At this point in the season, most teams in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) have completed the quarter-mark of their 42-game schedule.
The Creston Valley Thunder Cats are holding strong with 11 wins in the last 17 games. Most recently, they won games against Grand Forks and Golden, followed by a narrow defeat 4-3 by Fernie on Nov. 27.
“I think we are doing well,” said Head Coach Bill Rotheisler.
“Like anything else, you have opportunity for improvement, but we have some good players. The players kind of drive the bus on the offence. We try to put them in a spot to get quick shots off and be in good scoring positions.”
As of Nov. 30, the team is sitting at third in the standings, five points behind the Columbia Valley Rockies and tied with the Kimberley Dynamiters at 24 points. Team captain Vin Jackson leads the Thunder Cats with 15 points in 15 games, while forward Sheldon Kwiatkowski has eight goals and 13 points in nine games. Kwiatkowski is also on a five-game point streak with eight goals and an assist.
Rotheisler added that the team is enjoying the addition of Kwiatkowski, who hails from his hometown of Sexsmith, Alta.
“Out of our guys who came back from Junior A, he has the highest offensive ceiling,” said Rotheisler.
“We kind of expect him to lead our team in goals. We are impressed with how well he has rounded out his game in other areas. He wants to be a good leader for all the younger guys and play the right way. The goals have come just because of who he is.”
Having been their best defensive player, Rotheisler said it’s also no coincidence that Tyler Badger put up four points. Badger tracks the puck well in his zone and his line with Denon Bamber. And Reece Nelson is the Thunder Cats best at maintaining possession.
The next home game will be at the Johnny Bucyk Arena on Friday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the gate starting at 6:45 p.m. costing $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $6 for youth.
– With files from KIJHL