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Nitros clinch second place in division rankings
There's no ice like home ice.
The Kimberley Dynamiters locked up home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs, beating the visiting Fernie Ghostriders 4-1 on Saturday night at the Civic Centre.
That clinched second place in the Eddie Mountain Division for the Dynamiters, setting up the 'Riders as their first-round opponents in the KIJHL post-season.
The game was a preview of the playoffs, with both teams set to meet one final time in the regular season next Saturday before opening the post-season on Tuesday, Feb. 25th.
"It had moments where both teams tried to assert themselves," said Dynamiters head coach Jerry Bancks. "I thought we did in the first half of the game and they did—especially in the third period—so both teams played hard.
"It was a good game."
Nitro forward Jared Marchi led the way with a goal and two assists while goaltender Jeremy Mousseau picked up the win with 32 saves.
Marchi scored the lone goal in the opening period on a bizarre play, which was initially waved off by the referee before reversing the call at the next whistle after a conference with fellow officials.
Dallin Wolf and Bryce Nielsen scored early into the middle period, building a commanding 3-0 lead after 40 minutes.
However, the Ghostriders rallied for the final period, and managed to score an early goal from Spender Bender. Nielsen added another goal for Kimberley in the final minute, scoring on a wide-open cage after the Riders pulled the goaltender for an extra attacker.
"I liked, especially in the first period, how hard we came out and forechecked, used our speed to our advantage," said Bancks. "I liked our goaltending, our goaltending's been a strength for the team all year long. I liked how our D moved the puck. I liked our penalty kill.
"Lots of good [things]. I just thought we took our foot off the gas pedal a little later in the game, started taking some shortcuts."
While the first-round division matchup between the Dynamiters and the Ghostriders is set, the Creston Valley Thunder Cats are waiting to see if the Golden Rockets or the Columbia Valley Rockies clinch the fourth and final playoff spot.