While the Creston Valley Thunder Cats have seen a rough start to the season, new head coach Brad Tobin is staying optimistic.
At the homeopener on Friday, Sept. 23, the Cats were tied up the game 2-2 in period 3 against the Castlegar Rebels. The team had been trailing behind, despite leading in shots on the net.
“I thought Friday night, we played a pretty solid game,” said Tobin. “We put up 42 shots, and we just couldn’t find a third goal.”
Tobin noticed a standout performance from forward Luke Chakrabarti, #14.
“I thought he played really well in the first game, kept with pace,” he said.
Ultimately, the Cats couldn’t pull ahead and lost 3-2, but support from the crowd helped boost team morale.
“It’s better to better to play in front of fans, especially if they’re loud,” said Tobin. “I know there were a lot of kids cheering for us, and it was awesome. It creates a great atmosphere.”
On Saturday, the Cats faced another tough night of competition against the Kimberley Dynamiters, losing 7-3
“It was kind of expected that going into Kimberley for their homeopener it’d be a lot tougher to get a result,” said Tobin. “The first half of the game was good, but we just couldn’t put 60 minutes together.”
He noted that the team this year consists of 13 rookies, all of which were recruited by previous coaches. Originally from Vancouver, Tobin stepped in to the position in August to replace Brandon Switzer, as he departed for an assistant coaching position with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Spruce Grove Saints. In April, Switzer had replaced Bill Rotheisler.
“I’m giving everyone the benefit of the doubt for the first little bit here,” said Tobin. “But obviously, as a new coach coming in, my expectations are a little higher. I don’t think [the rookies] played in an atmosphere like that before, so it was kind of a little eye opener for them.”
Going forward, Tobin said the team will take the positives from the weekend and work hard in practice to prepare for the next game versus the Nelson Leafs on Saturday, Oct. 1.
“I want the team to obviously be working hard every night,” said Tobin. “We need to put in a full 60-minute effort, or there could be changes throughout the lineup.”
He also wants to focus on building a positive team culture by getting the players more involved in the Creston community.
“Because this is a small town, I think it’s better the more that you get out to interact with fans and get them coming to the arena on Friday, Saturday night,” he said.
Stay tuned for the next home game at the Johnny Bucyk Arena on Saturday, Oct. 21 versus the Kimberley Dynamiters.