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The Thunder Cats road trip didn’t get off to a good start

The first weekend of the Creston Valley Thunder Cats give-game road trip didn’t get off to the start they wanted.

After playing 10 of their previous 11 games at the John Bucyk Arena, they headed to Invermere for a date with the Columbia Valley Rockies that seemed to start out fine with the Cats outshooting the Rockies 17-10 in the first period and coming out with a 1-1 tie after 20 minutes, but the latter two frames weren’t as kind to the Cats.

Outscored and outshot, the Rockies scored four straight goals, including a pair in 37 seconds, to commandeer the rest of the game and take the win by a score of 5-1. The Cats’ lone goal came from rookie forward Spencer Dorge. It was his second goal in three games and third point in four, as the Crowsnest Pass native seems to be coming into his own on the ice.

Despite the loss, Sylvin Menard still put up an inspiring performance making 40 saves on 45 shots, the second-most Menard faced this season. The next night the Cats tried to disrupt Dynamiter’s parents weekend. It was a low-shot, low-intensity affair between the division rivals, which is something that the two teams and their fan bases aren’t accustomed to seeing.

The first period offered zero goals and only 12 shots between the two teams, an 8-4 lead for Kimberley. The second period didn’t see much change in the shot department as the Dynamiters were once again held to eight, but they made three of them count. The league-leading scorer Brock Palmer tallied twice for the home team and factored in on the third Dynamiter’s goal of the period putting the Cats on the wrong end of a 3-0 score. The shots weren’t the only thing that was low in this game, through 52 minutes there were only two penalties, one for each team.

That changed in the third as the Cats got two consecutive power plays but were unable to convert on either of them. Palmer would secure the hat trick and the Cats found themselves shutout for the first time this season. The final shots for the game were 24-20 for Kimberley. Menard made 20 saves in his first back-to-back start.

Next up for the Cats on their road trip is their final Okanagan swing of the year. It will be three games in three nights as they take on the Chase Heat on Nov. 29, the defending KIJHL champs, the Revelstoke Grizzlies on Nov. 30, and then the Sicamous Eagles on Dec. 1.

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