The Kimberley Dynamiters spotted themselves a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Kootenay Conference championship with a heart-stopping third period comeback in a 4-2 win Wednesday night at the Kimberley Civic Centre.
That victory didn’t come easily and the next won’t be any easier as the Nitros take their KIJHL championship defense on the road to Fruitvale for Games 3 and 4 this weekend.
“We can’t get too high, can’t get too low here,” said Nitros captain Jason Richter, who scored the game-winner Wednesday night. “We haven’t been on a roadtrip with the fellas in a long time. We’re all pretty excited about it. We’re a close-knit group here. It’s exciting and we’re going to take it one game at a time.”
With a 2-0 lead through 40 minutes in Wednesday’s Game 2 defeat, the Nitehawks were painfully close to evening the series 1-1. Instead, they head home looking to claw their way out of a hole.
“We’ve got to play a full 60 minutes against this team,” said Terry Jones, head coach of the Nitehawks. “I thought [Game 2] was a better effort all around. We finished a lot more checks. We wore their top players down a bit more. We’ve got to control the momentum.
“I’m hopeful we can come out, establish ourselves and our gameplan, get going offensively and continue to bear down offensively.
“It’s a seven-game series and we’ve got to win the next game.”
In their lone trip to Beaver Valley earlier this season, the Nitros escaped with a 4-3 overtime victory in January.
“You’ve got to simplify your game, plain and simple,” said Jerry Bancks, head coach of the Dynamiters. “Keep the puck going forward, keep chipping it out, chipping it in and go get ‘em, forecheck hard.”
Game 3 is slated for 8:30 p.m. (Mountain) at the Beaver Valley Arena in Fruitvale, with Game 4 going at the same time Saturday.
Should the Nitehawks claim a win on home ice, the series returns to Kimberley for Game 5 on Monday at 7 p.m.