Dynamiters forward Keenan Haase (#27) and Nitehawks forward Sam Swanson (#29) duke it out during regular season action in January at the Kimberley Civic Centre.

Dynamiters forward Keenan Haase (#27) and Nitehawks forward Sam Swanson (#29) duke it out during regular season action in January at the Kimberley Civic Centre.

KIJHL: Dynamiters host Nitehawks in conference championship rematch

Kimberley Dynamiters & Beaver Valley Nitehawks set for second consecutive faceoff in KIJHL conference championship rematch

The Kimberley Dynamiters swept through the Creston Valley Thunder Cats in the second round of the KIJHL post-season, somewhat unexpectedly with many predicting a lengthy six- or seven-game battle. While the four-game series victory didn’t come easily with three contests requiring overtime, the quick dispatch provided the Eddie Mountain Division champs with some much-needed rest.

“The guys can be extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished so far,” said Jerry Bancks, head coach of the Dynamiters. “Now we’ve got more to do.”

That begins Tuesday night (7 p.m.), as the Dynamiters welcome the Neil Murdoch Division-champion Beaver Valley Nitehawks to the Kimberley Civic Centre for Game 1 of the best-of-seven Kootenay Conference championship.

“It’s huge going into the conference title series with big rest,” said Nitros alternate captain Jared Marchi. “It’s huge for the guys that have bumps or bruises or anyone that’s tired. It’s really important to get the rest now that we need to be energized for [the conference final].”

The Dynamiters enjoyed five full days off after completing a sweep of the Thunder Cats on March 9.

For the Nitehawks, their Neil Murdoch Division final stretched one game and two days further, as they defeated the Grand Forks Border Bruins by a 4-0 margin in Game 5 of their best-of-seven series March 11.

Two days might not seem like a lot, but in the realm of playoff hockey, it can be all the difference.

“It’s super important just because of the injuries we have,” said Dynamiters goaltender Tyson Brouwer. “It’s really important we get as much rest as we can. It’s going to be a lengthy playoff run, I’m imagining.

“We can’t get satisfied, you can’t sit around and wait for your next opponent and think because you swept you’re going to walk into the next series.

“Beaver Valley is a good team… You’ve got to keep level-headed. Even though we won last year, it’s harder this year than it was last year. We have to keep our heads on straight and focus on the prize.”

Playoff time is an all-out war at any level of hockey and the KIJHL is no exception.

While injury disclosure comes at a minimum there’s plenty that can be observed.

Keenan Haase has missed two games to date with what appears to be an upper-body injury, though was able to skate in his team’s Game 4 victory over Creston.

Captain Jason Richter looks sore, but with what Bancks’ characterized as “the heart of an Olympian,” there is no holding the peppy forward out of the lineup.

Tanner Wit missed Game 4 in Creston due to illness and Austyn Moser missed time  with an undisclosed injury during the first-round victory over Fernie.

On top of it all, James Rota is sporting a cast on his forearm/wrist, so it seems unlikely he will be available anytime soon.

The Nitros will need Haase and Richter, in particular, to be at as full strength as is possible if they’re to defeat a strong Nitehawks squad for the second consecutive season in the conference championship.

There’s no shortage of recent history between the two well-coached squads.

During the 2015 KIJHL post-season, the rivals met in the conference finale, with the Dynamiters booking a ticket to the KIJHL championship in five games.

During the 2015-16 regular season, the Nitros maintained an edge over the Nitehawks, claiming two victories in two games, though one required overtime.

What will transpire in 2016 remains to be seen, but there’s no question the Nitehawks should pose the Dynamiters toughest test to date.

Game 2 of the Kootenay Conference final is set for Wednesday (7 p.m.) at the Kimberley Civic Centre. From there, the series shifts to Fruitvale for Games 3 and 4, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Kootenay Conference ChampionshipBeaver Valley Nitehawks (2) vs. Kimberley Dynamiters (1)

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Forwards

DynamitersMarchi (6G-2A-8pts) saved his best hockey of the series for the final two games at Creston, registered three goals and an assist to help push his club to a division crown. Eric Buckley (4-5-9) and Sawyer Hunt (1-8-9) continue to provide timely contributions at both ends of the rink, while Richter (2-6-8) never quits.

NitehawksVeterans Jace Weegar (2-7-9), Kyle Hope (6-2-8), Devin Nemes (4-4-8) and Tyler Hartman (3-5-8) provide experience punch up front, while rookies Keillan Olson (1-9-10) and Tyler Ghirardosi (3-6-9) fuel with youth.

Defence

DynamitersRookie Tyler Van Steinburg (0-1-1) returned to the lineup at the start of the second round after battling an upper-body injury and provided an immediate steady presence. Jordan Busch (1-6-7) continues to log massive minutes, while George Bertoia (1-1-2) and Justin Meier (1-3-4) remain tough customers.

NitehawksMcKoy Hauck (2-3-5) is back and as nasty as ever, having racked up 34 penalty minutes through seven games thus far. Veteran Lyle Frank (0-3-3) provides valuable overage experience while rookies Brett Roberts (1-3-4) and Jake Yuris (0-3-3) infuse youth.

Goal

DynamitersTyson Brouwer (8-1, 1.48 GAA, .949 SP, two shutouts) might be the most motivated man in the KIJHL. While teammates in front of him had difficulty with slow starts in Games 1, 2 and 4 of the division final, Brouwer was razor sharp as the Nitros found their legs.

NitehawksTallon Kramer (7-1, 1.35 GAA, .944 SP, two shutouts) took the drivers seat after veteran Brett Clark (1-0, 5.00 GAA, .884 SP) was injured in the first game of the post-season. Kramer has posted monstrous numbers during the playoff run to date, and was nothing short of spectacular when his team visited Kimberley in January.

KIJHL Kootenay Conference Championship scheduleGame 1 – Tuesday, March 15 at Kimberley Civic Centre (7 p.m.)Game 2 – Wednesday, March 16 at Kimberley Civic Centre (7 p.m.)Game 3 – Friday, March 18 at Beaver Valley Arena (Fruitvale, 8:30 p.m.)Game 4 – Saturday, March 19 at Beaver Valley Arena (Fruitvale, 8:30 p.m.)*Game 5 – Monday, March 21 at Kimberley Civic Centre (7 p.m.)*Game 6 – Tuesday, March 22 at Beaver Valley Arena (Fruitvale, 8 p.m.)*Game 7 – Thursday, March 24 at Kimberley Civic Centre (7 p.m.)

* = if necessary; all times listed are Mountain

Just Posted

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

A B.C. police officer shows an approved roadside screening device. Photo: Saanich News file
Woman caught passed out behind the wheel in Trail

Police located the 38-year old in her parked but still running car, and had to rouse her awake.

Jade Osecki leading a Fridays for Future climate march in Nelson in 2020. Photo: Submitted
Nelson Grade 12 student Jade Osecki wins Suzy Hamilton Award

Carolyn Schramm was also honoured in this year’s environmental award for West Kootenay women

Photo courtesy of Mercer Celgar
Mercer Celgar to install new technology thanks to $4.5 million in federal funds

Project features process to improve fibre processing and address regional fibre availability issues

Asian clams versus native B.C. clams comparison. Photo: Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society
Invasive Asian Clams found in Pend D’Oreille River

Watercraft users and anglers are urged to clean, drain and dry gear

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says re-opening B.C.’s border to the U.S. ‘is not in our best interest’ right now. (B.C. Government photo)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (B.C. Government photo)
B.C. records 113 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, four deaths

Vaccination of young people rising quickly, near 75 per cent

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S President Joe Biden shake hands during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
Biden says meeting with Putin not a ‘kumbaya moment’

But U.S. president asserted Russian leader is interested in improved relations, averting a Cold War

For more than a year, Rene Doyharcabal and a small group of neighbours in Langley’s Brookswood neighbourhood have been going out every evening to show support for first responders by honking horns and banging pots and drums. Now, a neighbour has filed a noise complaint. (Langley Advance Times file)
Noise complaint filed against nightly show of support for health care workers in B.C. city

Langley Township contacted group to advise of complaint, but no immediate action is expected

A nurse prepares a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Thomas
Vancouver couple pleads guilty to breaking Yukon COVID rules, travelling for vaccine

Chief Judge Michael Cozens agreed with a joint sentencing submission,

An inmate in solitary confinement given lunch on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN/Lars Hagberg
22-hour cap on solitary confinement for youth in custody still too long: B.C. lawyer

Jennifer Metcalfe was horrified to hear a youth had spent a total of 78 straight days in isolation

Old growth in the Columbia Valley, in the Kinbasket area. (Photo submitted)
Wildsight: Old-growth forests are being logged in Golden

Wildsight says that Canfor has been logging old growth at the Blaeberry headwaters

Most Read