After a stellar regular season, the Creston Valley Thunder Cats now find their playoff hopes hanging by a thread after taking a 4-3 overtime loss in Invermere on Tuesday night.
The Thunder Cats outshot the Columbia Valley Rockies 46-34 and had starting goaltender Levi Mitchell back between the pipes, but they still couldn’t come up with the winning goal as they absorbed a third straight defeat against a team that finished 22 points behind them in regular season standings.
Liam Rycroft (Liam Plunkett and Bryce Sturm) opened the scoring 12:05 into the game. Joshua Antunes’ unassisted effort put the teams into a tie after 20 minutes of play.
The teams swapped power-play goals in the second period. First Davin Burton scored to put the Rockies into the lead, but Conor Monaghan (Jack McCardle and Ronnie Wilkie) restored the tie.
Columbia Valley scored first in the third frame, with Cooper Krauss earning the goal. Monaghan (Plunkett and Tyler Witzke) gave Creston hope with 27 second seconds remaining in regulation time.
That effort went for naught, though, when Ryan Skytt popped the game-winner 11:01 into the first overtime period, and put his team into the driver’s seat in a series it now leads 3-1.
Monaghan earned the Away Star honours for his play, and Skytt was named the home star in a game that attracted 398 fans to Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena.
The opening round playoff series resumes in Creston on Thursday night. A loss will send Thunder Cats back to their home communities for a summer on the golf course.