Nitros show winning ways on weekend

Dynamiters offence explodes against divisional rivals in back-to-back victories over Rockets, Ghostriders

Josh Lockhart

The Kimberley Dynamiters improved their record to 3-1-0-0 this past weekend. The Nitros doubled the Golden Rockets on Friday, 6-3; and then followed it up with a 5-3 comeback win over the Fernie Ghostriders.

Head Coach and General Manager Derek Stuart summarized both games: “They were both entertaining, that’s for sure.

“They had some good moments and they had some bad moments just like any other team right now in September. I thought we had more good moments than bad moments, that was a positive.”

On Friday against Golden, the captain for the night, James Farmer, got the Nitros on the board during the first with a deflection off of recently signed Bryce Salverda’s point shot.

Farmer had an excellent night as captain, as he showcased his humble lead-by-example leadership. He was a penalty-kill-blocking machine.

“Farmer was definitely one of our most valuable players on the ice that night, he has been all season,” said Stuart. “He’s leading by example. Doing all the things that coaches usually have to ask of players . . . he’s doing them on his own.

“I believe that is a credit to Jerry Bancks and the coaching staff last year, and the leaders that were here last year. Farmer learned from them and is applying to his game this year.”

In the second the goal lamps were lit three times by the Nitro’s. Caige Sterzer scored a similar goal to Farmer, as he deflected Connor Sullivan’s point shot. Kyle Cornford got his first KIJHL goal as he found a loose puck at the side of the net. Lastly, Troy Feldbusch glided across the crease and slid in the Nitros fourth goal, putting them up 4-3 after 40 minutes.

By the end of the night the Nitros had six different players score a goal each, as they solidified their lead with two more goals from Nicholas Ketola and Korbyn Chabot.

“It has been scoring by committee so far,” Stuart commented. “The team has really embraced [that] it doesn’t really matter who scores as long as they are in our jersey. It is really refreshing and positive attitude.”

As entertaining as the game was for the 378 in attendance, it was a pane of glass that stole the show, delaying the game by 50 minutes and creating some safety concerns for the players.

By Saturday’s game, that pane of glass had been fortified, which is always needed when the Ghostriders come to town, because in this game alone there were 82 penalty minutes called.

The first period against Fernie was not in Kimberley’s favor, as the Riders registered a 3-1 lead. The only goal for Kimberley was scored by Chabot as he wired a shot in from the top of the circle.

“The first period was tough on me, but I kept telling myself to relax and stay confident” explained Ruslan Katsnelson, the California native who was manning the crease for the Nitros.

“I regrouped during the first intermission and felt pretty confident the rest of the game. The guys did a great job battling the whole game and never giving up either. A lot of credit to them.”

The second period was a scoreless draw. The Dynamiters still needed two goals to level the game.

“I told them I was glad that things had gone the way they had,” coach Stuart said, describing his intermission speech. “It was testing our team chemistry, it was testing our mental toughness, it was testing our conditioning, and testing our desire and will, and how badly we wanted to put a solid period together.”

The third period comeback started on a rush by Franco Colapaolo who hurried in on a short-handed break, but was stopped. He then followed the puck and fed the rebound to Ryan Hozjan. Goal one.

Harrison Risdon fired a cannon from the point that found its way in. Goal two. Game was level.

Next the Nitros had a 5-on-3 and they kept setting up heavy shooter Chabot, which eventually paid off. Goal three. The Dynamiters led 4-3.

“I’m just happy to contribute in whatever way my team needs me,” Chabot said.

“Last year I had to play more of a support role, because I was the young rookie on a talented team. This year I have a bit more experience and hope to help my team with a more offensive role.”

Seconds later, as the Riders tried clearing the zone, the puck deflected off of Ketola and in. Goal four. It was now 5-3 Kimberley, and the 452 fans were ecstatic about the lead and the four unanswered goals.

“He was one of our best players this weekend [and] he was rewarded,” Stuart said. “He forechecked hard, instead of gliding or coasting in. He did a lot of things we had been asking our guys to do.”

Saturday’s game ended 5-3. Katsnelson made 51 saves to earn the two wins.

“I thought that third period was our best period of the year, regardless if they got four goals or one goal,” Stuart continued. “Their actions and effort[s] were outstanding in the third, as it will happen most times, they will get rewarded.

“I think it was a good lesson for them, and also for the hockey club. If we can play like that more consistently we will be a tough club to deal with.”

For both Katsnelson and Chabot it was a great feeling beating both division rivals.

“I think it gives us a big boost going into this weekend’s game” Katsnelson said. “Hopefully we can keep it up.”

Chabot used a motto from last year “We just can’t get too high and not too low. We will get a good week of practice in and head over to Golden this weekend, and hopefully get a win,” he said.