Stage set for Storm
Well, Barry Dewar, your hockey club went through a weekend without posting a win, it must have felt like the world was coming to an end.
“Yeah, actually, it did,” said Dewar, owner and general manager of the Kamloops Storm.
Dewar was kidding, but the Storm (23-4-1-2) are no joke this season, leading the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) with 49 points after 30 games.
The Storm posted their first winless weekend of the season, tying the Dynamiters 5-5 in Kimberley on Friday, Dec. 2, before losing 6-2 to the Thunder Cats in Creston on Saturday, Dec. 3.
Kamloops travels to Armstrong to play the North Okanagan Knights on Friday, Dec. 9, before returning to McArthur Island Sports Centre for a two-game homestand.
Penticton will be in Kamloops for a 7 p.m. start on Saturday, Dec. 10, and a rematch with the Knights is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11.
“We’d love for people to come out and see what the Storm are all about,” said Geoff Smith, who was hired as the club’s head coach in June.
“I think we’ve played an exciting brand of hockey this season.”
Exciting, yes, and explosive, too, with three Storm players holding top-six spots in league scoring.
Colten DeFrias, who leads the Storm with 57 points, 20 of them goals, is third in KIJHL scoring.
Tyler Jackson, with 22 goals and 54 points, is fourth, and Chase Edwards, with 31 goals and 51 points, is sixth.
Those three players — who played together in the Kamloops Minor Hockey Association ranks — usually man the Storm’s first line.
“We are having a lot of fun,” Jackson said.
“We’ve been talking about how we used to play together when we were younger in minor hockey. The success we’re having is just icing on the cake.”
What might be the Storm’s biggest challenge is dealing with the loss of standout goaltender Lyndon Stanwood, who caught on with the Trail Smoke Eaters of the B.C. Hockey League.
“Even though we knew we had a good goalie in Wade [Moyls], and we still do, losing Lyndon was a blow to the team,” Smith said.
“Almost security-blanket wise.”
Moyls, who boasts a 9-1-1 record this season, has a 3.50 GAA and a .891 save percentage.
Stanwood has played five games with Trail, winning twice and losing three times while posting a 3.02 GAA and .912 save percentage.
With the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL in Saskatchewan this weekend and Thompson Rivers University’s WolfPack teams off for Christmas break, the Storm have a chance to take centre stage in the River City.
“I think the boys will be jazzed to get the opportunity to play in front of a good crowd and get back into the swing of things,” Dewar said.