The Creston Valley Thunder Cats have slipped into last place in the Eddie Mountain Division of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League following last night’s loss to the division-leading Golden Rockets.
“We had a few really good chances early and couldn’t score,” said Thunder Cats head coach Josh Hepditch.
The Rockets scored three goals in the first period — a hat trick by Connor Beauchemin, including two power-play goals — and one early in the second before Thunder Cat Matthew Murray scored on a power play at 17:54. A fifth Rockets goal came eight minutes later, and the sixth was scored late in the third period.
Shots were reasonably even, with the Rockets outshooting the Thunder Cats 28-23.
“They took advantage of opportunities,” said Hepditch.
The away game was their last before an eight-day Christmas break, which Hepditch hopes will give his team a chance to rest up and refocus.
“We’ve been playing kind of shorthanded the last couple games,” he said. “It’s good for the guys to rest up and get rid of the injuries nagging them, and hopefully they’ll clear their minds a little and get back at it.”
Getting back at it won’t be as easy as it sounds — the Thunder Cats have three divisional game nearly back-to-back, visiting the Fernie Ghostriders on Dec. 28 and the Rockets on Dec. 29, then hosting the Ghostriders on Dec. 31.
The Rockets currently lead the Eddie Mountain Division with 43 points, two ahead of the Ghostriders and five ahead of the Kimberley Dynamiters. The Columbia Valley Rockies are in fourth with 27 points, and the Thunder Cats are a point behind.
“It’s going to be a good test to see if we’re ready to get back at it or not,” he said. “We have to get back at it or we’re going to be in a tough situation.”