On Tuesday the Kimberley Dynamiters traveled to Creston to play the Thunder Cats. Entering the game, the Nitros trailed the season series 0-2-1.
This game was one of the more anticipated games of the season so far, due to the outcome the last time these two teams met. There was also KIJHL and BC Hockey representatives in attendance.
Both teams were still suffering from the outcomes of the penalty filled 8-1 win for the Cats over the Nitros, as both teams had players still out due to suspension.
The first period was a fast paced draw. Adam Andersen turned aside all 13 shots he faced in the period, while the Dynamiters had no scoring success on their 14 shots.
The Nitros have struggled in the middle period in the past, and this game was no exception. The Cats chased Andersen from the net scoring three goals on five shots in just over 10 minutes. The Cats were not done, and scored a fourth goal against Cody Campbell with just over four minutes left in the second.
“There were defensive breakdowns.” Head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said. “We had a couple miscoverages, and one moment where the player went for the poke-check instead of the body.”
Brandt Bertoia answered back for the Nitros, scoring with 140 seconds left. But it felt like it was too little too late and that the Nitros had lost the game in 40 minutes of play, trailing 4-1.
“We told the guys [in the second intermission] to stop panicking and to have some poise, and to play with some confidence. We know we are better team then we showed in the second period.”
“The message was simply to relax and have some fun out there.”
The Dynamiters came bursting out in the third period with Bryce McDonald and Derian Bamber scoring 66 seconds apart before two minutes had even elapsed in the third period. The comeback was on.
The period waned on and it began to look like the Cats had held on long enough. The Dynamiters pulled their goalie with just over a minute left. With the 22 seconds left the Cats called a timeout after icing the puck. There was a scramble in the corner and the Cats cleared the puck out to a waiting-in-the-slot Mason Palaga who fired the puck nailing the water bottle to tie the game with 9 seconds remaining.
In the first four-on-four over-time the Nitros got a glorious opportunity with a four-on-three power play. Several posts and close calls, and this game remained knotted at four after the four-on-four fourth period.
The second over-time period began, it was three-on-three. There was a lot of ice to work with. At times the Cats elected to go with three forwards, while the Nitros went with two forwards and a defender.
The action was frantic. Nitro’s leading scorer Brock Palmer emerged with the puck from the corner on his forehand, reaching to wrap the puck around the goalie, hitting the post. He followed up the loose puck and scored the overtime winning goal, completing the come from behind win. Stunning all the fans, players and coaches.
“I think our depth took over.” Stuart said. “There is only so many minutes James, Plunkett, and Wilkie can play, that line started running out of gas.”
For the first time this season the Kimberley Dynamiters defeated the Creston Valley Thunder Cats. With the win the Nitros hold a seven point lead on the Cats.
“I liked our first, third and overtime. We have talked about how hard it is to play a full 60 minutes, and we are striving for it.
“At this point, against these guys, just to get the win mentally was all we are looking for.”
The Cats and Nitros face off again on Saturday at the Civic Centre, the Nitros only game this weekend. The Cats, of course, will want redemption from the over-time loss, and to reign in the Nitros in the standings.
The game starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Kimberley Civic Centre on Saturday.