Friday, 31 March 2017

Kimberley Dynamiters coach reflects on first season

When the Kimberley Dynamiters finished their training camp on August 28 and prepared for the upcoming regular season, the 23-man roster contained only seven players who had played a game in the KIJHL, and only five of those played for the Nitro’s the season before.

Not only did the team have a new head coach, but they had a completely new roster. Many around the league and at home pegged this season to be a rebuilding year. When the Nitro’s lost their season opener 2-1 at home against the Fernie Ghostriders, fans too began to feel it was a rebuilding year.

But then the Nitro’s won the remainder of their September games, winning seven in a row, going into October. Then as October ended and November started, the Nitro’s went on another seven-game winning streak. And to the fans pleasure, the Dynamiters were not losing at home, including sweeping the Christmas Classic with Fernie, and would not lose at the Civic Centre until January 14 against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.

During that time span, the Dynamiters had an astounding 29 player transactions as Stuart would keep tweaking his lineup.

The player’s individual work would start garnering league wide attention. Mitch Traichevich was an honorable mention for player of the month in October, and would later be traded to his hometown club in Dawson Creek.

Later, in December Cody Campbell would go undefeated posting two shutouts and earning the Kootenay Conference Player of the Month recognition, while newly acquired Nolan Kurylo scored seven goals and 12 points during December receiving an honorable mention for player of the month.

Kurylo would keep up his top-notch performance in January scoring six goals and 19 points in nine games. That would be the only highlight to January, as the Nitro’s would lose ground on the division leading Thunder Cats.

The Dynamiters would close out the regular season strong, winning their last five games, and lineup against the Fernie Ghostriders in a fan favourite best of seven series in the opening round. Chase Miller would be named the Eddie Mountain Divisions Top Rookie posting 19 goals and 32 assists.

This series helped the Dynamiters build character as they would finish the ‘Riders season with Tyler Van Steinburg scoring in double overtime.

Next was the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, the Cyclone Taylor Cup hosts, a team stacked because of their automatic ticket to Junior B tournament. Winning game one, and then game three and four in double overtime, what once seemed impossible at the start of the season, was becoming a reality.

For the third year in a row the Dynamiters would advance to the Kootenay Conference Finals, after winning the Eddie Mountain Division playoff title, and face the Beaver Valley Nitehawks. The “rebuilding” team would force a winner-take-all game five. And that’s where the Nitro’s magical run would end, one game away from advancing to the KIJHL finals for a third year in a row.

While Campbell would be named the teams playoff MVP, James Farmer would put on the best offensive output by a defenceman in the KIJHL in recent memory, and lead the team in scoring with five goals and 15 assists.

When Stuart reflected on the season he acknowledged there was a learning curve, unfamiliar territory and a lot of uncertainty.

“I didn't really see it going this well, given all the uncertainty. I couldn't have asked for a better group of people from the executive right down to the equipment manager.”

“I am most proud of is how they players came together and competed and battled as a team. They were, in my opinion, a true team.”

Stuart was very pleased with the support of the community and the fans, “One of my goals at the start of year was to put together a team that the town would be proud of, I really think we did that.”

While it is still too early to venture into what the team will look like next season, Staurt is excited about next season.

“We could be a dangerous hockey club next year. We have 20 eligible players that could come back, about 10 have indicated already that they would like to come back, and the closer to 20 returnees we get the more dangerous we will be.”

It was a rebuilding year, the team did over exceed expectations. Stuart and staff now have a foundation established that they can build upon.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Kimberley Dynamiters Playoff MVP: Cody Campbell

The Kimberley Dynamiters named Cody Campbell as their Playoff MVP.

"I feel honored that head coach Derek Stuart and the rest of the staff thought that I deserved the award." Campbell said about receiving the award. "It's pretty awesome. I feel like I put a lot of hard work in.

"I never really had an award or recognition like that before."

During the playoff run Campbell started all 17 games, winning 10 with a 2.79 GAA and a .916 SV%. Campbell also earned one shutout and five stars of the game.

For Campbell, he had two highlights of the playoff run.

First was in the division finals against Creston, "The whole Creston series was a battle. We weren't necessarily supposed to win it. 

"After we won in overtime in game four, to go up three-one. We realized, 'Wow we have them on the ropes.' That was probably one of the coolest moments, winning back-to-back overtime games."

The second was against Fernie, "The other really fun game, was game six against Fernie that went to double overtime. That game was crazy."

Photo by Jodi L'Heureux

Monday, 27 March 2017

Interviews with Kimberley Dynamiters 20 year olds

Kimberley Dynamiters are eliminated from the KIJHL Playoffs by Beaver Valley Nitehawks

The Kimberley Dynamiters worked hard in game four to force a winner-take-all game five with the Beaver Valley Nitehawks on Friday in an attempt to reach the KIJHL finals for a third year in a row.

The past two trips to the KIJHL finals, the Nitro’s have had to go through the Nitehawks to get there. The Nitehawks, however, were hopeful that third meeting would be the charm for them.

It didn’t take long for the Nitehawks to get the 350 in attendance, a capacity crowd, celebrating by scoring a mere 2:30 into the game. It soon became apparent, that Nitehawks Tyler Ghirardosi was on a one man mission to advance the Nitehawks into the KIJHL Finals. He scored his second of the period at 6:41, and then his hat-trick goal at the 10:35 mark of the first period.

“Unfortunately, we had three missed assignments, or bad shifts that ended in the back of our net.” Nitro’s head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said. “Three simple mistakes that they made us pay for.”

The Dynamiters did respond with Devon Langelaar scoring second of the playoffs, and Nolan Kurylo with his 10th of the playoffs.

“That's how we have been all year. We don't quit. Our resiliency has been there all season long.”

The Nitehawks wouldn’t go away, and would score their fourth of the period, taking a 4-2 lead into the second period.

Despite being doubled on the scoreboard, Stuart was very pleased with his teams performance.

“As weird as it may look and sound, I thought that was our best first period of the entire series.

“We outshot them, we had more scoring chances, and we scored two goals in their rink in the first period.”

Both teams would halt all scoring in the middle frame. The Dynamiters kept pressing, but were having a tough time finding a way to beat the Nitehawks and their goalie, Tallon Kramer, for a third goal.

“Despite the score being 4-2 we had a chance to win, and they believed it. We just couldn't get that third one.

“If we just could have got that third one, I really believe we would've been able to tie it up.”

In the third period, with just under nine minutes left, the Nitehawks would add their fifth goal of the game on the power play.

“After they got their fifth goal, the effort was still there, as impressive as that was, but everyone saw the writing on the wall.”

As the game wore down, the Dynamiters wanted to finish the season with class.

“For us as coaches, we tried to get Colapaolo, Hozjan and Lassiter out there as much as possible.”

But the emotion of losing started taking over, and weighing on everyone.

“The last couple of minutes it was tough to see the boys faces, it's two minutes that no coach or player likes to experience.”

It was a hard fought loss. The third time would be the charm for the Nitehawks as their 5-2 victory advanced them to the KIJHL finals against the Chase Heat.

Stuart felt that the team was treated unfairly by the officials. The Nitro’s were handed 68 minutes’ worth of penalties compared to the Nitehawks 32. This includes four 10-minute misconducts (Farmer, Langelaar, Langridge x2) and one game misconduct; some of them Stuart didn’t feel were necessary or understandable.

“I'm really confused as to why a ref would do that to a young kid and make him miss 10 minutes of the game.”

But he added, “Those don't have an effect on the outcome of the game, but it does impact the game at that time.  It hurt not to have them for 10 minutes.”

Even though the loss hurts, the Nitro’s can hold their heads high where they accomplished a lot more than anyone expected.

“I am most proud of is how they players came together and competed and battled as a team. They were, in my opinion, a true team.”

MATCH STICKS: The Nitro’s finished the series with injuries. Harrison Risdon received a concussion in game two. Tyler Van Steinburg broke his clavicle in game two. The Nitro’s conducted exit interviews this past Sunday, and Stuart is hopeful for more returnee’s next season.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Comparing KIJHL Division Awards with (unofficial) All-Stars

Remember back in early February when a bunch of social media brains got together and created an (unofficial) KIJHL All-Star team? No, well check it out here.

The KIJHL (FINALLY) released all of the division awards, which means it is time to compare how the all-star lines compare with coach-voted upon division awards.

The compete list is below, players in bold were named to the all-star lines, italicized received votes but not enough to make the team.

MVP – Michael Fidanza Chase Heat
Top Defenseman – Pat Brady – Chase Heat
Most Sportsmanlike – Joshua Bourne – Chase Heat
Top Div Goalie – Nicolas Bruyere – Chase Heat
Top Scorer Doug Birks Div – Michael Fidanza – Chase Heat
Top Rookie – Rob Raju – 100 Mile House Wranglers

MVP – Colin Bell – Osoyoos Coyotes
Top Defenseman – Daniel Stone – Osoyoos Coyotes
Most Sportsmanlike – Daniel Stone – Osoyoos Coyotes
Top Scorer – Colin Bell – Osoyoos Coyotes
Top Div Goalie – Adam Jones – Osoyoos Coyotes
Top Rookie – Jason Village – Kelowna Chiefs

MVP – John Moeller – Castlegar Rebels
Most Sportsmanlike – Ed Lindsey – Castlegar Rebels
Top Scorer – Logan Styler – Castlegar Rebeles
Top Defenseman – McKoy Hauck – Beaver Valley Nitehawks
Top Div Goalie– Tallon Kramer – Beaver Valley Nitehawks
Top Rookie – Luke Gallagher – Spokane Braves

MVP - Sebastian Kilcommons – Creston Valley Thundercats
Top Defenseman – Sebastian Kilcommons – Creston Valley Thundercats
Most Sportsmanlike – Sebastian Kilcommons – Creston Valley thundercats
Top Div Goalie – Brock Lefebvre – Creston Valley Thundercats
Top Scorer – Paxton Malone – Creston Valley Thundercats
Top Rookie – Chase Miller – Kimberley Dynamiters

A quick look shows that Sebastian Kilcommons was the number one overlooked player when naming the all-star lines. He brought home three pieces of hardware, yet did not receive a single vote by those involved (Ooops!).

Another quick observation is the amount in common with the Okanagan Division. All but one lined up, and the one that didn't make it, still received a vote.

Obviously, this shows how paid coaches and social media volunteers see the game differently.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

10+ Year History of Top KIJHL Playoff Defencemen Scorers

I was challenged to look at how impressive James Farmer's post-season numbers have been for a defencemen. And of course, I can't turn down a statistical challenge.

I went through all the years that are available on the KIJHL website and grabbed the top point scoring defender. There are some years where there are ties (2014, 2010), and some years where no defender made the top 25 (2011, 2012, 2015).

Here is the complete list of each post-seasons top 25 scoring defenders, ordered by points.

Defender PO Year Team GP G A PTS
James Farmer 2017 Kimberley Dynamiters 16 5 15 20
Bryce Perpelitz 2014 Kimberley Dynamiters 12 6 12 18
Daniel Buchanan 2014 Kamloops Storm 20 4 14 18
Brayden Sherbinin 2010 Nelson Leafs 24 6 9 15
Caleb Roy 2010 Revelstoke Grizzlies 15 2 13 15
Erik Alden 2013 Castlegar Rebels 21 6 9 15
Justin Palazzo 2009 Kamloops Storm 19 0 14 14
Kevin Koopman 2006 Beaver Valley Nitehawks 15 7 6 13
Derek Porter 2007 Fernie Ghostriders 17 2 11 13
Jordan Busch  2016 Kimberley Dynamiters 16 3 10 13
Cody Lockwood 2008 Kamloops Storm 21 4 8 12

While it is noticeable that Farmer is #1 on this list, another observation (Kimberley bias) is that there are two past Nitro's on this list, Perpelitz (who Farmer passed two points ago), and Jordan Busch.

This is a team sport, but Farmer's performance this post season is one for the history books.

The Kimberley Dynamiters force decisive Game Five against Beaver Valley Nitehawks

After splitting games one and two in Fruitvale, the Kimberley Dynamiters lost game three at home, and then won game four, forcing a final and decisive game five in Fruitvale on Friday.

Game three was played at the Kimberley Civic Centre on Tuesday night with 1,024 in attendance. The Beaver Valley Nitehawks’ Dylan Heppler struck first, scoring just after the five-minute mark in the first.

Nitro’s Matt Davies would dangle in short handed and score a beauty of a goal to tie the game at one. But this was as close as the game would be, as the Nitehawks would put pressure on and chase down the puck, scoring two more goals before the second ended.

“Frustration was definitely starting to creep in on the bench.” Said head coach and general manager Derek Stuart. “They were working extremely hard, taking a lot of abuse, but weren't getting rewarded for it on the scoreboard. It's hard to convince the players that scoring chances are a type of reward.”

The Dynamiters struggled to finish their chances as the Nitehawks would score their fourth goal of the game late in third on a defensive miscue by the Dynamiters.

The Nitehawks would take a 2-1 series lead with their 4-1 win.

“It wasn't a 4-1 game.” Stuart said, “They finished their scoring chances and we didn't. It was pretty even game throughout the course of 60 minutes, in terms of scoring chances and opportunities.”

The focus quickly shifted from Tuesday nights loss, to the elimination game on Wednesday night.

“Tomorrow is the easiest job for coaches for pre-game motivation, if we lose, we go home. Motivation shouldn't be a problem tomorrow.” Stuart said.

Nitro’s captain, Ryan Hozjan, added: “Make sure that when we wake up tomorrow that we forget about tonight…

“Every one has believed and wanted to get to the finals for a third year in a row. We are going to keep digging away.”

Wednesday was the first time this post-season that the Dynamiters faced elimination, as such 1,043 Nitro’s faithful, sprinkled with a few ‘Hawks faithful, filled the Civic Centre.

Both teams skated out a defensive first period, neither team wanting to make an error to cost the game.

Cody Campbell has a history of bouncing back, and he showed his commitment to the team, “I don't want to be the reason that the ship sinks, we have such an amazing opportunity here.”

Campbell would make 17 saves in the middle period, which allowed the team the opportunity to take the lead. Franco Colapaolo would take the puck from the corner, and with patience, skate across Nitehawks Tallon Kramer and give the Dynamiters a 1-0 lead.

“It feels great.” Colapaolo said about scoring the first goal, “I just try to help out the team in any way I can. I knew it was going to be a tight game, and I knew we needed the first goal - we play pretty good when we get the first one.”

The Nitehawks would turn up the intensity dial in the third, but the Dynamiters matched pace, and hold on to win 1-0.

Campbell was named the home star of the game as he made 32 saves to earn his first shut out of the post-season.

“I feel that under pressure in these playoffs I have good, and the team has been great. It's a lot of fun.” Campbell said. “The whole team very is happy.

“We knew it wasn't going to be easy, they are a phenomenal team. We are on cloud nine.
Thursday is a rest and travel day for both teams before the winner-takes-all game five on Friday for a ticket to the KIJHL Finals.

“But we are not done,” Campbell said “We know we can enjoy [the win] for the next couple of hours. Make sure we are ready to go for Friday.”

“We have been believing all season,” Colapaolo said “Even if people weren't giving us a chance.

“We know in that room that we are a good team and that we can beat any one on any given night. Hopefully we planted some doubt in [the Nitehawks] minds tonight.”

Faceoff is 8:30 MDT at the Fruitvale Arena.

MATCH STICKS: The Osoyoos Coyotes and Chase Heat will be playing their game 5 at 9:00 MDT on Friday, winner advances to the KIJHL finals.

Check it out in the Kimberley Bulletin/Cranbrook Townsman

Photo's by Jonathan Righton

Monday, 20 March 2017

Kimberley Dynamiters split series opener in Fruitvale

The Kimberley Dynamiters opened the Kootenay Conference series with a split against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.

Game one was played on Friday, and heavily favoured the home-town Beaver Valley Nitehawks. The Nitehawks scored two lucky goals very early. They would then score their third of the game on a deflated Nitro’s team with 2:21 left in the first.

“We weren't very good in the first and had a couple of unlucky bounces end up in our net. The game was 1-1 after that.” Head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said. “However, against a team like Beaver Valley one bad period can cost you a game.”

The Nitro’s would slow the Nitehawks relentless pace in the second before trading goals in the third. Brandt Bertoia would be the Nitro’s only goal scorer, falling 4-1 to the Nitehawks.

Cody Campbell, despite being pulled after Beaver Vlley’s fourth goal, made 32 saves and was named the away star of the game.

The Dynamiters regrouped, and prepared for game two.

Even though the Nitehawks held a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes, the Dynamiters played a strong opening period.

“It was excellent at the start of the game. We got back to the mentality of focusing on your next shift, and nothing else.” Stuart said.

“It was a big improvement, everything from the preparation, to the execution, to the communication.”

The Nitro’s would then storm back in the second. Nolan Kurylo would score on the power play to tie the game, and Nic Herringer would score with 70 seconds left in the second to give the Dynamiters a 2-1 lead.

Franco Colapaolo would give the Nitro’s a 3-1 lead as he potted an empty net goal. The Nitehawks wouldn’t go away, scoring with 31 seconds left to make it 3-2. And that’s how the game would end.

Campbell was once again named the away star turning aside 26 of 28 shots.

The Dynamiters took Sunday as a long travel day. Stuart said from the Kootenay Lake Ferry that the team needs a rest.

“We [need to] have our rest, because we really need to continue to use our speed. They had a tough time handling our speed and quickness, if we can continue to do that on our big ice it will bode well for us.”

He added that “We are excited to get home and be in front of our crowd and on our ice.”

The last time the Nitehawks were in the Kimberley Civic Centre was March 21, 2016, game five of the Kootenay Conference finals. Just over 1,100 fans watched the Nitro’s win 3-1 and advance to the KIJHL finals.

Games three and four of the series are Tuesday and Wednesday at 7p.m. at the Kimberley Civic Centre, with game five back in Fruitvale if needed.

MATCH STICKS: The Osoyoos Coyotes won 6-5 in double OT on Sunday to take a 2-0 series lead over the Chase Heat in the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference Finals. 

Friday, 17 March 2017

Kimberley Dynamiters vs Beaver Valley Nitehawks: Kootenay Conference Finals stats preview

Kimberley DynamitersvsBeaver Valley Nitehawks
33-13-0-1Season Record38-5-1-3
2ndDivision Standing1st
8-4-0-0Playoff Record8-0-0-0
22.07%Power Play25.00%
84.39%Penalty Kill87.34%
7thPower Ranking2nd
4-2 (FG), 4-2 (CVT)Previous Series4-0 (GFBB), 4-0 (NL)
James Farmer (5G-14A)Top ScorerTyler Hartman (4G-6A)
Nolan Kurylo (8G-7A)2nd Top ScorerBlake Sidoni (5G-4A)
Joe Karpyshyn (5G-8A)3rd Top ScorerDylan Heppler (4G-5A)
Joe Karpyshyn (36)PIM LeaderMitch Foyle (24)

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Kimberley Dynamiters prepare to face familiar opponent in Kootenay Conference Finals

The opponent in the Conference finals is a familiar foe, the Beaver Valley Nitehawks. The past three seasons these two teams have met in the Kootenay Conference finals. The difference this year is that it is a best-of-five series instead of a best-of-seven.

Stuart wants his team to rest, but also doesn’t want to lose any momentum heading into the series Friday.

“Try to pick up where we left off; I think that our game six against Creston was our best game of the playoffs thus far.”

“Our guys understand what the level of play has to be, the compete and work ethic have to be there.”
The Nitehawks are a complete team, and a team that Stuart has wanted to emulate all-season long because they play a full 60-minutes of hockey.

Beaver Valley has swept their previous two series, first taming the Border Bruins, and then trimming the Leafs.

As a result, the Nitehawks have 10 players in their lineup that average nearly a point-per-game or more. Their goalie, Tallon Kramer, is arguably the best goalie in the Conference, if not the league. He has been in net for all eight wins, has a 2.01 goals against average and a .911 save percentage.

“We will definitely have our work cut out for us with Kramer in net.” Stuart said, but added, “In my opinion, it's the two best goalies in our conference going at it now.”

The series begins in Fruitvale with games one and two on Friday and Saturday at 8:30pm MDT, and games three and four in Kimberley on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Kimberley Dynamiters declaw the Creston Valley Thunder Cats in 6 games

The Kimberley Dynamiters are headed to the Kootenay Conference Finals for the third year in a row after declawing the 2017 Cyclone Taylor Hosts, Creston Valley Thunder Cats in game six.

The Nitro’s came out blazing early in the game as Calgary native Nolan Kurylo would score just after the five minute mark of the first period.

“Tonight was the night that we needed to come and play our best hockey” Kurylo said.
After only facing seven shots, Kimberley’s net minder, Cody Campbell, knew Creston would fight back.

“After facing seven shots, I knew their second period was going to be phenomenal” Campbell said.

The Thunder Cats did respond. Justen James got the Cats on the board early in the second to tie the game at one. The Cats would then fire an astounding 17 shots in the second period, to no avail, as the 
Dynamiters regained their lead and built on it. Kurylo would score his second of the game, and the Nic Herringer would deflect in a power play goal with 23 seconds left in the second to give the Dynamiters a 3-1 lead with 20 minutes left.

“Coming out for the third period, and we are up 3-1,” Campbell recalled “this might be the biggest period that I have ever played in my life. I am happy that I am here.”

The Dynamiters started Brandon Langridge, Brandt Bertoia and Nicholas Ketola to start the third.

“[They] were our best line in the first 40 minutes during 5-on-5, so it was easy to start them in the third.” Head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said.

The line rewarded Stuart and the team, Ketola scored his first goal of the series 14 seconds into the third period to give the Dynamiters a commanding 4-1 lead over the Thunder Cats.

By the three minute mark, the Cats pulled their goalie, and kept pressure on the Dynamiters for a whole two-minutes before James Farmer added to his KIJHL league leading point total as he scored an empty net goal.

The Cats Grant Iles would score with 26 seconds left, but it was too little too late. The Dynamiters defeated the regular season Eddie Mountain division leaders in six games to advance, once again, to the Kootenay Conference finals.

Stuart feels that his team has always had the confidence to beat the Thunder Cats, but that finishing them in six games, gives them a little extra boost, and the players would agree.

“It’s a huge series for us to take down Creston, especially them being the [Cyclone Taylor Cup] host. I think it's a confidence build up for us for the next series.” Said Kurylo, who had a hot hand scoring six goals against Creston.

“I'm just trying to put the puck in the net, things are bouncing the right way right now, I want to carry that into the Beaver Valley series.”

Photo's by Jonathan Righton

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Kimberley Dynamiters take a commanding 3-1 series lead after back-to-back OT wins

The Kimberley Dynamiters now have a strangle hold on their series with the Creston Valley Thunder Cats after winning games three and four in overtime.

Friday’s game had 917 fans out supporting the Nitro’s, while a sprinkle of those were there for the Cats. All in attendance got their monies worth.

Kimberley’s Matt Davies opened the scoring on the power play as he rifled a shot over the shoulder of Creston’s Brock Lefebvre.

It took until the midway point for the Thunder Cats to draw even, as the electric Ronnie Wilkie levelled the game. Minutes later Luke Kalenuik would give the Cats a 2-1 lead.

Before the second could end Cooper Page would fire a puck at the net and Nic Herringer would redirect it in to knot the game at two after 40 minutes.

Nolan Kurylo would give the Dynamiters a lead for a short moment, before Creston’s Cole Arcuri would tie the game forcing over time.

The short 10-minute overtime would not solve anything and so the Civic Centre’s ice surface would be flooded for the start of the second overtime period.

Kurylo would score his second of the game a mere 32 seconds into the second overtime, James Farmer adding an assist to keep his point streak alive, to give the Dynamiters a 4-3 victory, and a 2-1 series lead.

Saturday’s game four reeked of desperation for the Cats, because they knew they couldn’t go down 3-1 in the series against the Nitro’s.

The Cats got on the board quickly, as once again, Ronnie Wilkie would score, silencing the 957 in attendance.

“Ronnie has stepped up and scored some big goals for us.” Said Thunder Cats head coach and general manager Jeff Dubois “He's giving us his best hockey at the right time of the year.

“But we need some other guys to step up and spread the offence around.”

It took until just after the midway point of the second for the Nitro’s to get on the scoresheet, Joe Karpyshyn would drive to the net, tying the game at one.

The tie was short lived as the Cats Justen James would restore the lead 14 seconds later.

The Cats were controlling the play, the Nitro’s were looking very disorganized.

“We were sloppy,” Nitro’s head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said “the bench was mostly quiet until the third period.”

The Nitro’s were even flat during the third period, it wasn’t until there was 48 seconds left on the clock that Tyler Van Steinburg would wire a shot in to tie the game and force overtime on his birthday-eve.

During overtime the Dynamiters would be awarded a four-minute power play due the Cats being called for high-sticking. This is when Kurylo would be the overtime hero, for the second game in a row, as he pounced on a rebound and banged it in.

“I just saw an opportunity, I wanted to jump right on it and put it in the net.” Kurylo said after the game four win, “It was the best feeling.”

He added that he and the team knew they got away with one, “We stole the win from them tonight, it was their game until the last minute of the third.”

Even though Kurylo was the hero, Cody Campbell was the star of both games. He stopped 73 of 78 shots fired at him in the two games.

“I feel great right now,” Campbell said “It's awesome to help the team win.”

Ever since the 6-5 game three loss to Fernie, Campbell has been fantastic. “For myself, internally, I just said enough is enough it's time to stop the puck.”

Campbell’s performance garnered praise from coach Stuart: “When Cody's been at his best, he plays like that. Tonight, we hung him out to dry, made him make too many highlight reel saves.”

Even with the lull’s in game four for the Dynamiters, Stuart is impressed by his team, “We were resilient throughout a game where we weren't at our best and a number of guys weren't feeling 100%.

“It's a direct reflection of the players’ character and dedication to the team.”

The focus and attention now shifts to the Johnny Bucyk arena for game five on Monday, a do-or-die game for Creston.

“We played well enough to win both games in Kimberley but we didn't get the job done.” Dubois said, “Now our focus is on playing a strong game at home on Monday and extending the series. We'll take it one game at a time as the cliché goes.”

As for Kimberley, Stuart knows that his team must play a desperate full 60-minutes of hockey.

“We want to finish this up right away, you never want to have a team hang around. We want to end this as quickly as we can.”

Game five starts at 8:30 MDT at the Johnny Bucyk Arena.

MATCH STICKS: Beaver Valley Nitehawks and the Osoyoos Coyotes have both swept their series and advance to their respective conference finals. James Farmer is on a 12-game point streak going back to the regular season (5G, 15A), and sits first in KIJHL playoff scoring.

Photos by Jonathan Righton

Bloggers Blurb - March 11, 2017

Bloggers Blurb - March 10, 2017

Friday, 10 March 2017

Round One KIJHL Playoff Predictions: Josh vs Jim

On February 24 during Bloggers Blurb Jim and I made round one predictions, now that round one has ended it is time to see how we did to see who will have bragging rights on tonight's Bloggers Blurb.

Here is the actual result, Jim's picks and my picks. Crossed out means wrong, bolded means 100% right in winning team and games played, normal means right team, just not the right amount of games.

Actual Result
Nitehawks in 4 games
Nitehawks in 5 games
Nitehawks in 5 games
Leafs in 6 games
Rebels in 6 games
Rebels in 6 games
Thunder Cats in 4 games
Thunder Cats in 6 games
Thunder Cats in 4 games
Dynamiters in 6 games
Dynamiters in 6 games
Dynamiters in 7 games
Coyotes in 4 games
Coyotes in
Coyotes in 4 games
Steam in 7 games
Steam in
Steam in 6 games
Heat in 5 games
Heat in
Heat in 6 games
Storm in 6 games
Storm in 7 games
Wranglers in 7 games

Kimberley Dynamiters hockey skate blanket

Need a gift for the Dynamiters fan in your house? Check out this hockey skate blanket by local crocheter, Off The Hook.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

The Dynamiters and Thunder Cats Series is just getting started

The Kimberley Dynamiters opened the Eddie Mountain Division Finals against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats with game one on Tuesday and game two on Wednesday in Creston at the Johnny Bucyk Arena.

Dynamiters head coach and general manager Derek Stuart wanted his team to continue from where they left off against Fernie, and they did just that.

The Dynamiters were able to steal home ice advantage by winning game one in Creston, 3-2. KIJHL Round One Star James Farmer continued to shine as he earned a goal and an assist to help the Nitro’s keep pace with the Cats in periods one and two. It wasn’t until the third period when George Bertoia scored the game winning goal.

Looking back at game one, head coach and general manager of the Cats, Jeff Dubois, felt that his team was a little sleepy, because of their overconfidence in their series sweep against the Columbia Valley Rockies.

“I think we came out of the first round series being a little too impressed with ourselves, getting the sweep. Realistically our guys should've realized that in a Kimberley series things were not going to come easy. We took for granted that we have had a lot of success this past month, and we haven't faced a lot of adversity.

“Any way you want to measure playoff hockey: compete level, intensity, winning battles - Kimberley made us look bad in all those areas [during game one].”

In game two, the story line flipped as Austin Anselmo and Ronnie Wilkie each scored two goals and two assists to carry the Cats 4-1 over the Nitro’s.

“You have 24 hours to regroup” Dubois said, “and the guys did a great job of getting back to where they needed to [in game two].”

The Dynamiters wanted to win both games, and not just be content with splitting the games in Creston, but they looked flat throughout game two.

“Any team wants to win a series in four; we weren't looking for a split. We wanted to win [game two], of course.

“We didn't get anything going on our power play, five on five, or penalty killing.” Stuart said, “We were flat all night.

“Creston played well and we didn’t; now it becomes a best of five. The series is just getting going now.”

The Nitro’s want to “ctrl+alt+delete” game two from their memory,

“We need to forget about game two completely, delete it from our minds” Stuart said, “We just need to get back to playing our game.”

The series now shifts to the larger iced Kimberley Civic Centre for games three and four on Friday and Saturday. The bigger ice surface, rink history and crowd is something Cats bench boss Dubois is aware and cautious of:

“That’s a rink over the past couple of years that we haven't had fun in. But we did pick up a couple of wins in Kimberley in January. We won two very close and tight games in that building.

“Kimberley plays to the size of their ice really well, they use the whole ice.

“I'm sure Friday and Saturday the stands are going to be packed, we need to tune that out. If we play how we did in game two, we will be competitive.”

And the Dynamiters are thrilled to return home after three road games and partake in the energy that the Civic Centre crowd brings.

“The only home ice advantage any team has is their crowds. I believe we have the best fans in the conference. We are looking forward to feed of the energy that the crowd is going to bring.

“The series is just getting started now. The hate-on that is naturally there for a team like Fernie is starting to creep into our dressing room as well.”

The start time for the games on Friday and Saturday is 7p.m.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Kimberley Dynamiters finish exciting series with Ghostriders, prepare for Thunder Cats

The Kimberley Dynamiters closed out their series with the Fernie Ghostriders in a thrilling fashion, winning 3-2 in overtime to advance to the second round against the Cyclone Taylor Cup hosts, the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.

After securing a 2-0 lead that they built in the first 40 minutes, goals by Chase Miller and Nicholas Ketola, the Ghostrider’s entered the third period, as if they were the Griz taking down the grizzly bear. They fired shots from all angles, and found random holes in Campbell’s armour to tie the game at two with 2:09 left in the third, forcing overtime.

In hopes of a quick overtime result, the teams played a short ten minute first period of overtime. It remained a draw, so the ice was flooded and the teams returned for period two.

Tyler Van Steinburg, a local Cranbrook talent who is balancing life, school, and hockey, took command of the puck, soared in across the blueline and fired the puck in short side, scoring the overtime and series winning goal.

“Tyler is a guy that his skill level and hockey IQ is above this level. It seems like he decided to take the puck and go… and take charge.” Head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said. “It was a great play using his speed and the defencemen as a screen. He's got one of the best shots on the team and he utilized it.”

Van Steinburg and company celebrated their win right in front of Nitro faithful that made the road trip to Fernie.

Cody Campbell, who has helped lead the team to three wins in a row, made 45 saves for the win. During the past three games Campbell, has posted a 1.55 goals against average and a .956 save percentage.

“Since game three he has been outstanding. He has probably been most consistent guy, and he needs to be, because he is our starting goalie.” Stuart said. “To handle the pressure, with two of the last three in Fernie, with their crowd getting on him, in the environment, is really impressive for an 18-year-old rookie. He handled it excellently.”

The star of the series, and stand out point producer that currently sits first in the KIJHL playoff scoring race, is James Farmer. He recorded three goals and 10 assists, two of the goals and six of the assists were on the power play.

“The power play unit runs through him, he's been great. Very smart with the puck on the power play.” Stuart said, but added, “There are very few times where it doesn't look like he has been a defenceman his whole life.

“Everyone knew his ability with the puck, his vision, and his calmness with the puck. But defensively, without the puck, he has been excellent as well.”

Another accomplishment for the Dynamiters, despite winning the series, was escaping a series with the Ghostriders without any injuries.

“We are healthy right now, no one is injured. We somehow got out of that series unscathed, everyone is 100% healthy and ready to go.”

With a roster 100% healthy, the Dynamiters are ready to take on their new best-of-seven series opponent, the Thuner Cats.

The Thunder Cats dispatched the Columbia Valley Rockies in four games. They were lead by goaltender Brock Lefebvre and forwards Thomas Cankovic, four goals and eight assists, and Justen James, three goals and five assists.

The Dynamiters are excited for their new series and opponent.

“From our standpoint, we are excited. I think we match up well when we play our style of hockey.

“It is going to be a totally different opponent, I don't think you can get two different teams that are more different in their style and the way they play their game. We are going to have to shift gears mentally and preparing for a different opponent.”

The series opens Tuesday night at 7:30pm in Creston for Game One, with Game Two Wednesday in Creston. The series then shifts to Kimberley for games three and four on Friday and Saturday.

MATCH STICKS: Division final series from around the league, Beavery Valley Nitehawks vs Nelson Leafs; Osoyoos Coyotes vs Summerland Steam; Chase Heat vs Kamloops Storm.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

The Kimberley Dynamiters and Fernie Ghostriders Epic Series Continues

The Kimberley Dynamiters and Fernie Ghostriders continue to battle it out in the Eddie Mountain Division semi-final. Games Three and Four were played on Monday and Tuesday this week in Fernie.

The Kimberley Dynamiters went into Fernie feeling prepared and confident. It showed early during Game Three as the Nitro’s scored four power play goals in a row, scoring three of those goals within 90 seconds of eachother. The last time Kimberley did that, it was during Game One on Friday and they went on to win 8-3. With a 4-1 lead after 20 minutes, the Dynamiters were truly excited, but new they still had 40 minutes to play.

“We went into Fernie, we knew we could play there.” Head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said, “We were excited with our performance in the first.

“I got the sense that they were definitely a little over excited. No indication that they thought that had won the game.”

However, one thing Ghostriders head coach and general manager Craig Mohr wanted from his team was push back. That’s exactly what they did in the second period as they quickly erased the Nitro’s excitement and three goal lead within four minutes of the second period, doing so with only six shots on net.

“We had a couple lulls. We didn't get the goaltending we needed, Campbell would be the first to admit that, he told me that himself.”

“It is unfortunately one of those things that happens, not everyone will play their best every night. Unfortunately it cost us a win, but not the series.”

The Ghostriders would eventually steal the game 6-5 over the Kimberley Dynamiters.

In Game Four, the Kimberley Dynamiters showed their resiliency. For the second game in a row, they jumped out to an early 2-0 lead as Nolan Kurylo and Cody Lassiter would each score.

It was in the third period, up 2-1 on the Ghostriders, that the Dynamiters truly showed their cohesiveness and resilience. They were going to be shorthanded for nine minutes following a series of head contact penalties against George Bertoia.

“The attitude and excitement that the guys had to go out there and kill the penalty for George was phenomenal. They did an outstanding job.

“If there was any guy on the team that the players would choose to go to war with, it'd be George. It wasn't an easy seven minutes to kill, but at the same time, the player that made the mistake, it was easy to rally for him.”

Luckily, or thankfully, they only had to kill seven of the nine minutes due to a Fernie penalty. The ‘Riders would tie the game shortly after their power play ended.

With seven minutes left, the second in KIJHL Playoff scoring James Farmer got the puck on net, and Chase Miller found the loose puck to give the Dynamiters a 3-2 win in Fernie, levelling the series at two.

Cody Campbell had an excellent game, stopping 38 shots, and was named the Away Star of the Game.

“Campbell had a very impressive response to game three, he was calm and collected. Without him last night we would have been down 3-1. Those highlight reel saves give us a big boost and get our guys going”

With the series tied at two, it is now a best of three series. The series now shifts to Kimberley on Thursday, then Fernie on Friday, and back to Kimberley for game seven (if necessary).

MATCH STICKS: George Bertoia received an automatic suspension of two-games. James Farmer currently sits second in KIJHL Playoff scoring (2 goals, 7 assists). Fernie’s Kyle Haugo and Keegan Kingwell remain sidelined with injury.

Check it out in the Kimberley Bulletin/Cranbrook Townsman