The Kimberley Dynamiters will look to keep pace with the rest of the KIJHL’s Eddie Mountain Division with three games this weekend, including two against divisional rival Columbia Valley.
The Nitros face the Rockies (2-8-0-3) in a home-and-home battle Friday in Invermere and Saturday at the Kimberley Civic Centre. The North Okanagan Knights (2-8-0-2) visit Kimberley for a Sunday afternoon matinee to close the weekend.
“There isn’t that much difference between anybody in this league,” said Dynamiters head coach Jerry Bancks Thursday afternoon. “If we don’t play our game and if we don’t work hard, we could be as bad as anybody and we can also be as good as anybody.
“Columbia Valley is way better than their record indicates. The guys believe me on that one. We don’t see North Okanagan enough, but every team that’s played us from over there has played us tough. We know that will be a tough game.”
The Eddie Mountain Division remains a tough place to play with the Nitros and Fernie Ghostriders knotted atop the standings with 19 points apiece. The Golden Rockets trail Kimberley and Fernie by two points. Bancks hopes the consistency of his team will give them a leg up on the competition.
“I always tell my players, the number one thing that a coach wants from them isn’t a star performance every night, but to give the same thing every night,” Bancks said. “When that starts to happen, then you can do some things as a team, where you know you’re going to get a good effort every night.
“If we have lost this year, it hasn’t been because we’ve been lazy or anything. We’re a hard-working team.”
Goaltender Tyson Brouwer has arguably been the poster boy for hard work so far this season for the Dynamiters. The 19-year-old puck-stopper has started all 12 games for Kimberley, registering a 2.92 goals-against average along the way. It is anticipated Brouwer will get a breather at some point this weekend after import goaltender Liam McBain was given clearance to play from Hockey Canada last week.
McBain, a 17-year-old hailing from Tualatin, Ore., has been with the Nitros since training camp. But there was a hold-up in processing his papers through Hockey Canada, preventing him from suiting up in regular season.
“As a coaching staff, we decided to try to bring in Liam and we knew it wouldn’t be easy to get him approved,” Bancks said. “It’s going to be great to have Liam available.”
Bancks said it is yet to be determined when McBain will get his first start.