The Kimberley Dynamiters won one of the strangest, and longest games of the year.
Game One went into double overtime and ended at 10:38 pm when Brandt Bertoia scored the winning goal.
Game Two, didn’t go in to overtime, but it ended at 10:44 pm.
The Dynamiters continued their success on the power play, as James Farmer scored the teams third power play goal of the series to open the scoring.
The Nitros continued to build on their lead in the first period as Bryce McDonald and Farmer scored the teams second and third goals.
To start the second, the Grizz swapped keepers, with Liam McGarva coming in for relief for Giovanni Sambrielaz. This was McGarva’s first game since February 17. Intriguingly, McGarva was named the Doug Birks Division Top Goaltender.
The Grizz started taking control of the game, and limited the Nitros to one shot in the first half of the second. Cody Campbell showed why he is considered one of the leagues top goalies, as he held the Grizz at bay.
Then a hit made a stanchion come loose, and play was stopped. Both teams enjoyed a lengthy timeout, and then play resumed.
Moments later, in that exact same corner, with the exact same section of glass, the pane completely fell out after a hit.
Play was stopped. And a ladder and a tape measure were brought out. With that, both teams were sent to the dressing room for a mid-period intermission.
“It was weird.” Grizzlies head coach and general manager Ryan Parent said.”The facility in Kimberley has some issues with their glass. I have never seen anything like that where the glass continues to fall out in the same corner.”
But then he added, “I don’t think it was really a factor in the game.”
For 20 minutes the city crews worked ferociously to replace the pane of glass. It was installed, and play resumed for period two and a half.
Clutch scorer Bertoia did it again as the second wound down, scoring with 1.6 seconds left to make it a 4-0 game.
“That goal is on us,” Parent said. “We were in the right spot, but you have to make a hard play. They deserved the goal, we deserved to let one by.”
Third period. Third goal for Farmer with 19:33 left in the game, and a massive 5-0 lead for the Nitros.
“It feels good.” Farmer said, straight to the point. “I capitalized.”
And then that same spot, yet again, the glass needed to be replaced.
This time the players stayed out, and did their best to keep themselves warm; most stretched, one danced!
Farmer said that the team stayed focused because, “We know what we are playing for, and we all really want it, and we showed it tonight.”
Instead of replacing the glass with glass, plywood was used as a substitute. Then that corner was less utilized by the players, no one wanting to get slivers in the face.
The Grizzlies got on the board with a power play goal of their own, scored by Cole Golden.
Just as the game was beginning to wind down, Colby Sherlock was then penalized for hitting from behind. As the roughing ensued, the beer section got extra rowdy and hung over the glass. Now another pane of glass needed to be replaced!
It was now 10:40 pm, and a 1:18 still needed to be played out.
Crews worked quickly to fix this new broken stanchion.
As the worked, the officials decided to run down the clock. Play did not resume, and the Dynamiters anticlimactically won the game 5-1 to take a 2-0 series lead.
“We were much better than last night,” Niros head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said. “I thought there was more urgency. We were moving pucks better, we were skating better. We got a couple of goals when we were in a good position. Overall, execution and attention to detail was better tonight.”
Campbell made 30 saves for his and the teams 14th win of the post season.
Farmer, with his first career hattrick, was named the Home Star of the Game.
“Farmer was excellent, obviously.” Stuart said. “Just the determination and the drive, you could sense it in him in his first couple of shifts. To get the three goals he got were just out of sheer determination. He just wanted it. He was the best player on the ice and an outstanding leader.”
The Dynamiters dressed affiliate player Erik Delaire.
“He was real good, really solid and impressive.” Stuart said. “He is very capable of playing in this league, and he proved it tonight.”
The Dynamiters are now short two players due to suspension, Cam Russell (out for three games) and Sherlock (suspension not listed, but expected).
“Our depth, we go through our depth. We have 20 guys in Nitro’s jerseys, and we are not too concerned with who they are. It is actually a difficult decision the day of the game deciding who not to play, which is a good thing for the coaches.”
The Grizzlies are now looking forward to playing at home as they try to get into the series.
“We are going to have to figure it out,” Parent said. “Your goaltending has to be in sync with your team. I don’t think our group has been entirely focused. I don’t think we have played our best hockey, and that is on us.”
Game Three and Four is in Revelstoke on Monday and Tuesday at 8:00 pm MDT.
“The pressure is all on them,” Stuart said. “They need to win next game to avoid facing elimination. We are going to try and play a simple road game.”
“We are going to have to be better.” Parent said. “We have to bring it, and we have to play.
“You have to have urgency. It’s the playoffs, you have to be urgent in every game.”
MATCH STICKS: The Cyclone Taylor Cup in Richmond is coming together. The Campbell River Storm have won the VIJHL, and the Delta Ice Hawks won the PJHL…. Great work by the city crews for working under the pressure of two teams and 1,077 fans.