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Thunder Cats defeat Rockies to keep season alive

The Rockies now lead the best-of-7 series 3-2, with play resuming tonight in Invermere.

After losing three straight playoff games to the Columbia Valley Rockies, the Creston Valley Thunder Cats got back on track on Thursday night with a 7-1 home ice win.

The Rockies now lead the best-of-7 series 3-2, with play resuming tonight in Invermere.

Conor Monaghan was a well deserving Home Star, notching 4 goals on a night that could have been the end of Creston’s season.

Liam Plunkett opened the scoring at John Bucyk Arena 1:21 into the game, with assists from Ronnie Wilkie and Bryce Sturm. Monaghan (Liam Rycroft) put the T-Cats into a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Monaghan opened the second period scoring with a short-handed effort and then Tyler Witzke (Plunkett and Wilkie) potted a power-play goal. Hunter Beckett put the Rockies on the board midway through the period, but Sturm (Plunkett and Wilkie) and Monaghan (Witzke and Brody Ryan) responded.

Monaghan (Plunkett and Witzke) finished the night’s scoring with another power-play goal with 7:45 remaining in the final period.

The game, particularly the second period, was a penalty-filled affair, with the lowlight coming with 37 seconds left in the second period when Sturm was hit with a 5-minute major and game misconduct for making head contact with an opposing player. In addition, referee Ryan Blata handed out a total of 18 minor penalties and four 10-minute misconducts.

Levi Mitchell turned away 19 of the 20 shots he faced in the Creston goal, while Rockies’ goaltender Ben Kelsch let 7 of the 31 shots he faced get by him.

With their big offensive night, Plunkett, Monaghan, and Sturm all now occupy Top 10 spots in KIJHL playoff scoring.

The Thunder Cats’ season remains on the line tonight when the series reverts to Invermere for Game 6. A Creston win would see the teams play a deciding Game 7 in Creston on Saturday night at 7:30 pm.