This KIJHL Notebook takes a look at how teams performed overall in November and how some of the players made contributions to team success. There is also more good news from Princeton, a perspective on how the Posse have helped their community from a residents perspective.
Eddie Mountain Division
The Columbia Valley Rockies are coming off a 6-1 loss to the Kimberley Dynamiters and are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games. The Rockies lead the division by a point over the Dynamiters. Kayde Kinaschuk and Colby Phillips both had 13 points in 10 games during November. In goal, Tyson Gregory and Scott Thompson, each won two games. Gregory had a .915 save percentage.
The Kimberley Dynamiters have won four of their last five games. Their most recent victory came against the Rockies on Tuesday. The Dynamiters have won eight of their last 10 games. Cash Regan, who leads the Dynamiters in points with 22, doubled his totals in November with 11 points in eight games. Tristan Self, who has just affiliated with the BCHL’s Cranbrook Bucks, won five of six games.
The Creston Valley Thunder Cats have won seven of their last 10 games. Carlos Siso had a 22-save shutout against Fernie in November and won five of his seven games. Tyler Badger had four goals and eight points in seven games, while rookie defenceman Ben Narowski had a goal and seven points in nine games.
The Fernie Ghostriders are 5-4-0-1 in their last 10 games and are coming off consecutive wins against Columbia Valley and Creston Valley. Kort Kisinger leads the Ghostriders with 12 points, first-year player Sean Jacobs leads the blueline with six points, all assists in 18 games. Goalie Dylan Lacroix has won his last two starts, posting a 1.50 goals against average and .938 SP with one shutout.
The Golden Rockets are 4-4-0-2 in their last 10 and are currently on a three-game losing streak. Jordan Lario leads the team with 16 points. In goal, Mike O’Sullivan and Levi Hall have provided the team with strong play. O’Sullivan has five wins (2.61 GAA, .933 SP), and Hall has three wins (3.12 GAA, .923 SP).
“The play of Mike and Levi has been a backbone of our team this season. The timely saves and high save percentages in our games have kept us competitive,” says Rockets Head Coach and General Manager Chuck Wight. “Our recruiting led us to some top goalies that are driven to play Junior A and have shown the commitment to getting better on a daily basis on and off the ice.
“The internal competition between the two has helped elevate each other’s game,” continued Wight. “They play different styles and are both very focused mentally. They have been a big part in our growth as a program so far this season.”
Neil Murdoch Division
The Beaver Valley Nitehawks have won four of their last five games and are 6-4-0 in their last 10. Rookie Hayden Stocks leads the team with 23 points, which is also sixth overall in the league. The Nitehawks goalie tandem of Owen Albers and Kevin Engman each have six wins. Rookie Austin McKenzie leads the team with 12 goals in 18 games.
The Nelson Leafs are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games and snapped a three-game losing streak picking up wins over Castlegar and Beaver Valley. Defenceman Bryce Sookro, selected as the top defenceman for the KIJHL 3 Stars of the Week and 3 Stars of the Month for November, leads the team with 16 points, while Joe Davidson and Simon Nemethy lead with seven goals each. Goalie Dylan Marshall is fourth in the league with seven wins.
The Castlegar Rebels have won six of their last 10 games and are led offensively by Griffen Ryden (21 points), Justin Duguay (16), Cody Quinton and Nathan Dann (15 points each) and Jacob Moldenhauer (13) round out the top five. Ryden was selected the top forward for the KIJHL 3 Stars of the Month for November. Head Coach and General Manager Arnie Caplan has seen a high level of urgency and a strong compete level.
“We have seen our guys understand their roles and contribute accordingly. We could benefit from more secondary scoring,” says Caplan. “We haven’t seen the balance and depth scoring that we would like to see. However, we’ve had a lot of injuries and players are still gaining experience at this level. Our penalty kill (86.49 per cent) has been exceptional and our power play (7/79) has been very streaky. If we continue to improve in those areas, it will certainly help as well.”
The Grand Forks Border Bruins are 0-8-1-1 in their last 10. Captain Ray Warrack leads the team with 14 points. During November, defenceman Brydon Bell led the team in scoring with seven points in 10 games, while Warrack, Hunter Wood and Matteus Reis each led with three goals.
Doug Birks Division
The Kamloops Storm has won four of its last five games and are 7-2-1-0 in their last 10. In talking about his team’s performance a few weeks ago, Storm Head Coach Geoff Grimood says he has liked the attitude and commitment of some of their younger players – Ty Horner, Ryan Larsen, Owen Cuppello and Andon Rende.
“They are players who are still young, might not show up in the box scores some nights, but have really improved and continue to develop,” he says. “You want your younger guys pushing hard and they have that. All four have good things ahead of them in their careers.”
The Revelstoke Grizzlies went undefeated in November and have won 13 of their 18 games this season. Head Coach and General Manager Ryan Parent says they have buy-in from their group with respect to how they want to play and the pace they want to bring.
“I think our work rate has been good and we’ve made some corrections in some areas of our game,” says Parent, “now the puck is finding its way into the net, where in previous we hadn’t had that.”
Parent also noted their special teams are performing better and he has been really happy with their goaltending.
“I think we have two (Brandon Weare – top goalie for November and Jozef Kuchaslo) of the best goaltenders in the league,” he says. “We’re getting it from the backend out. Our defence has been really solid and hard to play against. They have been a big part of our transition and our offensive play as we’re kind of getting our play from the backend out, and it has enabled our forward group to be more productive.”
Wear and Kuchaslo have combined for 13 wins, a 1.66 GAA and a .935 SP.
The Chase Heat are 3-4-3-0 in their last 10 games and they’ve won two of their last five. Jacob Biensch leads the Heat with 18 points, while Dylan Handel leads with eight goals in nine games. In the KIJHL Notebook on Nov. 17, Fox said Handel is a “really skilled player and he makes really good decisions.” Handel has 11 points on the season and the Beaumont, Alberta product has had four multi-point games.
The 100 Mile House Wranglers have won two of their last five, including a 3-2 win over Sicamous on Wednesday, and are 4-5-0-1 in their last 10. Nathan Bohmer leads the team with 11 goals and 16 points. Last week Head Coach and General Manager Dale Hladun said he has been really happy with his goaltending.
“Loic Mainguy-Crepault has been playing lights out, it was good to see him get a shutout on Saturday night (Nov. 20) and Casey Thomson is such a stellar kid, he has been doing fantastic. A big reason we’re in a majority of our games has been our goaltending.”
Thomson made 26 saves in the win against Sicamous. Mainguy-Crepault has a .929 save percentage.
The Sicamous Eagles have won two of their last five games and have won four of their last 10. The Eagles lost 3-2 to the Wranglers on Wednesday. Hayden Fast leads the Eagles with nine points, while Alex Smith leads with five goals. His fifth goal was shorthanded and his second of the season tying him for second in that category.
“Alex Smith has been working his butt off, he has been phenomenal,” said Eagles General Manager Ron Sleeman of the rookie forward last week, who has also helped the team by playing defence when needed. “He does it in practice as he does it in games.”
Bill Ohlhausen Division
The Osoyoos Coyotes earned a 7-0 win over the North Okanagan Knights on Wednesday to earn their fourth win in the last five games and are on a four-game winning streak, which includes back-to-back shutouts. Kenny Gerow earned his second shutout in back-to-back starts, stopping 24 against the Knights and improving his record to 4-0. In five games, the Prince George native has a .951 SP to go with a miniscule 0.98 goals against average.
The Summerland Steam have won three of their last five, and seven of their last 10. Tristan Weill leads the team with 20 points, while Jackson MacDonald leads with nine goals. In goal, Colton Macaulay and Ben Lewis each have five wins. After their loss to Osoyoos on Nov. 23, Head Coach and General Manager Mark MacMillan said they have had a tough time starting games as well as they should, adding “it takes us a little bit to wake up.” In their last win against North Okanagan on Nov. 26, the Steam opened the scoring first, which when they do, they are 9-1-0.
The Kelowna Chiefs have won two of their last five games and are on a two-game losing streak. The line of Patrick Reynolds, Spencer Horning and Tegan Neuman leads the Chiefs in scoring with 19 and 17 points respectively. For November, the trio combined for eight goals and 23 points. When asked about the line a couple weeks ago, Head Coach Travers Rebman says they have been solid.
“They seemed to have some chemistry early on and have continued to build on that so we have kept them together,” says Rebman, who has used them on the power-play with Jordan Lowry and Ty Marchant.
The trio is working on their defensive play, but Rebman said they are strong with puck possession, which translates into some offense.
The North Okanagan Knights are coming off a 7-0 loss to the Osoyoos Coyotes, which is their fifth loss in a row. They have won three of their last 10 games. Devin Jameson and Tyler Burke are tied for 15 points to lead the team. For Burke, 11 of his points came in November in which he led the team with five goals. Jameson had nine points, as did rookie Luke Rishaug, who had four goals, including a game winner.
The Princeton Posse are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games. As they battle to climb their division standings, they continue to impress with the community work they are doing in support of the flood impacting Princeton. It hasn’t gone unnoticed by new Princeton resident Matthew Baran.
“It was just awesome to see the Posse out there on so many levels. They were everywhere,” said Baran. “Whether helping people dig out, or delivering food, or carrying water to some of the elderly people’s vehicles. It was pretty cool too because a couple of the boys are from Calgary, and they talked about what it was like when they got flooded. They could immediately relate to the community and that was pretty awesome.”
Baran smiled seeing Timbit players coming out and mimicking the Posse.
“You could see the Posse are role models to these kids. These kids got all dressed up in their jerseys and were out handing out food and serving the community,” he said. “It’s neat to see a team that’s really new to each other, start to gel over and come together as a team off-ice. It’s very clear they are doing that. What’s even cooler is, the community is rallying around their team. That kind of energy, they are going to bring it to the ice. The community needs someone to believe in and they are finding it in the Posse who is believing in the community.”
Baran really expects to see the community come out and support the Posse and he’s forecasting a different team on the ice in the coming weeks.
“It was awesome chatting with these young guys,” says Baran, adding the tight-knit community is going to be OK because they look after each other.
On the ice, Rookies Anmol Garcha and Jaden Fodchuk led the team with 11 and eight points, respectively in November.