The Creston Valley Thunder Cats ended a six-game losing streak on Saturday, defeating the Spokane Braves 6-3 in a rare win at the Spokane arena.
“The guys brought another great performance there, and they finally got rewarded for their hard work, which was nice to see,” said head coach Josh Hepditch. “It was a big confidence boost for our players. It was good to end the slump with a tough game like that.”
The Braves started scoring with a goal early in the first period, followed by Thunder Cats goals from Darcy Flaherty and Jaiden Ward. In the second period, Trevor Hanna scored twice for the Thunder Cats, with a Spokane goal in between, with Angus Johnston scoring the Thunder Cats’ fourth unassisted with two minutes left.
The Braves scored their third goal early in the third period, which also saw Hanna score his third goal of the night, a shorthanded empty-netter, with nine seconds left.
“He’s been working hard through this whole little slump,” said Hepditch. “He had a lot of chances on Friday night and couldn’t find the net, but pulled through then.”
That win followed a 5-3 loss to the Kimberley Dynamiters on Friday. The game started with a Kimberley goal followed by Creston goals from Andrew Hodder and Flaherty.
“We had a bit of a lapse in the second, and that’s when they scored three goals,” said Hepditch. “That proves you have to play 60 minutes and you can’t let up.”
The Dynamiters scored a fifth goal early in the third period, and Colby Livingstone scored the Thunder Cats’ third with three minutes left.
The result was disappointing considering that the Thunder Cats outshot the Dynamiters 49-22, but Hepditch was pleased with the performance of the Hodder-Flaherty-Ty Kronewitt line.
“They’ve been playing very well together and all three played extremely well.
This weekend, the Thunder Cats play three games, visiting the Golden Rockets on Friday, then hosting the Grand Forks Border Bruins on Saturday and the Rockets on Sunday.
The Rockets are in third place in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s Eddie Mountain Division, three points ahead of the fifth-place Thunder Cats.
“It could give us a chance to catch them,” said Hepditch.
And although the Thunder Cats beat the Border Bruins the last time they played against each other, the Creston team will have to fight hard for a win.
“They’ve got a competitive team that’s been playing well,” said Hepditch. “We haven’t been performing at home as well as we want to. We have to establish a presence in our own arena so teams are intimidated to come here.”