KIJHL Notebook: Kostiuk new Dynamiters captain

On Remembrance Day, Kimberley Dynamiters captain Ryan Bennett made the difficult decision to retire from junior hockey because of an injury. The Dynamiters selected Jayden Kostiuk to fill his leadership role.

In a recent Dynamiters Deep Dive blog, published on Nov. 27, 2022, Jesse Heinrichs wrote about the new captain, which is being used in this week’s KIJHL Notebook.

Cam Reid spoke about Bennett’s departure after the game and said, ”we lost our captain unfortunately, which is obviously tough on the team, but we’re playing for him right now.”

Nobody wants to take over the captaincy mid-season, and surely, Kostuik is no different. That doesn’t mean he won’t step up to the plate, however.

“It sucks, Bennett is a tremendous guy,” said the newly appointed captain, “it hurts us that he had to hang them up, but we have to move forward and take that next step and turn this team into an elite team.”

Kostiuk wore the ‘C’ with poise on Friday night, as the Nitros took down the 100 Mile House Wranglers 2-1. He looked confident and hungry — fast and focused. He showed exactly why he’ll be a great fit as captain. Head Coach Derek Stuart thinks so.

“He’s been a captain on all of his minor hockey teams and he does everything right,” said Stuart. “He’s not a flashy player, but if you pay attention to him, you can see all the little things he does right.”

Kostiuk’s attention to the team systems and his voracious appetite for winning are a few of the reasons the team nominated him as captain. He also has a high level of maturity and dedication, which his coach said, made him an easy fit.

Kostiuk also caught the praise of teammate Duncan Paradis on Friday night.

Kostiuk’s work ethic and ability to grind in the hard areas of the game are qualities that stand out the most for Paradis.

His presence extends far past the locker room, Paradis said. He explained how Kostiuk keeps in contact with other players, making sure they are staying fit, eating and focusing.

“I just want to make sure everyone knows their goal and are doing their role and what not,” said Kostiuk

The Coaldale, AB native said he feels a bit of a difference jumping from the ‘A’ to the ‘C’.

“It’ll just be about working hard every night and contributing as much as I can. I know I can get to that next level,” said Kostiuk.

Bill Ohlhausen Division

Anmol Garcha led the Princeton Posse with four goals and six points in three games, while defenceman Curtis Gould led their blueline with a goal and four points. Peyton Trzaska returned to the Posse from Junior A recording two wins with a .918 SP.

The Posse have the third best penalty-kill in the league at 87.5 per cent. Tanner Funk leads the team with two short-handed goals, while rookies Jalen McRae and Joshua Roy have one each. They have given up four goals on 104 times short-handed.

The Posse recently added Reid Tofteland from Sicamous and signed Brayden Bablitz from the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder. Bablitz has two assists in one game.

Carter Yarish had four goals and eight points in two games for the Osoyoos Coyotes, while teammate and captain Jack Henderson had a goal and six assists. The Coyotes have won four of their last 10 games. On Nov. 19, Payton McDonald-Corea returned from the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm and has a goal in three games.
Since playing his first game with the Summerland Steam on Nov. 4 against Sicamous, forward Connor Sankey has six points in 10 games following his trade from North Okanagan. The Kelowna product has been playing a strong, physical game, working hard, and producing. 

“The move has been very positive. The players have been really welcoming and I am fitting in well,” said Sankey, who has 11 points in 20 games. “The coaching staff have been supportive and have been giving me lots of opportunities with the team.”

The Steam have four wins in their last 10 games and Sankey said everyone is working hard and morale is high.

“We are working hard every practice and showing up with a positive attitude,” he says. “In games, our team has a lot of speed that creates offensive chances.”

Kent Moors led the Steam with four goals and 12 points in nine November games. Tristan Weill returned from the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers and had six points in five games, including registering a hat-trick in his second game.

The North Okanagan Knights have won five of their last 10 games and Matthew Johnston says they are having better success compared to last year. While they hit a bump on the road last weekend, they had five straight wins.

“Our confidence is growing, and we feel we can be competitive against any team if we stay out of the box and the bounces go our way,” said Johnston, who is second on the Knights with 18 points in 21 games.

Johnston said their success is because of a few factors, one being several players have developed in size and skill and management has added strong, experienced players.

“Our focus has been on the little things that make the difference in close games which includes not letting us get outworked,” he said. “We have won more games as opposed to the multitude of one-goal losses we experienced last year.”

As they get to know recent addition Carson Devine more, Johnston said he believes Devine can be a crucial asset that helps push them to the next level with his strong offensive abilities.

Johnston, 18, has strengthened his own game by putting on some extra weight, now up to 175 pounds, to help win more battles and be stronger on the puck. 

Aiden Morcom, who played for the KIJHL Top Prospects, led the Kelowna Chiefs with four goals and 12 points in 11 games. Defenceman Dain Levesque had one goal and eight points in 11 games to lead the blueline as the Chiefs have won two of their last 10 games.
Doug Birks Division
Carter Bettenson and Luke Aston each led the Revelstoke Grizzlies with seven points in November, while defenceman Brandon Gallo had six points in seven games. Jozef Kuchaslo had four wins, three by shutout to go with a 0.81 GAA and a .973 SP.
Defenceman Cole Senum led the Kamloops Storm with 11 points in nine games, while forwards Peyton Kelly and Ryan Larsen each had 10 points. The Storm have won eight of their last 10 games. Goalie Colton Phillips-Watts has four wins with a shutout and a 1.70 GAA and a .942 SP.
With five wins in their last 10, the Sicamous Eagles were led offensively by Tyler Burke and Alex Smith, who each recorded 12 points in 11 games. Smith had seven goals, while Sean Smith had eight goals. Goalies Damon Cunningham and Gage Reimer each picked up three wins in November. Cunningham had two shutouts, while Reimer had a.942 SP with a 1.80 GAA.
Aiden Brown and Mikkel Hrechka led the Chase Heat with five points in November. The Heat have won three of their last 10 games. Brown led the group with three goals. Kael Beauregard and Roderic May each collected a win in November. In the Heat’s weekly report on their website, the latest post from Nov. 28 the group was coming off a lengthy stretch of illness.
The 100 Mile House Wranglers feel they are on a “slow mountain climb”, said Nathan Bohmer, who along with Ethan Sanders, led the group with eight points in nine November games. 

“We’re starting to get a little bit more chemistry with the whole group,” said the Wranglers’ leading point producer with 15 points in 17 games. “We’re starting to play more as a team and you can really see our play adapt and having close games with really good teams.”

Bohmer likes that they are keeping things simple and “going back to kind of old-school hockey.”

“Getting pucks deep, and playing more physical than some teams and really focusing on the aspects of trying to outwork teams every single night,” he said. “That kind of commitment to the team systems and culture, we are starting to see success because we are doing that.”

Bohmer returned from the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express and when asked about his own play, Bohmer said from playing in Junior A, he’s “able to see the game a little bit better and be more confident to hold onto the puck and set guys up for good scoring chances.”

“It helps my play as well as being able to contribute as much as I can towards our team’s success,” said Bohmer, adding he’s better as a player in many areas. “A lot of things like communicating, leadership and puck skills as well as hockey sense are things I can always get better at.”

Eddie Mountain Division
With eight wins in their last 10 games, Columbia Valley Rockies Head Coach & GM Emery Olauson said they have won a lot of different ways. 

“There has just been a really good mix of individual efforts and our team play has been fairly strong all year and definitely seems to be trending in the right direction,” said Olauson. “We’re happy with a combination of things – our veterans are playing well and our young guys have developed nicely. It’s not often you lose your starting goaltender and we were able to bring in Nate Glenn and Brett Sweet has had a couple of good games.”

Since adding Glenn, and what he has seen, Olauson joked that “he stops all of the pucks except for one.” 

“He’s just big, solid and a well-positioned goalie and nothing seems to bother him as he has a really cool demeanor,” added Olauson. “In a game like hockey where there is a lot of chaos happening in front of the goaltender, I think it gives the whole group a sense of confidence and calm when your goaltender just hangs out in the crease and the puck comes and hits him.”

They had Ewan McDevitt, who had a great start, called up to the North American Hockey League as he signed with the Alaska Wolverines on Nov. 17.

“He earned a great opportunity to go play at a very high level,” said Olauson.  

With having Sweet and using an affiliate player, Olauson said they found who he thought was the best goalie available.

“I think his numbers are the best in the league,” said Olauson of Glenn, who is 7-0 on the season with a 1.29 GAA and a .959 SP combined between the Princeton Posse and Rockies.

Jordan Lario led the Golden Rockets with 17 points in 10 games in November, while Ethan Aebly led all blueliners with 11 points, all assists. The Rockets have won seven of their past 10 games. Goalie Levi Hall won six of his nine starts with one shutout and a .929 SP and a 2.74 GAA.
New Dynamiters captain Jayden Kostiuk said the group feels their play as of late is “not the greatest.”

“We have had a few illnesses go through the team, but still, that’s no excuse,” said Kostiuk, as the Dynamiters have won six of their last 10 games. “We understand we all need to be a bit better. Hopefully we can turn things around again. The last four or five games we’ve almost doubled our opponents in shots, we just haven’t seemed to find the back of the net, but hopefully that comes in time.”

The 20-year-old said it all starts in practice to translate over to the game. Heading into the weekend, Kostiuk, who has 11 points in 21 games, said the focus is to continue to play their game and generate chances.

Goalie Matt Fleet is 2-0 with a shutout and a .968 SP to with a .50 GAA.

Ethan MacDuff led the Fernie Ghostriders with 13 points in nine games, while Jack Karpyshyn had 11 points and Scott Sinclair led their blueline with five points in eight games. In goal, new addition Aiden Kruhlak earned two wins, including a 27-save shutout against 100 Mile House. He posted a .937 SP with a 2.00 GAA. Another new addition, Vin Jackson, acquired from Princeton has three assists in two games.
Luke Chakrabarti had a big November for the Creston Valley Thunder Cats with five goals and 18 points in 11 games. He was followed closely by Blake Anderson with six goals and 16 points in 10 games. Max Chakrabarti and Trevor Bonham led their defence with five points each, in 10 and 11 games respectively. The Thunder Cats have three wins in their last 10.
Neil Murdoch Division
The Nelson Leafs have leapfrogged the Grand Forks Border Bruins for top spot in the division by one point, and have three games in hand. They have eight wins in their last 10 games.

We are more committed to working hard for 60 minutes. All of our success comes from hard work,” said Leafs Head Coach Adam DiBella. 

A trio of their forwards put up big numbers in November, led by Joe Davidson with nine goals and 17 points in nine games.

“Joe is our best player and can score from anywhere in the zone,” added DiBella. “While Joe is leading us offensively, he is leading defensively as well. He has been excellent on the penalty-kill and is becoming a player that our group trusts in tough defensive zone matchups.”

Johnny Carmichael and Bennett Anklewich put up 13 points in nine games. In goal, Frederick Larochelle was undefeated going 5-0 with a .932 SP and a 1.82 GAA. Rookie Jasper Tait won two of his four games.

The Grand Forks Border Bruins have won five of their last 10 and in November were led by Spencer Horning and Chad Bates with 10 points in 10 games. Russell Kosec led their defence with four points in 10 games. Ethan Shebansky had four of their wins.
The Beaver Valley Nitehawks have won four of their last 10 with goalie Connor Stojan earning three of those wins with a .933 SP and a 2.20 GAA. Nathan Dominici led the team with eight points in seven games, while Kaleb Percival had five points in eight games to lead their defence.
In five games under interim Head Coach & GM Nick Headrick, the Castlegar Rebels have one win. Headrick said the team has responded well since the coaching change and there is a new outlook and energy.

“We haven’t been getting the results that we wanted, but I think we’ve been working harder in practice and things have been getting better,” he said. “The biggest thing has been our intensity in practice, the pace has picked up as well as our attention to detail as far as passing and communicating. We have been working on the power-play a lot more and trying to get more systems in place.” 

Headrick said a few players have stepped up, including Jace Kramer, getting first unit power-play time, Tymon Sanikopoulis and Calvin Morrison on the back-end playing bigger minutes.

Kramer’s average time on-ice this season has been 15:10 and he received his third highest ice-time against the Chase Heat, playing 18:04. Sanikopoulis has averaged 24:35 of ice time and he received a season-high 29:49 against the Heat. Morrison averages 21:20 a game and he has surpassed that in three games.