The Creston Valley Thunder Cats had a win and a loss on the weekend, a record similar to recent weeks, but Friday’s win was a big one.
The Thunder Cats kicked off the weekend hosting the Grand Forks Border Bruins — with 23 losses and no wins, at the bottom of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League standings — and send them home after a 12-0 win.
“It was a little bit slow at the start, but once the second period got going, they really started to play the way I know we can,” said head coach Brent Heaven.
The first period saw only one goal, scored on a power play by Jovi Fabbri, but six goals followed in the second, by Trevor Forward, Trevor Hanna, Fabbri, Dane Birks, Darcy Flaherty (unassisted and shorthanded) and Brandon Formosa.
In the third period, Fabbri scored the first of five goals on a power play, with Jordan Johnson (two), Formosa and C.J. Caputo also contributing.
Heaven was particularly pleased by the performance of Formosa, Fabbri and Jesse Collins, who earned six, five and five points, respectively, with Collins assisting on five goals.
Bus issues the following day prompted the cancellation of a scheduled away game against the Golden Rockets.
On Sunday, the North Okanagan Knights — who, with 31 points, are third in the Doug Birks Division — visited the Thunder Cats who suffered a 5-4 loss. The game started out well, Heaven said, although it was scoreless in the first period. By the end of the second period, though, power-play goals by Jesse Gartland and Fabbri, and a goal by Darcy Flaherty gave the Thunder Cats a 3-1 lead.
But things turned ugly in the third period, when Brock Ward “got hit with a vicious check to the head.” He lay on the ice unconscious for 10 minutes before being rushed to the hospital by ambulance.
“He’s got a pretty serious concussion, and a big gash on his jaw,” said Heaven.
Collins managed the Thunder Cats’ single third-period goal on a power play, but four Knights goals earned them a 5-4 victory. The last two Knights goals were scored on a power play, which resulted from Ryan Murray’s ejection from the game after standing up for Thunder Cats goalie Tyler Moffatt, who was being harassed by the North Okanagan visitors.
“It’s disappointing seeing players taking liberties, and when you stand up for them, [your players] get penalized,” said Heaven.
This weekend, the Thunder Cats will be away, visiting the Chase Heat on Friday, the Kamloops Storm on Saturday and the Sicamous Eagles on Sunday. The Storm leads the Doug Birks Division with 46 points, and the Eagles are in fourth with 16; the Heat bring up the rear with three.
The Thunder Cats are currently in third in the Eddie Mountain Division with 24 points, a few wins behind the Kimberley Dynamiters, with 31, and well behind the Fernie Ghostriders, who lead with 37.
The road trip will be a great chance for some team bonding, said Heaven, as well as an opportunity to earn a few points.
“Hopefully we can have a successful weekend … and come back with a few points to help us climb the ladder in our division,” said Heaven.