This Kootenay International Junior Hockey League 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.
Eddie Mountain Division
The Columbia Valley Rockies 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 Kimberley Dynamiters 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,” says 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 Fernie Ghostriders 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 Creston Valley Thunder Cats 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,” says 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,” says 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 Golden Rockets are averaging 2.67 a game. Their attack is led by Jordan Lario, with five in nine games. Four players have scored winning goals.
Neil Murdoch Division
With 46 goals in 10 games, the Beaver Valley Nitehawks have the second highest offence in the KIJHL, averaging 4.6 per game. The Nitehawks are led by a trio of rookies, starting with Hayden Stocks with six, and followed closely by Judah Makway and Joel Smyth with five each.
Head Coach and General Manager Terry Jones likes that his team is performing with four-line tempo and flow, and working on getting shots to the net.
“I think that we have had some early season luck with scoring goals, had some lines form some good chemistry, and our young team is forming some confidence,” says Jones.
When it comes to Stocks’ production and what he is doing, Jones says Stocks is a “driven, talented, hard-working player and he is finding ways to get open for his linemates.”
“Their combined efforts have made for an overall very successful first 10 games,” says Jones. “These last few games teams are definitely keying on him, playing their line more aggressively and trying to wear them down. We look for all of our players to keep improving and working on how to generate more chemistry and offence.”
The Nelson Leafs have netted 32 goals in nine games to average 3.56 goals a game. Simon Nemethy and rookie Johnny Carmichael share the team lead with four goals. Five players have scored game-winning goals.
With 25 goals in eight games, the Castlegar Rebels are averaging 3.13 goals a game. They have a three-way tie at five goals for Griffen Ryden, Jacob Moldenhauer and Nathan Dann, who shot to the top with four goals in his last two games, including a hat-trick performance against Beaver Valley. Ryden and Moldenhauer have scored the winners.
It’s been a challenge for the Grand Forks Border Bruins offensively with 12 goals in seven games, averaging 1.71 per game. Ray Warrack leads the group with three goals.
Doug Birks Division
The Kamloops Storm average 3.82 goals per game as they have scored 42 times in 11 games. Zakery Anderson leads the group with eight goals in 11 games.
“There are two things: No.1 is we have pretty good balance. We are getting contributions from different guys. Even off the backend, we have a lot of goals going in from the blueline. That’s nice to have,” says Head Coach Geoff Grimwood. “No. 2 is we’ve been able to play well defensively and when you do that, it gives you a chance to get on offence a little bit more. We have been stressing playing as a five-man unit in our own zone and when you do that, you usually break the puck out a little bit more and get on the rush a little bit more. I think that is paying off for the guys.”
With Anderson, Grimwood likes that he shoots the puck.
“A lot of guys try to get in a perfect position before shooting and he’s a guy that is pretty confident in his shot and will take it from anywhere,” says Grimwood. “No. 2 is he is playing with Evan Clark and Kyle Sanford, both those guys work really hard and as a line they are productive. The accomplishment is how they play as a line.”
With 35 goals in 9 games, the Chase Heat average 3.89 goals a game. Jacob Biensch and rookie Lucas Ouellette lead the team with five goals each. Defenceman Matthew Poole has two game-winning goals.
The Revelstoke Grizzlies have netted 21 goals in 10 games, averaging 2.1 per game. Rookie defenceman Brandon Gallo leads the group with four goals, one of them being a game-winner. Both of Ronin Pusch’s two goals are winners.
With 2.5 goals a game scored, the 100 Mile House Wranglers have 20 in eight games. Rookie forward Nathan Bohmer leads the team with five goals. Two of the three goals rookie Ethan Sanders has scored are winners.
The Sicamous Eagles have seven goals in six games, averaging 1.17 goals per game. Hayden Fast and Paison Butler lead with two goals each and Butler has the lone winner.
Bill Ohlhausen Division
With 52 goals in nine games, the Osoyoos Coyotes are a high-octane group averaging 5.78 goals per game. Ethan O’Rourke leads the team with nine goals in nine games.
“It’s nice to know that up front we can score and even from the backend too, we are getting contributions every night,” says Head Coach Carter Rigby. “The one thing is the power-play is doing well too, but 5-on-5 (40 goals), I’ve said it many times, at this level, sometimes you have trouble scoring, or it’s one or two guys scoring, so to have three guys in the top of the points and leading in goals, it’s great to see. It’s also nice getting depth scoring too. The third and fourth line are scoring on a nightly basis.”
In practice, the Coyotes put in a lot of work on odd-man rushes as well as small area battles. Rigby also credits their team speed in helping generate offensive chances.
The Summerland Steam have 38 goals in 10 games to average 3.8 per game. Rookie forward Jackson MacDonald leads the team with six goals in 10 games. Half of Ethan Swift’s four goals are winners.
The Kelowna Chiefs have scored 42 goals in 11 games, averaging 3.82. Tegan Neuman leads the group with six goals, while defenceman Ty Marchant has two game-winning goals. He has five on the season.
With 20 goals in eight games, the North Okanagan Knights are averaging 2.5 goals a game. Devin Jameson leads the group with four goals in eight games.
Head Coach and General Manager Liam McOnie says he likes how they move the puck around in the offensive zone.
“We’ve struggled with it a little bit as of recently. Most of our struggles have just come from attacking the inside,” says McOnie.
The Knights are working on driving to the inside and getting shots to create rebounds for second and third chances.
“Over our last few games, nine out of our 10 goals have come from within 10 feet of the crease, so we just have to continue working on getting to the inside and banging a few greasy ones home,” he says.
With Jameson, McOnie says there is no question with his offensive abilities.
“He’s done a great job of creating some offensive chances for himself and his teammates and linemates,” says McOnie. “What has actually improved the most in Devin’s game is his ability to defend and play sound defensive hockey. In the last three games, he’s led our team in shot blocks.”
The Princeton Posse have 35 goals in 12 games, averaging 2.92 goals a game. Rookie Jaden Fodchuk leads the team with 10 goals in 12 games. Lucas Sadownyk and Anmol Garcha have the game winners.