The Kimberley Dynamiters have finished their pre-season schedule with a 1-1-0 record. The first exhibition game was a 5-2 loss in Creston against the Thunder Cats, and the win coming in over-time against the Golden Rockets.
Head Coach & General Manager Derek Stuart says “For the most part, both games went well. I told the players before each game that the outcome is meaningless.
“What is more important right now and what we are interested in is the player’s actions, and what they were asked to do during the game. Overall, actions were very good, played in the right way.”
The first exhibition game was against the 2016 Cyclone Taylor Cup Creston Valley Thunder Cats. Their roster featured over five returning KIJHL players, while the Nitro’s started three.
“On Wednesday we had two lulls, one at the start of the game, and the next for the first six-to-seven minutes of the second,” Stuart recalls.
The Thunder Cats had played the night before against Beaver Valley Nitehawks, and appeared to find their skating legs sooner than the debuting Dynamiters.
“We did take it to them physically, everyone was finishing their checks. We played really well five-on-five.”
By the conclusion of the match Kimberley was outscored 5-2, and outshot 37-23.
On Friday the Dynamiters hosted the Golden Rockets at the Western Financial Place in Cranbrook. Stuart said there was a lot excitement as “the players really liked being in a WHL rink.”
Overall, Stuart was pleased with the performance Friday.
“We made it tough for Golden to get to the front of the net.”
There was a lot of local support as nearly 500 fans showed up to watch the Dynamiters win 4-3 in OT.
“The coaching staff, and executive are extremely pleased with the turnout. This is definitely something we will look at doing in the future.”
Looking ahead, the roster has been trimmed right down to 21 players.
“I’m hopeful for a few more players between now and the start of the regular season. It’s a difficult time of year for the players and me. As a coach you build a relationship with the players and then players come and go.
“The roster on opening day will not be the same three to four months from now. The guys on the roster now have earned their spot and we are comfortable with them.”
The Dynamiters are still carrying six defencemen, and are waiting for the results of Junior A cuts. The goal for the Nitro’s has been to move players on, “You hope they make it, if not we will welcome them back.”
Stuart and the team are looking forward to starting the regular season, especially against Eddie Mountain division rivals, the Fernie Ghostriders. “I am hopeful for a big crowd, the players feed off the energy.”
Match Sticks: There are no injuries to report. The Nitro’s iced two new skaters against the Rockets, forward Garreth Osmar (’98) and defenseman Connor Sullivan (’98). Osmar is a Cranbrook native who played last season with the Calgary Royals; prior to joining the Dynamiters he was trying out for the West Kelowna Warriors. Sullivan, standing 6’3″, is from Red Deer, and played last year with the Red Deer Elks.