The Kimberley Dynamiters had an up and down Cyclone Taylor experience, beginning with a loss, then a victory in a must-win game, then another loss, before playing for the bronze medal and winning.
After losing to the Campbell River Storm at the Cyclone Taylor Cup, head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said that the Kimberley Dynamiters wanted a second chance at playing the Storm.
“We were really hoping that Richmond were able to get into the finals,” Stuart said, “We wanted another crack at Campbell River really bad.”
It couldn’t have been scripted any better. Due to the outcome of the Saturday evening game, the Storm and Nitros were setup to play in the Bronze Medal Game.
Adding to the script, the Nitros dedicated this game to the 20 year olds on the team. And those same 20 year olds started the game.
As the puck dropped for the Bronze Medal Game, the Nitros had cleared the nightmare of a game from the day before against the Storm. But when the Storm scored first, the nightmare was expected to flash back, but didn’t intrude as much as expected.
“A really good thing was our resiliency.” Stuart said. “Even though they scored first, it didn’t impact us whatsoever. In fact, I think it made us hungrier.”
After 20 minutes, the VIJHL Champions, the Storm, were up 1-0, but trailed 7-8 in shots.
At nearly the two minute mark of the second, Brock Palmer skated from the Storm’s red line to the circle and shot the puck into the corner of the net, scoring on the power play to tie the game at one.
Moments later, Palmer had a breakaway, was stopped, but Cam Russell banged home the rebound. The Nitros were up 2-1.
A 1:15 later, Palmer scored again, and the Nitros had a 3-1 lead on the Storm.
The Nitros were not done scoring.
Bryce McDonald made a fantastic pass to Cooper Page, Kaboom, 4-1.
Thirty-four seconds later, Brandt Bertoia had a breakaway which he turned into a two-on-one and passed it to James Farmer, 5-1.
Then as the period was nearing a conclusion, James Farmer fired a point shot in on the power play. Now the Nitro’s had a commanding 6-1 lead going into the third.
Stuart summed it up by saying, “we controlled that second period.”
In the third, James Farmer would complete the hattrick, his second of the tournament.
“James was outstanding again. You give him opportunities, time and space with the puck, he is going to make you pay.”
The Dynamiters scored seven unanswered goals to win the Bronze Medal Game 7-1. Not the outcome they wanted for the tournament but the outcome they wanted for that day.
“It shows a lot about our character, of each individual and our team, in a game where we are playing a team that thumped us yesterday. Our compete level was outstanding. I was very proud of how they played.”
Cody Campbell made 16 saves in the win.
Brock Palmer was named the Star of the Game, scoring two goals and adding two assists.
“Brock, like in our win against Richmond, he was pretty shifty and controlled the puck. When you give him time and space to make a play, he will usually make a play. He was excellent again today.”
Winning was a bitter-sweet moment, it marked the end to the junior careers of: Farmer, Nicholas Ketola, Devon Langelaar, Brett Roberts, and Mason Palaga, as they aged out. It was also Campbell’s last game as he has committed to the University of Central Oklahoma next season.
“We were happy in the dressing room afterward, but at the same time guys started realizing that it was the last time that this group was going to be together playing a hockey game. There was a lot of hugging and some tears.
“These guys have been together for so long, almost eight months now, and have accomplished so much, and formed some very close bonds.”
Many took to social media to congratulate the team on their performance, including Kimberley’s mayor, Don McCormick:
“Congratulations to our KIJHL champion Dynamiters, winners of the bronze medal at the Cyclone Taylor Cup in Richmond.” He said in his Facebook post. “…What a season! Our entire community is very proud of you. And best of luck to the five 20 year olds moving on after an amazing final year. Smell the roses boys… you have earned it!”
The Dynamiters are now making their way home, stopping midway in Osoyoos. Then the team returns home on Monday and the players will disperse home after Wednesday.
MATCH STICKS: The Richmond Sockeyes, for their second time have won the Gold Medal while hosting the tournament. The Delta Ice Hawks, who beat the Sockeyes in the PJHL playoffs, took home the Silver Medal…. the tournament was expected to be high scoring with an average of 6.38 goals a game. The surprise was goal difference, a KIJHL fan shared on Twitter that six of the eight games had a three goal or larger spread.