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Thunder Cats post two wins, as end of regular season looms


Barry Coulter

The Creston Valley Thunder Cats had a relatively mellow weekend, game-wise, playing only the one, hosting the Golden Rockets and posting a win on Friday, Feb. 2.

Earlier last week, on Tuesday, Jan. 30, the ‘Cats took on the Columbia Valley Rockies at the Johnny Bucyk, and also got the win.

The Thunder Cats are looking to overtake the Rockies for third place in the Eddie Mountain Division. The KIJHL regular season ends Feb. 17, with the playoffs to follow and Creston currently sits at 43 points to Columbia Valley’s 49.

On Tuesday evening, the “Cats did the job, taking on the Rockies at home.

Oleg Bitus got Columbia Valley on the board first, nine minutes into the game, but Riley Kostering and Connor Hanna answered with two straight goals to give Creston the lead going into the second period.

Kobe Mason got that frame’s only goal to tie the affair, but Luke Chakrabarti put Creston ahead 5:36 into the third. The Rockies pulled the netminder Jaiden Jakubowski for the extra attacker with almost two minutes left in the game, but Stavros Koutsantonis promptly scored into the empty net, sealing the deal for Creston, 4-2.

Dario Cantini stopped 28 of 30 shots for Creston, Jakubowski stopped 22 of 25.

Friday rolled around, and here came the Golden Rockets, for what turned out to be a penalty-filled affair, with power play goals aplenty. .

Luke Chakrabarti netted his 24th goal of the season on the power play, opening the scoring at 9:47 of the first. Liam Munro made it 2-0 Creston, on the power play, at the 17:49 mark.

Tyson Tokarz extended Creston’s lead to 3-0 in the second, and Max Chakrabarti made it 4-0 in the third — on the power play.

Golden finally got on the board in the late stages of the third period, with a power play goal from Hayden Barr.

The Rockets were assessed three minor penalties in the first period. Creston took three penalties in the second. But things turned chippy in the third.

Brock McIlwain got two minutes (and a 10-minute misconduct) early in the third for Head Contact. Tempers flared further and discipline broke down six minutes into the frame. Golden’s Chaz Jaeb was given 10 minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct, and Brandon Spilchen got two for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct. Liam Munro for Creston got two minutes for roughing, Davis Young got a 10 minute misconduct of his own.

After all that was sorted, play resumed, but things broke down again. After couple of Creston minor penalties, and Barr’s goal for Golden, a heyrube with just over a minute left resulted in a series of roughing calls and 10-minute misconducts to both teams to end the game.

When all was send and done, Creston came away with a 4-1 win. Dario Cantini stopped 26 of 27 shots for Creston, Alex Jessey stopped 34 of 38 for Golden.

The next action for the Creston Valley Thunder Cats is Friday, Feb. 9, as they host the Fernie Ghostriders. On Saturday, Feb. 10, Creston travels to Golden for the rematch. The Spokane Braves come to Creston on Tuesday, Feb. 13, and the ‘Cats’ regular season closes out on Saturday, Feb. 17, when Creston travels back to Spokane for the last game before the playoffs begin.