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Eddie Mountain Division Dominates Opening Weekend of New KIJHL Season

The 2019/2020 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League regular season is officially underway, following an opening weekend of Junior B hockey that included two multi-overtime games, one penalty-filled battle, and three one-goal games.

Creston Valley Thunder Cats (2-0-0-0)

Creston split their time to usher in a new KIJHL season as the Thunder Cats hit the road Friday against the Spokane Braves before returning home on Saturday for their home opener against the Nelson Leafs. The Thunder Cats opened the new year with back-to-back wins. On Friday, Creston clobbered the Braves 7-1 as Carson Small led the team with four points (2G, 2A) while Connor Scammell had three assists. Entering their home opener at Johnny Bucyky Arena on Saturday, the Thunder Cats kept their momentum, beating the Leafs 5-1. Ty Grisdale (1G, 2A) and Josh Dalquist (1G, 2A) led Creston with three points apiece. Also of note, netminder Riley O’Laney was strong between the pipes, picking up both wins while allowing just two goals on 55 shots, starting the season with a .964 SV%. Creston hits the road this coming weekend, travelling to Invermere on Friday to battle the Columbia Valley Rockies before venturing into Fernie on Saturday to take on the Ghostriders. Both of those contests hit the ice at 7:30 pm at their respective venues.

Kimberley Dynamiters (2-0-0-0)

The Dynamiters opened their season at the Kimberley Civic Centre, hosting both the Beaver Valley Nitehawks and Osoyoos Coyotes. Kimberley would manage a perfect 2-0 start to their season, pulling out a 4-3 win in double overtime over the Nitehawks on Friday before a 6-3 over the Coyotes on Saturday. Brock Palmer netted a hat-trick in Friday’s victory, including the overtime winner in the second extra frame, as he also added one assist on the Dynamiters first goal of the season just 13 seconds into the game. Palmer remained red hot on Saturday as well, scoring two goals to lead the team, while Cam Russell, Mitch Fargey, Austin Daniels, and Brady Daniels also finished with a pair of points. Kimberley remains at home this coming weekend, as they get set to host the Nelson Leafs on Friday and the Columbia Valley Rockies on Saturday. Both game times are 7:00 pm at Kimberley Civic Centre.

Columbia Valley Rockies (1-0-0-0)

A quiet start to their season, the Columbia Valley Rockies had just one game on the opening weekend of the KIJHL season, as they hosted the Osoyoos Coyotes at Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena on Friday. In a close contest, Columbia Valley would pull away in the third period with a pair of goals from Jonathan Milligan and Caileb Berge while the Coyotes would score their second goal late in the final frame, failing to complete the comeback. Eight different Rockies players found the scoresheet on Friday as no one posted a multi-point game. Columbia Valley did run into a hot goaltender though, throwing 49 shots on goal, as Braedyn Funke made 46 saves in the loss. The Rockies split their time next weekend, as they entertain the Creston Valley Thunder Cats at 7:30 pm on Friday at the Eddie before a trip into Kimberley on Saturday to take on the Dynamiters, also at 7:30 pm.

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Fernie Ghostriders (1-0-0-0)

Like the Rockies, the Fernie Ghostriders had only one game on opening weekend, as they travelled over the to West Kootenay to go head-to-head with the Nelson Leafs. Starting the season off on the right foot, the Ghostriders edged the Leafs 3-2 in overtime in what turned out to be an ugly battle. Jordon Kromm would open the scoring for Fernie, although Nelson would even the game later in the first period. Following a scoreless but penalty-filled second period, both teams would trade goals in the third to force overtime as the Leafs evened the game with 1:14 left to play. In the extra frame, Daniel Lindeman would be the overtime hero for the Ghostriders, capitalizing on the power play as Bryden Pow was sent to the box for slashing. The story of the game was the penalty minutes as 16 misconducts were handed out by the referees, six of which were game misconducts, while two others were non-fighting game misconducts. In total, both teams collected a combined 267 penalty minutes, 249 of which were in the second period. Fernie is back in action with two games this coming weekend, first travelling to Golden on Friday for a matchup with the Rockets at 7:30 pm before hosting the Creston Valley Thunder Cats at 7:30 pm on Saturday for their home opener at Fernie Memorial Arena.

Golden Rockets (1-1-0-0)

On the road to open their KIJHL season, the Golden Rockets split their weekend. Kicking off the 2019/2020 season in Kamloops, the Rockets outlasted the Storm 3-1 as Colton Hutchinson (1G, 1A) and Jacob Dewar (1G, 1A) each led the Rockets with two points apiece. Looking to maintain their momentum, the Rockets rolled into 100 Mile House on Saturday for a meeting with the Wranglers. 100 Mile House jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the opening period and never looked back as the Wranglers handed the Rockets their first loss of the new season, 7-2. Evan Angus scored both goals for Golden in the loss. The Rockets will now return to Golden this weekend for their home opener as the Fernie Ghostriders come to town on Friday, with both teams matching up at 7:30 pm from Golden Arena. Following Friday’s contest, the Rockets will then travel to Chase on Saturday, hitting the ice at Art Holding Memorial Arena at 7:30 pm.

Eddie Mountain Division Standings

Creston Valley Thunder Cats 2 2 0 0 0 4 12 2 10 W2
Kimberley Dynamiters 2 2 0 0 0 4 10 6 4 W2
Columbia Valley Rockies 1 1 0 0 0 2 3 2 1 W1
Fernie Ghostriders 1 1 0 0 0 2 3 2 1 W1
Golden Rockets 2 1 1 0 0 2 5 8 -3 L1
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