The Creston Valley Thunder Cats got off to a slow start in Invermere on Tuesday, which resulted in a 6-5 overtime loss to the Columbia Valley Rockies, now 26 points behind the Thunder Cats in the Eddie Mountain Division of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.
“We definitely didn’t come out and play our best game last night,” said head coach Brent Heaven. “We put 63 shots on net, but came out really flat.”
The Rockies scored two goals in the first period before Jesse Collins scored the Thunder Cats’ first. Starting goalie Tyler Moffatt was pulled after the second goal and backup goalie Michael Halls went between the pipes for the rest of the game.
Things turned around in the second period; by the end of it, a goal by Jesse Gartland and two more from Collins gave the Thunder Cats a 4-2 lead.
The third period started off well with a Thunder Cats goal by Jovi Fabbri, following a third Rockies goal, but the Creston defence got lazy.
“The defence lacked because the goaltending had been good,” Heaven said. “You can’t blame the goaltenders when the 20-man unit is hanging them out to dry.”
Two more third-period Rockies goals tied the game 5-5, and the Rockies scored the game-winner at 3:59 in overtime.
Despite the loss, Heaven was pleased that the Thunder Cats earned a single point, bringing their total to 31, nine behind the Kimberley Dynamiters and 21 behind the division-leading Fernie Ghostriders. The Golden Rockets are behind the Thunder Cats with 26 points, and the Rockies bring up the rear with five.
On Saturday, the Thunder Cats host the Sicamous Eagles, to whom they lost 3-1 on Nov. 27, and travel to Golden to take on the Rockets on Sunday. Heaven is feeling optimistic about both games.
“Were moving forward in positive frame of mind,” he said. “We’re getting ourselves prepared and ready for a couple of big games.”