The Golden Rockets and goaltender Magnus Viberg brought an end to the Kimberley Dynamiters undefeated streak Saturday night, out-gunning the Nitros 6-2 at Golden Arena.
The loss came on the heels of the Dynamiters’ impressive 3-0 shutout of the Summerland Steam in KIJHL action Friday night at the Kimberley Civic Centre.
“We always struggle in Golden for some reason,” said Dynamiters head coach Jerry Bancks Sunday afternoon. “We had a good first period. I thought their goalie [Viberg] played extremely well.
“But when we made a mistake, it was a big one and it ended up in the back of our net. It’s not good to lose, but you can teach a lot more when you lose.”
The 18-year-old Viberg made 28 saves Saturday night for the Rockets, while forward Tanner Watt provided the offensive fire power with three goals and an assist.
A tight first period saw the Dynamiters and Rockets head to the dressing room tied up 1-1. The hosts took control in the second period as Watt and Cole Mckechney registered the only goals to put Golden ahead 3-1.
By the midpoint of the third period, James Gaume and Austin Pultz added two more and the Rockets had more scoring than they would need to come away with two points.
Nitros forward Keenan Haase added a late goal for the Dynamiters, though it made little difference. With less than a minute to play, Watt sent one final puck past Dynamiters goaltender Tyson Brouwer to complete the hat trick.
Friday in Kimberley, Brouwer was sharp in blanking the visiting Summerland Steam. The 19-year-old native of Lethbridge was awarded team player of the month honours prior to the contest and turned in a 31-save effort to put an exclamation point on the evening.
Dynamiters forward Jordan Roy registered the game-winning goal on the man advantage with 9:34 to play in the second period. Veteran sniper Jason Richter added an insurance marker on the power play with 6:46 to play in regulation and Marco Campanella iced the victory with an empty-net tally late in the third.
Forward Eric Buckley was ejected from Friday’s festivities after incurring a major penalty for goaltender inference. Following the contest, Buckley was slapped with a two-game suspension. He served the first game of the ban Saturday in Golden and will sit Friday, Oct. 10 when Dynamiters visit the Beaver Valley Nitehawks (4-3-1-2).
This coming weekend is a busy one for the Dynamiters as they travel to Fruitvale Oct. 10 before playing host to the Nitehawks Oct. 11. The weekend then wraps up Sunday as the Nitros play their third game in as many days when the Kelowna Chiefs (4-4-1-0) visit the Kimberley Civic Centre for a 2 p.m. matinee.
“It’s going to be critical that we get four lines going,” Bancks said. “If we play like we did [against Golden] we’re going to wear some [of our] guys out. We need contributions from everybody.
“I thought we got [that] Friday night, but not [Saturday].”
Kimberley’s loss in Golden coupled with the Fernie Ghostriders’ 5-3 victory over the visiting Summerland Steam dropped the Dynamiters into second place in the Eddie Mountain Division. The Dynamiters trail the Ghostriders by one point in the standings, though hold one game in hand early in the season.
Golden’s victory creates a logjam atop the Eddie Mountain Division, with only two points separating the Ghostriders (13 points), Dynamiters (12) and Rockets (11). The Creston Valley Thunder Cats (five points) and Columbia Valley Rockies (three points) have a bit of climbing to do in order to catch their divisional rivals.
Elsewhere around the league, the Osoyoos Coyotes remain the only undefeated team, having stacked up 10 consecutive victories to start the KIJHL regular season.
The Dynamiters will play host to the Coyotes in a spooky Halloween contest Oct. 31 at the Kimberely Civic Centre.