Two wins on the weekend helped the Creston Valley Thunder Cats hold on to third place in the Eddie Mountain Division of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.
With 30 points, the Thunder Cats are four points ahead of the Golden Rockets, but behind the Kimberley Dynamiters (38) and Fernie Ghostriders (42) after victories over the Rockets and the Doug Birks Division-leading Kamloops Storm.
“I think we came out and played with urgency and the will to win,” Thunder Cats head coach Brent Heaven said of Saturday’s 6-2 victory over the Storm.
Brandon Formosa led the scoring a minute into the first period, followed by two Kamloops goals. Trevor Forward scored late in the period, with Formosa adding two more. The second and third periods also saw Formosa score, with a shorthanded goal in the second and power-play goal in the third.
“He’s got the potential and we’ve seen it all year,” said Heaven. “He’s only gone one game without getting a point.”
Goalie Tyler Moffatt was also part of the Thunder Cats’ success, stopping 32 Kamloops shots and making some “momentum shifting saves.”
“Tyler Moffatt played fantastic for us in net,” said Heaven. “He really stood on his head and gave us a chance to win.”
Heaven also noted that the game was rough, with a total of about 200 penalty minutes being shared between the teams.
Sunday’s game was also a victory for the Thunder Cats, who earned a 5-3 win over the Rockets, starting with a goal 30 seconds into the game.
“Our captain, Scott Swiston, stole the puck from their defenceman and went in to get a goal shorthanded,” said Heaven. “It was a great way to start a game. … We were able to build off of that.”
Formosa followed with his sixth goal of the weekend, for 2-0 score at the end of the first period. He scored once in the second period — as did two Rockets — and again in the third. Thunder Cats Darcy Flaherty also scored in the last period, and the Rockets scored the final goal with seven minutes left.
Heaven again praised Moffatt, who stopped 41 out of 44 Golden shots — a high tally compared with the Thunder Cats’ 25 shots.
“A lot of [Golden] shots were from the perimeter and not great scoring chances,” he said.
(Results of Tuesday’s game in Invermere against the Columbia Valley Rockies were not available at press time, but can be found at www.crestonvalleyadvance.ca.)
This weekend, the Thunder Cats host the Sicamous Eagles, to whom they lost 3-1 on Nov. 27 during an Okanagan road trip.
“We went into Sicamous and game three of a long road trip kind of lacking our legs and didn’t put forth our best effort,” said Heaven. “We’re looking to return the favour when they’re here in our arena.”
On Saturday, the Thunder Cats travel to Golden. Heaven is hoping for a win to widen the gap in the standings between the Thunder Cats and that division rival.
“Every weekend, our goal is to get every win that we can,” he said. “It all depends on how we come out and play.”