KIJHL Notebook: Team defence


In this week’s KIJHL Notebook, the coaches from the Kimberley Dynamiters, Grand Forks Border Bruins, Princeton Posse and Revelstoke Grizzlies spoke about their team defence and goaltending. Those teams have allowed the fewest goals against in their respective divisions.

Eddie Mountain Division

The Columbia Valley Rockies have allowed 75 goals in 29 games. Their strong defensive play has resulted in a team GAA of 2.48. Goalie Brett Sweet leads the team with 10 wins in 15 games with a 2.48 GAA, while Nate Glenn has five wins in six games with a 2.28 GAA. Both goalies have a shutout.
The Kimberley Dynamiters have allowed 71 goals in 31 games. 

We play defence first here. It’s an attitude that became part of our culture years ago,” said Head Coach-GM Derek Stuart. “We take a lot of pride in being very hard to score against.” 

Their team GAA is 2.23 and goalies Matt Fleet and Trystan Self have combined for 22 wins. Fleet has a 2.13 GAA, while Self has a 2.20 GAA and four shutouts.

We have the league’s best goalie and a backup who is undefeated in regulation time and would be a starter on a lot of teams,” said Stuart. “Both give us a chance to win every game, it’s a good foundation to build off.”

The Golden Rockets have allowed 121 goals in 32 games. Their team GAA is 3.69. Levi Hall has 12 wins with a 3.46 GAA, while Matthew Kuhnlein has three wins and a 3.56 GAA.
The Fernie Ghostriders have allowed 104 goals in 31 games. They have used four goalies this season, who have combined for a 3.25 GAA. Newcomer Aiden Kruhlak has five wins with a 3.07 GAA.
The Creston Valley Thunder Cats have allowed 120 goals in 30 games. Parker Forrest and Jacob Burnside have combined for a GAA of 3.93. Both goalies have seven wins and Forrest has a 3.73 GAA.
Neil Murdoch Division
The Grand Forks Border Bruins have allowed 85 goals in 28 games. Their goalies have combined for a 2.95 GAA, while Ethan Shebansky has 13 wins with a 2.69 GAA. They recently added Ewan Soutar who won his debut with a 1.85 GAA.

“Ethan Shebansky has been great. We rely on him every game,” said Head Coach-GM Dave Hnatiuk, who added Soutar from the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. “He is an ‘04 with tons of promise. I’m happy with our goaltending and think we have a great duo here.”

Hnatiuk added that his defensive group has done a great job.

“It’s a big improvement from overall defensive play from last year,” he said. “A few of these guys are also contributing offensively too which is nice. They are starting to get the offensive side of the game too.

The Nelson Leafs have allowed 87 goals in 29 games. Rookie Jasper Tait and second-year goalie Frederick Larochelle each have eight wins and have combined for a 2.92 GAA.
The Beaver Valley Nitehawks have allowed 98 goals in 29 games and used three goalies to start the season and had a combined 3.27 GAA. Connor Stojan leads with 10 wins and has a 2.55 GAA. Nathan Presley has five wins with a 3.63 GAA.
The Castlegar Rebels have allowed 121 goals in 31 games. Matteo Hueston and Ethan Lawczynski have combined for a 3.67 GAA. Lawczynski has six wins with a 3.57 GAA.
Bill Ohlhausen Division
The Princeton Posse have allowed 71 goals in 31 games. They have used four goalies this season who have combined for a 2.16 GAA. Their tandem is Ethan Rau who has 11 wins with a 2.31 GAA and Peyton Trzaska, who played part of the season in Junior A. Trzaska has five wins with a 2.27 GAA.

“Peyton Trzaska and Ethan Rau have done a phenomenal job. Having a competitive balance in the net for us this year has been crucial. Having some internal competition there for guys competing for the net. It’s really helped drive each other,” said Head Coach Mark Readman. “I really think these two right now are similar goalies in terms of their demeanor.”

Readman said their defensive group has kept things simple, make themselves big and defend fast.

“They play physically in the corners and really make it hard to earn the middle of the ice,” he said. “They do create turnovers. They are not looking to do too much. They keep it simple.”

The Osoyoos Coyotes have allowed 91 goals in 29 games. Their goalies have teamed up for a 3.12 GAA Rhett Harkot has seven wins with a 2.97 GAA and Kenny Gerow has nine wins and a 3.26 GAA.
The North Okanagan Knights have allowed 97 goals in 29 games. Their goalies have combined for a 3.25 GAA, with rookie Austin Seibel playing 20 games earning 10 wins with a 3.10 GAA. Josh Hager has five wins with a 2.52 GAA.
The Summerland Steam have allowed 102 goals in 30 games. Their tandem of Ben Lewis and Rogan Bacon have a 3.24 GAA.  Lewis has seven wins with a 3.25 GAA.
The Kelowna Chiefs have allowed 135 goals in 30 games. Their tandem of Brendan Smith and Caleb Muri have a 4.33 GAA. Smith has a 3.99 GAA.
Doug Birks Division
The Revelstoke Grizzlies have allowed 67 goals in 30 games. Their tandem of Jozef Kuchaslo and Owen Albers have teamed up for a 2.05 GAA. Both goalies have four shutouts and Kuchaslo has a 1.95 GAA.

Head Coach-GM Ryan Parent feels that Kuchaslo and Albers have played well.

“Yeah, we do play defensively, and I’m really excited to see how our group plays through the back half as the game gets tougher,” said Parent. “It’s on the goalie to shut the door back there, but it’s also on a good defensive team to make sure we’re not allowing too many opportunities and they can have a shot to get a shutout.”

Parent said they have been good with their defensive play as the group is reliable and improving.

“I really like the way our two young guys have come on. We’ve got Austin Wolley and Kesler Fyfe that have really played to improve their play.”

The Grizzlies played in front of 1,000 fans in the second game against Chase. It’s their highest this season.

The Kamloops Storm have given up 70 goals in 29 games. Their goalies have combined for a 2.27 GAA. Colton Phillips-Watts, who rejoined the organization after playing Junior A, has a 1.63 GAA with seven wins. Cody Creasy has eight wins with a 2.39 GAA.
The Sicamous Eagles have given up 74 goals in 29 games. Their goalies have combined for a 2.50 GAA. Damon Cunningham, who signed with the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks over the Christmas break, had a 2.38 GAA with eight wins. Gage Reimer has a 2.50 GAA.
The 100 Mile House Wranglers have allowed 115 goals in 29 games. Their goalies have combined for a 3.86 GAA. Ryder Gregga has a 3.25 GAA in 17 games.
The Chase Heat have allowed 130 goals in 30 games. Their goalies have combined for a 4.21 GAA. Meyer Gaume has 4.21 GAA.