The Kimberley Dynamiters continued their mission to come into the playoffs hot, winning their third and fourth games in a row this past weekend.
On Friday, the Nitros downed the Golden Rockets, and on Saturday, they followed it up with a hard-fought victory over the Spokane Braves.
The weekend opener in Golden got off to a slow start. After a scoreless first period, Kimberley defenceman Devon Langelaar scored the game’s first goal after the midway point in the second.
The Dynamiters restricted the Rockets to nine shots in 40 minutes, but the Rockets fought back in the third.
Cody Campbell made 19 saves, as the Dynamiters added three goals in the third period by Nolan Kurylo, George Bertoia, and Brandt Bertoia to win the game 4-0.
With the win, the Nitros took the season series 8-0 over the Rockets. Even more impressively, Kimberley kept Golden off the scoresheet in all four matches in their home arena, 240 total minutes of shutout hockey.
“The guys played really, really well defensively, it was a well spread out game,” said head coach and general manager Derek Stuart. “We limited their scoring chances, zone entrances, time in our zone. It was probably one of our most complete games from goal line to goal line.”
Blanking Golden was a short-term goal for the Dynamiters, and they met it. The next task was dealing with the Spokane Braves, an unfamiliar foe that they last met in October.
“It’s tough for us [since] we hadn’t played them in a while,” Stuart said. “I think some of our guys just looked at the standings and took for granted how hard they work and how physically strong some of their players are.
“I think some of our guys thought that it was going to be point night. Therefore, we were doing things that we don’t normally do.”
One of those things was fancy passing, trying to make the extra play. Nevertheless, the Nitros had a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes with a goal by Spokane product Nicholas Ketola. They also fired an astounding 23 shots in the first period.
In the middle period, the Nitros staked themselves out a 3-0 lead as Brandt Bertoia scored on a breakaway and Nic Herringer deflected one in.
The Braves showed their tenacity though and responded back. An intense Joe Karpyshyn scored to restore the Dynamiters three-goal lead, but it didn’t last long as the Braves scored again, ending the frame at 4-2.
The Dynamiters wouldn’t score again until their 60th shot of the game when Brandt Bertoia buried his second of the game and third of the weekend.
“I feel like both those breakaways [were created by] really nice passes by the guys [so] I’m pretty lucky,” Bertoia said after the game. “I don’t know if it was coincidence or not, but my parents were in the stands again. They made the trip [so I] got to impress them a little bit.”
The final score was 5-3 as the Braves scored in the final minute but couldn’t sustain a full comeback. Affiliate goaltender Adam Andersen (’00), made 22 saves for his second win of the season. The Dynamiters also dressed affiliate forward Braiden Koran (’01).
The Dynamiters are now focused on playing their last game of the regular season on Friday in Fruitvale against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks before starting the first round of the KIJHL playoffs against the Fernie Ghostriders on Friday, February 24.
For up-to-date Kimberley Dynamiter information visit: www.kimberleydynamiters.net/blog and follow Josh on twitter @joshuaklockhart.