Twelve hat-tricks have been scored in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League regular season play as of Oct. 26, with the last being scored on Oct. 22. Coletyn Boyarski of the Osoyoos Coyotes and Luke Chakrabarti of the Creston Valley Thunder Cats have each recorded two. Both of them recorded four goals recently.
Last season 12 hat-tricks were scored and three players recorded four goal games. Let’s get into this week’s KIJHL Notebook.
Eddie Mountain Division
|Kimberley has seven wins in 11 games with three of those victories coming against opponents outside their division. The Dynamiters have won seven of nine games when scoring first and are 6-1 when leading after the second period. They’ve outscored the opposition 33-19 in the first two periods. Defenceman Cam Reid has four goals and eight points in 10 games. Two of his goals are winners.
Dynamiters Head Coach & GM Derek Stuart likes that his team has “shown glimpses of being an elite team,” but they need to start seeing it more consistently moving into November.
“Our team chemistry is very good for this early in the season,” said Stuart. “We’re rolling the lines/defence pairings and giving everyone equal ice time always speeds up the process.”
The Dynamiters are tied with the Grizzlies for having the best power-play in the league, executing at 30.4 per cent. Stuart contributes that success to keeping things simple and creating chances because of it.
“We have smart, reliable guys on the blueline who get pucks past the initial PK pressure and that has been a key for our early PP success,” he said.
|Columbia Valley has six wins in 10 games with four of those wins coming against divisional opponents. The Rockies are undefeated at 5-0 when scoring first and 6-0 when leading after two periods. They’ve outscored the opposition 27-18 after the first two periods. Rookie Lucas De La Salle has seven goals and nine points in nine games, two of his goals are winners.
|The Creston Valley Thunder Cats have reeled off six consecutive wins. Their wins have been split between their division and the Bill Ohlhausen and they’ve won three of five when scoring first. They’ve been outscored 20-18 in the first two periods. Luke Chakrabarti has 12 goals and 19 points in eight games and two game winners, along with teammate Campbell McLean. Rookies Max Chakrabarti and Travis Newhook recently scored their first KIJHL goals.
Luke said after struggling to start with key leaders missing, they have found a way to play.
“We’ve found our linemates and we have started creating chemistry and learning how to play together,” he said. “We’ve also got the system down pretty well, which we struggled with in the first few games.”
What stands out to him about their performances is they are playing as a team, with everyone playing their roles and “everyone is an important part of the win.”
|Golden has six wins in 11 games and are undefeated against Bill Ohlhausen and Neil Murdoch division teams. They have won three of four games when scoring first. Nearly half of their 45 goals have come in the third period – 20. Jordan Lario has 11 goals and 23 points in 11 games and leads the team with two game-winners.
|Fernie has five wins in 11 games and are 4-0 when scoring first and have the same record when leading after two periods. They are 2-0 against Doug Birks division teams. They have outscored the opposition 12-5 in the third period. Ethan MacDuff leads the team with 16 in 11 games. He and Dayton Nelson lead the Ghostriders with two game-winners.
|Neil Murdoch Division
|With eight wins in 12 games, the Grand Forks Border Bruins are currently on a four-game winning streak. They’ve won four of six games when scoring first and are nearly unbeatable when leading after two with a 7-1 record. The Border Bruins have outscored their opponents 37-21 in the first two periods. Cody Laybolt leads the team with 14 points in 12 games, while Tyson Tokarz has three game-winning goals.
Border Bruins alternate captain Matteus Reis said they feel they are playing pretty well.
“We had a good start and then kind of slowed down a bit, letting teams in,” he said. “We just came off a big three-game road trip and I feel like we’re starting to really get it rolling here.”
Reis says everything starts in the room with a really good group and it translates onto the ice. The difference from last year is they are setting the bar higher.
“We’re really buying in,” he said. “We are giving everything and know if we play our game, play as well as we can, then there is no reason why we shouldn’t come out with a W. The confidence is right where it needs to be.”
|The Beaver Valley Nitehawks have seven wins in 11 games and are undefeated at 4-0 when scoring first. They have also won all three games when leading after two periods. Local product Nathan Dominici leads the team with 11 points in 10 games, while six players have scored winners. In goal, rookie Connor Stojan is undefeated at 4-0 with a 2.18 goals against average and a .938 SP.
Nitehawks alum Hayden Stocks is second on the Neepawa Titans with eight points in 16 games. Judah Makway has four points in 11 games for the Trail Smoke Eaters.
|The Leafs have five wins in 10 games and are 3-1 when scoring the first goal. Three of their five wins have come against teams in their own division. Ryan Quast and Seamus Boyd lead the Leafs with eight points in 10 games, while rookie goalie Jasper Tait has yet to lose in regulation. He has four wins and two overtime losses. He has a 2.95 goals against average and a .915 save percentage.
Leafs alum Bryce Sookro scored his first BCHL goal for the Cranbrook Bucks during the BCHL Showcase last week. In seven games, Sookro has three points.
|The Castlegar Rebels have five wins in 12 games and they have won two of five games when scoring first. Three of six victories have come against divisional opponents and are led offensively by rookies Evan Calder with 10 points in 12 games and Daytn Kulynych with nine points in 12 games.
Last week Head Coach & GM Arnie Caplan said Calder and Kulynych have been adjusting well to the level and pace of the KIJHL.
“Both are playing well and we expect them to continue to improve and help our team,” said Caplan. “Kulynych has great speed and Calder does a lot of little things really well
Goalie Ethan Lawczynski has four wins with a 2.66 GAA and a .923 SP.
Caplan recently said that they have shown “we can play well against all teams in our division and consistency will be the key.”
Nathan Dann recently returned from the Estevan Bruins in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and has two goals in two games. Last season Dann had 19 goals and 29 points in 42 games.
|Bill Ohlhausen Division
|The Posse have seven wins in 12 games and have won five of eight games when scoring first. They are 6-2 when leading after two periods and have outscored the opposition 26-13 in the first two periods. They have won three of four games against divisional opponents. Sean Mitchell leads the Posse with eight goals and 13 points, while rookie Kassius Kler has 11 points in 10 games. Goalies Ethan Rau and Nate Glenn are undefeated at 3-0.
|The Osoyoos Coyotes have six wins in nine games. All their wins have come when scoring the first goal and they are 5-2 when leading after two. They have outscored the opposition 15-3 in the first period and 31-14 after two periods. They have five wins in the Okanagan Conference and offensively are led by Carter Yarish with 17 points in eight games and Coletyn Boyarski has 10 goals. Boyarski recently scored five goals in two games, which Head Coach & GM Ken Law credits to changing his linemates and “challenging him to elevate his game to make his wingers come alive.”
“He has an ability to find quiet areas on the ice to give himself every opportunity to score. He has three power-play goals and a shorthanded marker to go along with seven goals at 5-on-5 and two game-winners,” said Law. “A lot of his offence comes from good defensive awareness and great anticipation and a willingness to get involved.”
|The Steam have four wins in 10 games and have won half their games when scoring first. All of their wins have come against divisional opponents and they are led offensively by Austin Cameron with 13 points in 10 games, while rookie Kent Moors leads the team with four goals.
|The North Okanagan Knights have won five of 10 games and have won four of five when scoring first. Four of their wins have come against Doug Birks division teams. Kevin-Thomas Walters, who returned from the BCHL Cowichan Valley Capitals, leads the Knights with 12 points in eight games, including seven goals. Rookie goalie Austin Seibel has been a big part of their success and has all their wins.
Head Coach & GM Liam McOnie said they have been really good at times.
“Our biggest struggle has been with consistency and trying to find the compete and intensity required to win every night,” said McOnie. “When we’ve played well and skated and finished checks and played the way we can, the way we’re supposed to, we have found a lot of offensive success.”
Walters has brought everything the Knights have wanted and McOnie said he’s a very talented and gifted offensive hockey player.
“We’re just asking him to continue that and bring leadership qualities with him,” he said, “and help the younger players and rest of the team and pull them up to his level.”
After three years at the Junior A level, including last season in the BCHL, Walters brings that experience, poise and presence and increases the pace of practices. He really pushes the group.
|Doug Birks Division
|The Revelstoke Grizzlies have won eight of 11 games and are 7-1 when they score the first goal. They’ve outscored the opposition 13-5 in the first period. Defenceman Brandon Gallo leads the team with 13 points in nine games, while Carter Bettenson leads the team with seven goals in 11 games. Jozef Kuchaslo and Owen Albers have split the wins and combined for a 2.38 GAA and a .906 SP.
|The Sicamous Eagles have five wins in 10 games and all their wins have come when scoring first and leading after two periods. They outscored the opposition 23-16. They have won three of four games against divisional opponents. Rookies Zack Brandson leads the Eagles with eight points in eight games, while Sean Smith has six goals in 10 games.
|The Chase Heat have four wins in 11 games and have won three of five games when scoring first. They have been outscored by the opposition 13-12 in the first period. Aiden Brown leads the Heat with 10 points in nine games, including four goals. Braeden Huth and Jalen Davidson also each have four goals. The Heat have the fifth best power-play in the league executing at 21.7 per cent scoring 10 goals on 46 chances.
|The Kamloops Storm have three wins in 11 games and have a .500 record when scoring first and are 2-0 when leading after two. In the six games they have outshot their opponent, they are 3-3. Ryan Larsen leads the Storm with six goals and 13 points in 11 games. Head Coach Jan Ludvig said they are learning as they go and he believes they are getting closer to where they want to be.
“I see some good things on the horizon and the biggest thing for me is character and togetherness in times of trouble,” said Ludvig. “The leaders come out and adversity is a beautiful thing and I really like our group sticks together and how we treat each other.”
When asked about playing style, Ludvig likes to customize the team system to the group of players.
“I think we’re a pretty aggressive team, play a physical style and take pride in being hard to play against and fast. I hope to mix that with the skill game and make it fun for fans and players.”
|The 100 Mile House Wranglers have two wins on the season, both coming against Revelstoke and Kamloops on Oct. 14 and Oct. 19, respectively. The Wranglers have been boosted by the return of Nathan Bohmer, who was with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express, and is second on the Wranglers with seven points in six games. He leads with six goals. Their goaltending has also been strengthened by the addition of Tysen Smith of Prince George, who started the season in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Smith played for the Spruce Grove Saints, where he won three of four games with a 2.76 GAA. In four games with the Wranglers, Smith has two wins with a 2.94 GAA and a .924 SP.