The Creston Valley Thunder Cats added a seventh game to their winning streak on Friday, defeating the Kimberley Dynamiters before ending the streak with a loss to the Golden Rockets on Saturday.
With the second-place Dynamiters now nine points behind the Thunder Cats in the Eddie Mountain Division, that 6-3 win was needed to widen the gap.
It started with goals by Brandon Formosa and Trevor Hanna (power play) within three minutes, which the visiting Dynamiters tied by the end of the first period.
“It was a very fast game,” said head coach Josh Hepditch. “We had a very good start. We kind of kept getting better as the game went on. … Our power play was good and that seemed to be the difference, really.”
Hanna scored a power-play goal at 8:20 in the second period, followed by a shorthanded goal by Formosa at 5:13. The Dynamiters scored a single goal early in the third, but Seth Schmidt and Jonathon Watt added the Thunder Cats’ fifth and sixth.
Hepditch was impressed by the performance of Schmidt — an 18-year-old from Creston who was acquired from the Castlegar Rebels last week — who earned three points in his first game, and Formosa, who earned five points.
Saturday’s match against the Golden Rockets, at the bottom of the division with 16 points, was “a little bit of a tough game,” said Hepditch, with key forward Colby Livingstone playing for the Trail Smoke Eaters that night.
The Rockets scored three goals by the middle of the first period, with Jesse Collins, Ryan Fairfield and Hanna answering back for a 3-3 tie by the end of the period. Carson Cartwright and Logan Styler (power play) scored in the second period for a 5-5 tie, but the Rockets scored the game-winner at 11:48 in the third, adding an empty-netter to that at 0:31.
Although the loss was disappointing, Hepditch said the Thunder Cats’ five goals are still significant, particularly since the team routinely scores that high.
“If we lose, we still score five goals, so we can’t be mad about that,” he said.
That game — which saw Marcel Fuchs (checking from behind, game misconduct) and Formosa (head contact, game ejection) suspended for for, respectively, one and three games — also marked the end of an 11-game losing streak for Golden.
“Both streaks were bound to end sometime, and unfortunately, we were the ones to end it for them,” said Hepditch.
This weekend, the Thunder Cats play only one game, visiting the Fernie Ghostriders on Saturday for what could be a difficult match with Fuchs and Formosa missing.
“We could be going in pretty shorthanded,” said Hepditch. “This is one of those divisional games we’ve got to find way to win. We’ll definitely have some adversity up there and we’ll see if the guys are up for the challenge.”