The Creston Valley Thunder Cats got the 2012-2013 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season off to a good start when they won their home opener on Friday, beating the Kimberley Dynamiters 6-1.
“As a team, I thought we played really well,” said head coach Josh Hepditch. “The guys really came together. We had a few good showings from some players points-wise.”
Thunder Cats Ryan Murray, Lucas Kwasny, Brady Ward and Trevor Hanna each scored in the first period, with a Creston native assisting on the first two.
“Colby Livingstone had some nice assists in the first period, two beautiful passes to guys that finished it off,” said Hepditch. “It was nice for him, being a local kid, to see that.”
The second period started with a Dynamiters goal, followed by Thunder Cats goals by Ethan Rusnack and Hanna, the latter of which also saw Livingstone assist.
The third period was scoreless, despite Kimberley’s 24 shots on Creston goalie Michael Hails, who blocked 51 shots in the game.
“They outshot us quite badly,” said Hepditch. “He kept us in it in the first period and gave us a chance to pull through. If it wasn’t for him, there probably would have been a different outcome.”
Although Hepditch thought the team played better in a Saturday away game, the Thunder Cats lost 3-2 to the Dynamiters. Thunder Cat Ty Kronewitt scored early in the first period with two Kimberley goals following. The Dynamiters started the game winner early in the second period before Rusnack scored the Thunder Cats’ second.
“I thought they competed pretty hard,” said Hepditch. “We just didn’t get the results we were looking for. Our special teams came up a little bit short on Saturday, and we were one shot away from a different game.”
This weekend, the Thunder Cats travel to Grand Forks on Friday to take on the Border Bruins, who may offer a challenge after finishing the last two seasons at the bottom of the KIJHL standings.
“They have a good competitive team this year,” said Hepditch.
On Saturday, the Thunder Cats return home to host the Nelson Leafs, a consistently strong team.
“It’s going to be a good test for us this early in the season,” said Hepditch. “It’s always a sprint — you never want to fall behind the pack early in the season. Both are very important games for us.”