The Kimberley Dynamiters took on the Creston Valley Thunder Cats on Saturday in their only game of the weekend. It was a clash of winning streaks as Kimberley entered having won five straight and Creston was undefeated in their first six games of the year.
The Thunder Cats had control of the game for the first 30 minutes. Leading the prowl was Aiden Wong, who attended Dynamiters training camp, but then joined the Thunder Cats after a tryout with the Kindersley Klippers of the SJHL (Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League). He scored three goals for the Cats, capping off his hat trick with a short-handed effort.
Head Coach and General Manager of the Cats, Jeff Dubois, praised Wong’s efforts.
“[Wong] was excellent, just as he’s been since he joined us. He has a great skill set, but he also plays a very smart game defensively.
“If there was any doubt that he could be an impact guy in our league, he erased it last night — he was clearly our top guy.”
Dubois was also happy with the first part of the game.
“We played a good first period, then took our foot off the gas after the 3-0 goal and let it become a game.”
Derek Stuart, Head Coach and General Manager for the Nitro’s, felt that his team were bystanders at the start.
“For some reason we had a slow start. I don’t know if we were a little bit in awe of them, puck watching,” he said. “Our feet weren’t moving in the first period.”
The next 30 minutes of the game belonged to the Kimberley Dynamiters.
“They have been dealing with pressure since day one,” Stuart said of his Nitros squad. “They don’t panic under pressure. The character is good, the leadership has been outstanding. They are comfortable in [that] situation — if you are down, you don’t give up.”
Rookie forward Brandt Bertoia from Unity, SK, ignited the Nitros comeback as he scored the first goal — his first ever KIJHL marker. However, the Nitros were still trailing the Cats 3-1 at the end of the second period.
“I think for us to shut down their team shot wise in the second period, gave us that confidence coming into the third,” Stuart said. “It was a really big thing regardless of the score after forty.”
Newcomer Matt Davies, who was playing in his third game, scored his first KIJHL goal, getting the Dynamiters to within one.
“It was good to finally get the first one behind me,” Davies said after the game. “After joining the team a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to get the first one in there. It felt really good, I got a little bit of stress off my back.”
Brandt Bertoia deflected in his second of the game off a shot by George Bertoia, levelling the game with just under four minutes’ left in the game.
The 590 people in the Civic Centre crowd celebrated the tying goal as if it was a playoff game. They were then treated to an additional two overtime periods.
Four-on-four, while exciting, yielded no conclusion. It was during three-on-three that there was a lot of ice to work with. While Chase Miller was the benefactor of a turn over for a breakaway, he was unable to beat Creston Valley’s keeper, Brock Lefebvre.
Lefebvre couldn’t stop Davies though, who was the overtime hero, scoring his second goal of the game.
“I thought [Miller] was going to tuck it in,” Davies said. “He kept battling and threw the puck at the front of the net, I was just lucky enough to put it home.”
Mitch Traichevich turned aside 37 shots to earn his second win of the season. At the other end, Lefebvre stopped 33 of the 37 shots fired at him.
“It was a great game for the boys,” Davies said. “The room has a lot of heart in there, we kept to our systems and to what coaches were telling us.”
For Dubois however, the game was a missed opportunity.
“You don’t win in Kimberley with a C+ effort and it was good to see the reaction from our guys after the game,” Dubois said. “They knew we played nowhere near our level.
“You also have to give Kimberley credit for sticking around and capitalizing on the opportunities we gave them.”
Stuart was pleased with his team’s performance.
“It was a good first game out of the eight that we are going to see them [and] it was definitely entertaining,” he said. “It’s always a good feeling to beat Creston — whether they are in first or last — it is always good to beat Creston”
MATCH STICKS: Franco Colapaolo was named the Kimberley Dynamiters September Player of the Month.
For up-to-date Kimberley Dynamiter information visit: www.kimberleydynamiters.net/blog. Also follow Josh on twitter @joshuaklockhart