Tuesday, 10 April 2018

The Kimberley Dynamiters have shifted focus to the Cyclone Taylor Cup

The Kimberley Dynamiters headed out Tuesday to Richmond to compete for the Cyclone Taylor Cup.

It was only three years ago, in 2015, that the Dynamiters represented the KIJHL in the Cyclone Taylor Cup in Mission City. This year, they are heading 75 km's more West.

While the Dynamiters have had a goal all season to win the KIJHL, they didn't set goals past that - even though a natural consequence of winning the league, is to represent the league in provincials.

"It's an added bonus, we never spoke about the Cyclone Taylor Cup all year." Head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said. "We were so focused on winning our own league, it is tough enough to do that.

"We will get our mind set on the Cyclone Taylor Cup, it is definitely a goal to go there and win now."

The KIJHL has done well at the tournament the past five years, earning six medals: three gold, two silver (including the Dynamiters in 2015), and a bronze.

"It's an honour [to represent the KIJHL]" Stuart said, "there are so many good teams in this league, to have to go through four best-of-sevens to win the league is really grinding.

"To win this league and be able to represent it when we go to Richmond, we are going to do the best job we can to represent the league properly."

The Dynamiters were the last team to qualify for the tournament, with only five days between winning the KIJHL and playing their first game against the Delta Ice Hawks Thursday.

"Hopefully it is an advantage to keep rolling. We need the rest, but we don't need any more than that. We are going to be coming in fresh.

"Playing less than a week later is hopefully an advantage for us as opposed to some of the teams that have had to wait a while."

As for the players, Mason Palaga and captain Brett Roberts both shared the message of, "it is a quick turn around, but we will be ready."

The Nitro's will be up against the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League champions, Campbell River Storm; the Pacific Junior Hockey League champions Delta Ice Hawks; and Richmond Sockeyes, the hosts from the PJHL.

The Campbell River Storm are competing in the Cyclone for the fourth year in a row, and were just announced as the 2019 Cyclone Taylor Cup hosts. The Storm were top in the VIJHL during the regular season with 78 points in 48 games.

The Storm then went on to post a 12-4 record en route to the VIJHL title. They have had success at the tournament earning medals the past three years, and continue to look to build on their success.

PJHL champions, Delta Ice Hawks, are competing in the Cyclone for the first time since 2012 when they won bronze. The Ice Hawks posted BC's best winning percentage during the regular season, winning 87.5% of their games. They went 12-3 during the playoffs to win their leagues title.

Hosts Richmond Sockeyes lost to the Delta Ice Hawks in the second round of the PJHL playoffs, but posted the second best record in the PJHL, and had the fifth best winning percentage in BC, 78.4%.

Since the round robin format began in 2004, the Sockeyes have been in the tournament four times, winning gold three times, and placing fourth the other time. One of those gold medals was when they were the hosts in 2009.

Host teams have had great success in the tournament winning medals 11 of the past 14 years, and are currently on a three year streak.

Nitro's Cyclone Taylor Cup Schedule (times are MDT)
Thursday 4:30 pm vs Delta Ice Hawks
Friday 8:30 pm vs Richmond Sockeyes
Saturday 4:30 pm vs Campbell River Storm

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