Saturday, 9 September 2017

Kimberley Dynamiters win their season home opener 6-1

The Kimberley Dynamiters opened their season on Friday against the Columbia Valley Rockies, and did so in fashion with a 6-1 victory.

After player introductions, the Nitro's needed only half of a period to get the first goal of the season by Mason Palaga, the Kamloops defender was acquired from the Chase Heat in the off-season. The 770 fans that packed the hazy Civic Centre were about to see that Palaga wasn't done setting his already impressive first impression.

"I have never played in front of crowd like this." Palaga said after the game, "it was amazing, I can't express how nice it felt."

Unfortunately, what has become a theme for the Nitro's at the start of the season, rink troubles, and the first period had to be concluded prematurely, and then the remainder played out at the start of the second period.

The Rockies began firing back in the middle frame, but local goaltender Adam Andersen stood his ground.

"Adam was very good out there." head coach and general manager Derek Staurt said. "He kept us in a few times... He's getting more confidence, I think the nerves of playing in front of the hometown are gone."

Andersen's play allowed Nick Ketola to scored early on the power play, sliding the puck in the low corner, giving the Nitro's a 2-0 lead heading into the second intermission.

The Rockies were able to get on the board and cut the Nitro's lead in half. But after that moment, a fuse was lit, and the Nitro's exploded. Palaga, and the signed-that-morning Austin Hope, would both score twice, leading the Nitro's to a 6-1 victory.

"We just started to click." Palaga smiled. "Everyone just started to realize what to do. We clicked and it worked well."

Palaga said that that was absolutely the first impression he wanted to send at the start of the season, but added: "Most of all we were just wanting to get the win, these points matter later on in the year. I was just worried about the win, and glad we got it."

While Palaga was an obvious star of the game offensively, scoring the hattrick and adding an assist, Stuart said that Brett Roberts played an excellent game defensively.

"He was the best overall defencemen. Moving pucks forward, being physical and taking care of our net. We gave him the coaches game puck. He played defense how we want everyone to play defense. We are very happy with how he played defence."

Stuart added that both Luke Recchi and Matt Davies stood out. "Luke Recchi was energetic out there and really good on the penalty kill. Matt Davies was really good, and had a lot of shining moments while controlling the puck, he made some really good plays."

While Stuart felt there was a lot of good things that came out of the game, it was only the first time that this squad of 20 players played together, and he felt that there were still parts of the game to work on.

The Nitro's then head on the road to play the Nelson Leafs.

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