Home ice wasn’t an advantage for the Creston Valley Thunder Cats on the weekend, with the team winning on the road and losing a game in the John Bucyk Arena.
Darby Berg was a dominant force in Invermere on Friday night, scoring his team’s first four goals and adding an assist on the final one to lead Creston to a 5-1 win over the Columbia Rockies.
Berg opened the scoring with a power-play marker in the first period, with an assist going to Kason Furukawa. Logan MacDonald tied the game a couple minutes later with what would be the Rockies’ only goal of the game.
Berg (Andrew Clark and Furukawa) put up another power play goal in the second period, putting Creston into a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes of play. The Grande Prairie resident lit the lamp twice more in the final frame, scoring two more consecutive goals (Brody Ryan and Furukawa, Clark) before Brody Ryan (Berg and Jordan DeGouw wrapped up the game with an empty netter.
Sam Burford was strong in the net, turning away all but one of the 50 shots he faced. Creston scored their five goals on only 18 shots on Ty Grant.
Back home for a Saturday night tilt against the 100 Mile House Wranglers, the teams took turns scoring in the first period. Garrett Hilton opened with a power play goal less than three minutes in, but Connor Scammell’s unassisted effort tied things up. Benjamin Keon put up another power-play goal that was negated by red-hot Darby Berg (Gabe Scigliano and Andrew Clark) with 1:34 remaining in the period. But Cody Barnes put the Wranglers into the lead for good with 42 seconds left.
After a scoreless second period, Darian Long scored his team’s third power-play goal and then Aidan Morrison sealed the win with an empty-netter.
“For both games, I thought our compete level was high and we took huge strides as a team,” Coach Nick Redding said on Monday. “The worst would be our inability to connect in the offensive zone in our second game. We had a tough time sustaining pressure and establishing a presence in our offensive zone.”
Redding said goalie Burford played well in both games and “obviously Berg stood out with his four-goal night.” Connor Scammell, he added, “had his best game that I have seen in a while.”
The Thunder Cats head west for two games in the Okanagan on the weekend, first taking on the North Okanagan Knights in Armstrong on Friday and then moving south for a game against the Kelowna Chiefs.
“We still need to focus on our defensive zone as we had some leaks in it on Saturday and we need to focus on getting on teams we are on the offensive attack and create more opportunities for ourselves.”