There are worse ways to end a winning streak than an overtime loss, where a valuable point is earned.
Creston Valley Thunder Cats took their six-game season opening streak into traditional rival Kimberley on Saturday night, and blew a three-goal lead when the Dynamiters scored with 1:01 left in the second overtime period.
“We had a pretty good first period, but then we got a little too pleased with ourselves and our play dropped off in the second period long enough to give Kimberley back some momentum and open the door to let them back in the game,” coach Jeff Dubois said on Monday. “We weren’t happy with the result but it was good to see that our guys understood what happened and why. We weren’t close to playing to our best game and they saw that too. We have a good veteran group with a lot of character and as a coaching staff we trust them to learn a lesson from Saturday night.”
For Creston, it was the Aiden Wong show, with #91 scoring a natural hat-trick before Kimberley roared back to notch the win.
Wong opened the scoring with two first period goals. Jake Livingstone and Tyler Severson set up the first marker at 14:57 and Grant Iles and Liam Plunkett earned assists on the second goal with 2:45 remaining.
“Aiden Wong had a breakout game offensively but he’s been getting the job done at both ends of the rink,” Dubois said. “One of his goals came shorthanded and the other was right at the end of a penalty kill, so he’s getting some of that production because he’s earned our trust in big moments and in defensive situations.” Thomas Cankovic who leads the Cats in scoring with 10 points, fed a short-handed pass to Wong for a short-handed goal midway through the second period. And that, as they say, was all she wrote for the Thunder Cats, whose balanced scoring attack was stymied the rest of the way by Kimberley goaltender Mitch Traichevich, who stopped 37 of the 40 shots he faced 11 of them in overtime.
Brand Bertoia gave his team a boost with a Dynamiter goal in the second period, then Matt Davies scored early in the third period to close the gap to one and give his team momentum. Bertoia’s second goal, at 3:49, sent the game into overtime.
Creston goalie Brock Lefebvre continued his strong play, but couldn’t stop Davies from scoring the game winner.
Dubois commended his number one goalie.
“Brock Lefebvre made some big saves at key points of the game including a few during overtime, and he deserved better than to take the loss.”
The coach said the game had some takeaways for his players, and that his players have to learn to play a complete game.
“We’ve been a great first period team and a pretty good second period team, but we’ve had trouble sustaining that through a full 60 minutes,” he said. “I think there’s some complacency that set in during a few games where the score wasn’t close by the time we got to the third period, and as a group we have to understand that you can’t pick your spots. When you start to do that you end up with a result like Saturday where things start to slide on you and a game goes the other way pretty quickly.”
With the win, Kimberley climbed into second place in the KIJHL’s Eddie Mountain Division, only a point behind Creston.
The Thunder Cats host two home games this weekend, with visits from Grand Forks Border Bruins on Friday night and Golden Rockets on Saturday. Grand Forks leads the Neil Murdoch Division with 11 points after 8 games, and Golden sits fourth in Creston’s division with 6 points after 8 games played.