A look at Eddie Mountain Division offences
By Emanuel Sequeira
This Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) season has seen lots of goals scored. Players are enjoying some impressive performances, including 12 have recorded hat-tricks, and there has been a four-goal performance.
Through 90 KIJHL games as of Nov. 3, teams had combined for 584 goals. That’s an average of 6.49 goals per game. This week’s KIJHL Notebook focuses offence for each team.
The first-place Columbia Valley Rockies (7-3-1) have 39 goals in 11 games, averaging 3.55 goals per game. The Rockies are led offensively by Kayde Kinaschuk, who has seven goals in nine games. Of Kinaschuk’s goals, two are winners.
The second-place Kimberley Dynamiters (6-3-2) have 31 goals in 11 games, for an average of 2.82 a game. Austin Daniels leads the group with six in eight games.
“When Austin plays like he can, he is one of the best forwards in our league,” said Dynamiters head coach and general manager Derek Stuart. “Not many 6-foot-4 guys can skate like him and have the scoring touch he has. What I like most about Austin this year is that he has found ways to contribute on nights he isn’t at his best.”
Stuart says his team had a tough stretch to start October with just five goals in four games, resulting in three losses. While there were impacts to the roster with changes and injury, Stuart says “we just weren’t doing near enough to generate scoring chances and weren’t finishing.” “Our other six games we have done enough to create offensive chances, have finished on them and are 4-1-1 in those games.
“I really like how we have outshot and out chanced our opponents in our last four games,” Stuart continued. “We weren’t doing that during that rough four-game stretch.”
The third-place Fernie Ghostriders (6-3-1) have 23 goals in 10 games, for an average of 2.3 a game. Their top goal scorers are Kort Kisinger and Tanner Chapman with four each and Kisinger has a game-winning tally.
The fourth-place Creston Valley Thunder Cats (6-5) have bulged the twine 40 times in 11 games for an average of 3.64 per game. Sheldon Kwiatkowski leads the team with seven in eight games. Six players have scored winning goals.
“I think we are doing well. Like anything else, you have opportunity for improvement, but we have some good players,” said head coach and general manager Bill Rotheisler. “The players kind of drive the bus on the offence. We try to put them in a spot to get quick shots off and be in good scoring positions.”
Rotheisler added that the players are buying in and are on the right path to generating high quality chances. And with Kwiatkowski, Rotheisler has enjoyed having the Sexsmith, Alberta native.
“Out of our guys who came back from Junior A, he has the highest offensive ceiling,” said Rotheisler. “We kind of expect him to lead our team in goals. We are impressed with how well he has rounded out his game in other areas. He wants to be a good leader for all the younger guys and play the right way. The goals have come just because of who he is.”
With 24 goals in nine games, the fifth-place Golden Rockets (5-4) are averaging 2.67 a game. Their attack is led by Jordan Lario, with five in nine games. Four players have scored winning goals.
Emanuel Sequeira is KIJHL Director of Communications