Lockhart

The Kimberley Dynamiters take to the road this weekend. Their first stop is in Creston to play the Thunder Cats on Friday, and their next stop is in Fruitvale on Saturday where they play Beaver Valley Nitehawks.

This Friday’s match between the Kimberley Dynamiters and Creston Valley Thunder Cats is the first of three times this month that the two  teams will meet.

Currently, the Dynamiters (13-2-0-0) and Thunder Cats (12-1-1-1) are tied for first place in the Eddie Mountain Division and the KIJHL with 26 points. Kimberley has the slight edge because they have won 13 games to the Cats 12 in the same number of games.

The Cats have accumulated an offensive attack with many leaders. They have eight players averaging a point or more per game. Their defense can also assist in the attack or protect the net. The Cats score an average of 4.93 goals per game while being scored on an average of 1.87 times, accruing a league best +46 goal difference. All of those numbers are tops in the KIJHL.

Creston’s head coach and general manager Jeff Dubois, however, won’t let stats change how his team prepares.

“I don’t think where we stand in any of those areas statistically impacts our preparations,” Dubois said. “They’re a reflection of some things we’ve done well so far this season but they don’t have any impact once the game starts.”

The Dynamiters enter the weekend on a six-game winning streak and a 9-1 record in their last ten, making them one of the hottest teams in the KIJHL.

“We’re well aware of how Kimberley has been playing,” said Dubois. “So when we prepare to face them it’s a combination of wanting to do what we do well as a group and being ready emotionally and mentally for a very good opponent.”

The last time the teams met was on October 1. The Dynamiters erased a three-goal deficit to win 4-3 in overtime.

“Our preparation wasn’t really our issue the last time we played,” recalled Dubois. “We had a very strong first 30 or so minutes and built a 3-0 lead, but then took our foot off the gas and let that lead slide.

“We’ve seen once already how that can cost us, so our guys should understand the importance of a strong 60-minute effort and realize that Kimberley is a team that doesn’t quit.”

While Friday’s tilt will have a lot of attention from around the league, Saturday’s match against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks — the only team to beat the Creston Valley Thunder Cats in regulation to this date — shouldn’t be overlooked.

The Nitehawks (11-3-1-1) lead their division and are only two points behind the Dynamiters. The Nitehawks are led by October Kootenay Conference Player of the Month Tallon Kramer. He has backstopped his team to eight wins in 12 appearances, going undefeated in six games in October while posting three shutouts.

The Dynamiters, however, are holding on to their mantra that head coach and general manager Derek Stuart set last week — taking it one game at a time.

Friday’s game starts at 8:30 p.m. at the Johnny Bucyk Arena in Creston, and then 8:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Beaver Valley Arena in Fruitvale.

MATCH STICKS: Nicholas Ketola is suspended for one game after receiving a game misconduct in the last 10 minutes against Columbia Valley. Drew Van den Bosch, Bryce Salverda and Connor Kendall remain sidelined with injuries.

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