Tuesday was a busy day for Kimberley Dynamiters Head Coach and General Manager Derek Stuart. First, there was a game against the Golden Rockets. Second, he had to deal with the surprise return of two players from their Junior A clubs, forcing him to make roster moves.
The Nitros roster was at full capacity — 25 skaters — when Stuart learned that defencemen Devon Langelaar (‘97) and Tyler Van Steinburg (‘98) were returning to the team, joining recently re-acquired George Bertoia (‘98) on the back end.
“George and Tyler were big contributors to the team last year [and] Langelaar improved as the year went on,” Stuart said. “We are looking for big things from all three of them [and] George has already made his presence known in the past two games that he has played.”
The Dynamiters sent forward Donte Nowell (‘98) and defenceman Connor Sullivan (‘98) to the Grand Forks Border Bruins (3-2-1-0) for future considerations to make room.
This left Caymen Froude (‘99) as a ninth defenseman on the depth chart, and for the betterment of his development he was returned to his midget club: the Sunshine Coast Blues.
“It’s very tough, it’s the not fun part of my job, moving kids like that,” Stuart said. “Definitely not a fun time — these were out of my control — the players came back [and] I had to make some room.”
Despite all the roster moves, the Nitros still had a game to play against the Golden Rockets. The Dynamiters were able to carry over their energy from their third period win on Saturday against Golden and Franco Colapaolo opened the scoring at the nine-minute mark.
The Dynamiters had an excellent start to the game, as Nicholas Ketola and Colapoala added two more goals during the second, taking a 3-0 lead after the first 40 minutes.
Stuart was really happy with the team’s performance in the first two periods.
“We started out great, it was our best first period of the season [and] in the second, we stepped it up another level. We controlled the play and the puck possession.”
However, injuries, complacency, and misconducts began taking their toll in the final frame. The Nitros were down to nine forwards and four defencemen in the third period, with forward James Farmer forced to play defence.
“The third period was our worst period of the game,” Stuart said. “I attribute part of that to a little bit of fatigue and a little bit of complacency with a 3-0 lead and outshooting them.
“I think the guys took their foot off the pedal, which is something we can’t do. We ended up shutting the door when it mattered most in the last three minutes and got another win.”
Colapaolo scored the insurance marker in the final minute — his hat-trick goal — as the Dynamiters downed the Rockets 4-2.
“[Colapaolo] was great. He was our hardest working forward [and] he got rewarded for his actions,” Stuart said. “That is what we have been stressing here with the team complacency — focusing on your actions and you will get good results. And he was definitely a benefactor of that.”
Mitch Traichevich started in goal and made 20 saves for his fourth win of the season.
The Dynamiters now shift their focus to Saturday when they face the league leading, undefeated Creston Valley Thunder Cats (6-0-0-0).
“We will start looking at some film and start preparing for Creston. I don’t think we will have to do too much motivating within the dressing room. They are undefeated and the heavy favourites coming in Saturday. Our guys are pretty hungry.”
Saturday’s game starts at 7pm at the Kimberley Civic Centre.
MATCH STICKS: Langelaar and Van Steinburg are expected to make their returning debuts Saturday. The injury bug has also hit the Nitros: Van Den Busch (day-to-day), Kendall (2-3 weeks), Salverda (3-5 weeks).
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