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Creston splits first two games of series with Fernie


The Creston Valley Thunder Cats got their 2024 playoffs off to a rocking start, with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Fernie Ghostriders, on Friday, Feb. 23.

Even though Fernie came back for a victory the next night, on Saturday, the Thunder Cats have negated the top seed’s home ice advantage and the first round series comes to Creston, to resume Tuesday.

Thunder Cats forward Bobby Anselmo got the playoff scoring underway on Friday in Fernie, with assists from Taylor Schmideder and Jace Litoski, just 3:38 into the first period.

After a scoreless second period, Luke Chakrabarti made it 2-0 in the third (from Riley Kostering), but Fernie came roaring back in the later minutes of the frame, with a power play goal from Kaden Slobodian at 14:45. Slobodian got his second of the game and series with only 30 seconds left in the game, with Fernie’s goaltender Levi Hall pulled for the extra attacker.

And so to overtime, where it took more than 15 minutes to settle things — with Nikolai Morrison’s first of the playoffs (from Luke Chakrabarti and Tyson Tokarz) to end Game 1.

The shots in Game 1 were even — Dario Cantini stopped 43 of 45 shots for Creston, Levi Hall stopped 42 of 45 for Fernie.

On Saturday, the division-leading Ghostriders got their feet under them more, but Creston gave them a tough game. There was not scoring in the first or third periods, but second period goals from Fernie’s Taylor Haggerty and Kaden Slobodian was the difference.

Creston got off 51 shots on Levi Hall, who stopped them all, while Cantini stopped 40 of 42 in the Thunder Cat’s net.

And so Round 1 comes to Creston all tied up, with action set for Tuesday at the Johnny Bucyk Arena, 7:30 pm.

In other KIJHL playoff match-ups, it was Columbia Valley taking a 2-0 game lead over the Kimberley Dynamiters in the other Eddie Mountain Division series.

In the Neil Murdoch Division, the Beaver Valley Nitehawks took a 2-0 game lead over the Castlegar Rebels, while the Grand Forks Border Bruins and the Nelson Leafs split their first two games.

In the Bill Ohlhausen Division, the North Okanagan Knights lead the Osoyoos Coyotes 2-0, and the Princeton Posse took their first two games with the Kelowna Chiefs.

In the Doug Birks Division, the Revelstoke Grizzlies lead the Chase Heat 2-0, the Kamloops Storm and Sicamous Eagles split their first two games.

Barry Coulter

About the Author: Barry Coulter

Barry Coulter had been Editor of the Cranbrook Townsman since 1998, and has been part of all those dynamic changes the newspaper industry has gone through over the past 20 years.
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