The City of Kimberley showed once again why the Kimberley Dynamiters are subculture to the community, as nearly 650 fans piled into the Kimberley Civic Centre on a Monday night to see Game Five between the Kimberley Dynamiters and Columbia Valley Rockies. A win by the Dynamiters, and they advance to the Kootenay Conference Finals for the fourth year in a row.
In typical small town fashion, the principal from a school in town, filled in to sing O Canada!
As expected, this game was tightly contested. The Rockies wanted to extend their season one more game, and the Nitro’s wanted to avoid returning to Invermere Tuesday night.
Brandt Bertoia scored his fifth of the playoffs giving the Dynamiters a lead going into the first intermission.
But as expected, the Rockies came back. Their captain, Ryan Skytt, who was on a mission and a force on the ice, leveled the game at one apiece.
Moments later, Bryce McDonald passed the puck to James Farmer who redirected it in, 2-1 Nitros.
The Rockies came back, again. This time it was Chase Hawkins scoring on the power play, 2-2. This was the first time this series that the Rockies scored more than a goal.
“[The Rockies] played really good. I am very impressed with all their games, they gave us a tough go, perhaps at times it was tougher than our players thought.” Head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said. “They definitely had an answer and took the game to us at times.”
After 40 minutes the game was knotted at two, and the stomach turning nervousness settled in at the Civic Centre.
“There was more desperation on our part [going into the third], which is something that we were hoping for right from the start of the game.” Stuart said. “We needed to be more desperate in wanting to advance than they were wanting to extend their season.”
“Our guys, like they have done all season, really stepped it up in the third.”
After a scoreless 10 minutes in the third, Matt Davies scored his first goal of the playoffs, and his first 12 games – going back to the regular season.
“It was a big moment for me personally.” Davies said, “It’s been a long time coming and it was nice to see a bounce finally go my way here. Takes a lot of stress off my back for sure.”
“We reassured Matt that he has been playing well the past month and a half.” Staurt said. “Especially in the playoffs, he has been one of our better players night in and night out. It was good to see him get rewarded.”
Davies then set up Nicholas Ketola with saucer pass, that Ketola buried, and all of sudden the Nitro’s had doubled the Rockies score with 7:50 left to play.
The Rockies called a timeout shortly after the two minutes remaining mark, and the pulled their goalie. Davies, who found an extra gear this period, was able to score an empty net goal, his second goal of the night, and his third point.
Davies would receive the Home Star, as the Nitro’s put an end to the Columbia Valley Rockies impressive post-season.
“I think we played a pretty solid game.” Davies said “Obviously in playoffs every game has their ups and downs, but I think in the end we managed to control our emotions and found a way to get the job done.”
As is tradition, the two teams shook hands at centre ice. Then in classy fashion, fans at the Civic Centre applauded the Rockies for their effort as they left the ice, and then the Nitros saluted the crowd, and the team and community celebrated advancing to the Kootenay Conference Finals for a fourth year in a row.
Looking back at the series, Davies felt the team learned an important lesson, “I think the biggest thing we learned was that we can still play our game against the bigger and more physical teams like the Rockies. We were able to match their physicality and showed that we’re willing to do whatever it takes to get wins.”
The Kimberley Dynamiters now prepare for the Kootenay Conference Finals this Friday as they host the Nelson Leafs at the Kimberley Civic Centre.