It was a winning weekend for the KIJHL’s Eddie Mountain Division as the Fernie Ghostriders extended their winning streak to eight games, while the Kimberley Dynamiters have now won four straight, and the Golden Rockets have also won their last three.
Kimberley Dynamiters (33-4-0-2)
The Kimberley Dynamiters needed overtime to extend their winning streak to four games, once again sweeping their two opponents for the second straight weekend. In Nelson on Friday to battle the Leafs, the Dynamiters emerged as the 4-3 victors. Tied 1-1 after 20 minutes, Kimberley took a 3-2 lead in the second period, although Shawn Campbell would tie the game for Nelson in the closing minutes of the third to eventually force overtime where Cam Russell (1G, 1A) would score the game-winning goal for the Dynamiters. Friday was also a major milestone for the franchise as Brock Palmer (1G, 1A) scored in the opening three minutes, officially surpassing Jared Marchi (97G, 117A, 214P) as the team’s all-time leading scorer. Palmer now boasts 216 points (90G, 126A) in 131 career games in the KIJHL. Following Friday’s win over Nelson, the Dynamiters travelled to Trail to take on the Beaver Valley Nitehawks. Both teams were entrenched in a defensive battle that eventually led to a 1-0 Dynamiters win in overtime. Keegan McDowell scored the game-winning goal while Adam Andersen made 26 saves for the fifth shutout of his KIJHL career. Kimberley now prepares for a three-game week as they match up with the Fernie Ghostriders at 7:00 pm MST on Tuesday from the Kimberley Civic Centre and on Friday at 7:30 pm MST from Fernie Memorial Arena. After the home-and-home series with the Ghostriders, the Dynamiters head into Creston to take on the Thunder Cats at 7:30 pm MST on Saturday at Johnny Bucyk Arena.
Fernie Ghostriders (25-10-1-3)
Entering the weekend with just one game on their schedule, the Fernie Ghostriders stretched their seven-game winning streak to eight. Facing off on Friday against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats from Fernie Memorial Arena, the Ghostriders crushed the Cats 6-2. Although the Ghostriders were outshot 56-44 in the contest, Fernie weathered the storm and proved effective on offense. Seven different Fernie players had two-point games while Brett Balas posted a .964 SV% in his second start with the Ghostriders as he made 54 saves in the win. Outscoring their opponents 33-13 over their eight-game winning streak, Fernie will look to ride the wave of momentum that has come full circle. Originally igniting their winning streak with a 2-0 shutout win over the Kimberley Dynamiters, the Ghostriders and Dynamiters meet for the first time since that December 28th matchup. Fernie travels to Kimberley for a 7:00 pm MST matchup on Tuesday at the Civic Centre before hosting the Dynamiters at 7:30 pm MST on Friday at Fernie Memorial Arena. The Ghostriders close out their weekend schedule at home Saturday with a 7:30 pm MST contest against the visiting Golden Rockets.
Columbia Valley Rockies (19-14-2-4)
After losing both of their games last weekend, the Columbia Valley Rockies bounced back on their most recent road trip. Splitting their games with the Chase Heat and Sicamous Eagles, the Rockies have a comfortable nine-point lead in the playoff race from the last place Golden Rockets. Opening their weekend in Chase, the Rockies fell 3-1 Friday night. Gavin Fleck was the lone goal scorer while Bretton Park made 36 saves in the losing effort. Now on a three-game losing skid, Columbia Valley turned everything around on Saturday with a hard-fought 5-3 win over the Sicamous Eagles. Outshooting Sicamous 35-21, the Rockies piled on three goals in the second period, to skate away with the win. Gareth Nichols (1G, 1A), Erik Lloyd (1G, 1A), and Kyle Boudreau (2A) all led the Rockies with two points apiece. Columbia Valley now looks ahead to a split weekend, as they will be in Creston on Friday to take on the Thunder Cats at 7:30 pm MST from Johnny Bucyk Arena before a 7:00 pm MST matchup on Saturday back at Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena against the visiting Beaver Valley Nitehawks from the opposing Neil Murdoch Division in the Kootenay Conference.
Creston Valley Thunder Cats (16-15-0-5)
The Creston Valley Thunder Cats recorded their first win of 2020, defeating the Grand Forks Border Bruins 5-4 in overtime on Saturday, which snapped a season-long seven-game losing skid. The losing streak was extended on Friday however, as the Thunder Cats opened up their weekend with a big 6-2 loss to the Fernie Ghostriders at Fernie Memorial Arena. Benjamin Kruse and Trail Thompson were the goal scorers for Creston in the loss, as the team fired 56 shots on goal but just couldn’t seem to solve new Ghostriders netminder Brett Balas. Returning to Johnny Bucyk Arena on Saturday, the Thunder Cats would shake the monkey off their back with a 5-4 overtime victory over Grand Forks. Derek Green (2G, 1A) and Andrew Clark (3A) led Thunder Cats with three points each while Connor Scammell (2G) and Logan Berggren (2A) were also big offensive contributors. Scammell scored Creston’s opening goal and the game-winning goal, while Green scored the two goals to force overtime for the Thunder Cats, including the game-tying goal with 1:24 remaining. Creston hunkers down at home this upcoming weekend, hosting the Columbia Valley Rockies and Kimberley Dynamiters at 7:30 pm MST on Friday and Saturday.
Golden Rockets (16-18-1-2)
Preparing for a busy three-game road trip this past weekend, the Golden Rockets took care of business and are making their case for the KIJHL playoffs. In Grand Forks, Castlegar, and Spokane, the Rockets skated to 7-4, 6-3 and 5-3 victories to pull within two points of the Thunder Cats for the final playoff spot in the Eddie Mountain Division. Dominic Turner (3G, 1A) and Bryce Trimmer (1G, 2A) had monster games for the Rockets on Friday in their 7-4 win over the Border Bruins while Ryan Baker made 39 saves. Colton Hutchinson (2G) and Connor Funke (2G) were the team leaders in Saturday’s 6-3 win over the Rebels, although Brandon Weare turned aside 50 of 53 shots to steal the win for the Rockets as Golden only managed 35 shots on goal in the victory. Lastly, the Rockets ignited their three-game winning streak with a 5-3 win over the Spokane Braves. Although they were outshot again, 47-38, Ryan Baker made 44 stops and nine different Rockets players made their way on the scoresheet as Golden held on for the 5-3 win. Golden is now just two points back of Creston for the final playoff spot in the Eddie Mountain Division as they gear up to play the Beaver Valley Nitehawks and Fernie Ghostriders. The Rockets host the Nitehawks at 7:30 pm MST on Friday at Golden Arena before travelling to Fernie Memorial Arena on Saturday for a 7:30 pm MST showdown with the Ghostriders.
Eddie Mountain Division Standings
|Columbia Valley Rockies||39||19||14||2||4||44||134||118||16||W1|
|Creston Valley Thunder Cats||36||16||15||0||5||37||123||139||-16||W1|