After shutting the Columbia Valley Rockies out of the first round of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoffs, the Creston Valley Thunder Cats are down 2-0 against the Kimberley Dynamiters in the second round.
Creston lost 2-1 in double overtime on Saturday, and repeated the score in overtime on Sunday. Games 3 and 4 are scheduled to be played today and tomorrow in Creston.
“They were both really close games that we just came out on the wrong end of,” said head coach Jeff Dubois.
Saturday’s game, he said, got off to a good start, with Creston playing a solid defensive game.
“Right throughout the game, it was real tight checking, limited in terms of scoring opportunities at both ends of ice,” he said. “It was real good road playoff hockey for us.”
Liam Plunkett — “a standout” in the game — led the scoring, with a goal midway through the first period. Creston’s lead lasted until Kimberley’s Jared Marchi tied the score at 10:29 in the second.
In a second overtime period, the Dynamiters scored the winning goal, “a point shot that went through some bodies,” said Dubois. “I don’t think Brock [Lefebvre, goalie] was able to see it.”
In total, Lefebvre stopped 25 shots in that game, with Kimberley’s Tyson Brouwer stopping 28.
“It was a one-on-one battle between the two of them,” said Dubois. “Both of them made a number of great saves.”
The Dyanmiters scored just over seven minutes in, and Creston ran into penalty trouble early in Sunday’s game before Nicholas Kovacik tied the score with 6:20 remaining in the period.
“It was a hard-work goal with a point shot through traffic and a rebound we capitalized on,” said Dubois.
It was also the final goal until Kimberley scored the game-winner 17 seconds into overtime.
“It was bad luck for [Lefebvre] being on the losing end of both games,” said Dubois. “He put us in a position to win and we could have easily won both games.”
While it was disappointing to have two losses leading into the first two home games of the series, Dubois said the Thunder Cats still had a chance to turn the tables.
“We’ve been strong on home ice all year. We’ve won three of four home games against Kimberley this year. … We’ve got every reason to be confident coming home now that we’re gonna do the job on home ice.”
If necessary, the Thunder Cats will return to Kimberley on Friday for game 5. Game 6 will be held in Creston Saturday, with the final game in Kimberley Sunday.