Creston Valley Thunder Cats beat Nelson Leafs to stay at top of division

Web Lead

The Creston Valley Thunder Cats ended a three-game winning streak by losing Friday and Saturday’s games, but handed the league-leading Nelson Leafs their first regulation-time loss of the season on Sunday, allowing the Creston team to pull farther ahead in the Eddie Mountain Division of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

“Everyone in our division lost both Friday and Saturday, and we won Sunday,” said head coach Josh Hepditch. “It worked out for us, but not the way we want it to go for the rest of the year, that’s for sure.”

With 24 points, the Thunder Cats are three points ahead of the Kimberley Dynamiters, and five ahead of the Fernie Ghostriders and Columbia Valley Rockies, tied for third place. The Golden Rockets bring up the rear with 14 points.

Friday’s game at the John Bucyk Arena resulted in a 7-2 loss to the Kamloops Storm, which leads the Doug Birks Division with 32 points.

“We actually played better than the score showed. We had a rocky start and they took advantage of that.”

After the Storm scored two goals, Brandon Formosa netted one for the Thunder Cats on a power play at 6:05, but two more Kamloops goals put Creston down 4-1 by the end of the first period.

The Thunder Cats felt they were still in the game, Hepditch said, but two penalties — Colby Livingstone for high-sticking and Formosa for interference — at 11:55 in the second allowed Kamloops to make three power-play goals.

In the third period, Formosa scored the only goal, with the Thunder Cats outshooting the Storm 12-8.

Saturday’s 8-5 loss to the Grand Forks Border Bruins had a better start, with Justin Post making the first goal and Livingstone scoring twice to give the Thunder Cats a 3-2 lead. In the second period, though, only Trevor Hanna scored for the Thunder Cats, with Grand Forks adding four more to their total.

“We kind of took the second period off, and they took advantage of that,” said Hepdtich.

A shorthanded, unassisted goal by Connor Kidd was it for the Thunder Cats in the third period, sandwiched between shorthanded and empty-net goal by the Border Bruins.

It was a different story when the league-leading Nelson Leafs visited on Sunday, only to go home with their first regulation-time loss this season.

“It wasn’t like the best game of our season,” said Hepditch of the 9-3 victory. “We just played an actual typical game that the guys have been playing lately. It was definitely a huge confidence builder for them to give Nelson their first loss.”

The Leafs started the scoring, with Formosa (shorthanded) and Kidd scoring shortly after. Nelson followed that with a second goal at 5:12, but Jesse Collins and Marcel Fuchs soon scored for a total of 4-2 at the end of the first period.

The Thunder Cats dominated the second period with four goals, scored by Kidd, Collins (power play), Logan Styler (shorthanded) and Formosa. In the third period, Matthew Murray scored the Thunder Cats only goal at 16:14, and the Leafs responded with a third goal at 2:16.

The Thunder Cats will need to maintain that confidence this weekend, when they travel to Kimberley and Invermere for two divisional games.

This will be their third match against the Dynamiters this season; on Nov. 1 and 2, the Thunder Cats earned two 5-2 victories over them.

“Kimberley is right behind us,” said Hepditch. “We’ve had two very tough games against them. Playing in their arena is very tough, so we really need to put in a good sixty-minute effort.”

The Thunder Cats have also beaten Invermere’s Columbia Valley Rockies in their two games this season, with scores of 6-4 and 11-1. But Hepditch doesn’t want to see his team try to coast on those victories.

“That’s going to be a really tough game on Saturday, because in our division if you don’t come ready to play, you’re not going to win,” he said.


Just Posted

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

BC BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

CEC closure seems final

SD. 8 administrators and trustees offered no hope that the Creston Education Centre could remain open after June.

Radium man seeks Conservative Party federal nomination

Radium lawyer and businessman Dale Shudra has become the fourth candidate to… Continue reading

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

Video: B.C. firefighters featured in quirky video

Oliver Fire Department posts video about their B.C. volunteer firefighter spring training seminar

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Two more medals push Canada into second place

A gold in ski cross and a bronze in bobsleigh as men’s hockey advances to the semis

Trudeau reiterates denial of Sikh separatists in cabinet, condemns extremism

“We will always stand against violent extremism, but we understand that diversity of views is one of the great strengths of Canada.”

Canada wins gold in men’s ski cross

Leman earns redemption with ski cross gold; Homan out early

Trump says more must be done to protect children

In a tweet Tuesday night, Trump indicated he wants to strengthen the background check system, but offered no specifics.

Evangelist Billy Graham has died at 99

Graham died Wednesday morning at his home in Montreat, North Carolina.

Canadians capture bronze in women’s bobsled event

Canadians Humphries, George take bronze in women’s bobsled event at Olympics

Most Read