Injuries and the flu leave Thunder Cats shorthanded in Okanagan division

The Creston Valley Thunder Cats’ play against the Okanagan division this season comes with mixed reviews.

On one hand, they’ve beaten each of the four teams from the Bill Ohlhausen Division they have faced so far, but on the other, teams in the Doug Birks Division have been downright stingy.

The Cats had their final western conference swing last weekend and it’s safe to say things didn’t go as planned.

It started with a 4-0 loss to the Chase Heat where Creston had to battle more than bus legs, injuries and the flu, had taken their toll and would play a part in the entire weekend.

The Cats hit the ice in Chase with ten forwards and four defensemen on the bench The Cats surrendered a couple of first period goals on ten shots. They seemed to get their legs under them in the second but weren’t able to beat the Chase goaltender who made a few grade A saves.

Two more quick ones in the third for Chase sealed the Cats’ fate and they headed on up to Revelstoke to try again. They managed to get two forwards back in the lineup but lost defenceman Josh Dalquist to injury in the latter half of the Chase game.

The Cats gave up a pair of first- period goals for the second straight game, but battled back and stuck with the defending champs through most of the game. Trail Thompson started the scoring in the second and Carson Small chipped in with two goals breaking a five-game goalless streak. They were down a goal heading into the third and managed to tie it up with an early powerplay goal, but the lack of bodies took its toll and the Grizzlies scored three straight to take the game by a score of 7-4.

Less than 24 hours later, the Cats were in Sicamous for a 2 p.m. game versus the Eagles. They once again found themselves surrendering two goals after the first period, but in true Cats fashion, they pulled up their socks and found themselves in a tie game heading into the third.

At this point the lack of bodies really showed its impact, they lost defenseman Steve Sauer in the first to injury leaving Andrew Clark and Derek Green as the only defenceman on the bench forcing forwards Tyler Hamilton and the newcomer Justin Deeks to play on the back end, and then lost Vin Jackson to injury as well when he blocked a shot in the third period.

All in all, a 13-skater bench fell 6-3 to the Eagles to mark a 0-3 road trip but put up a valiant effort throughout the whole weekend. There were positives to be found through the whirlwind trip however, as head coach and GM Nick Redding pointed out, the hockey was there, even if the results weren’t.

“For me, even though they were losses, we started progressively playing better hockey even than when we won a couple weekends ago … We’re getting those chances but we really need to focus on just putting them in the right spots and taking a look before we shoot,”said Redding.

The Cats are at home for two more games before the holiday break, Dec. 7 vs the Castlegar Rebels, and then Dec. 10 against Golden.

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