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HomeCranbrook NewsDynamiters Suffer Rare Losses, Thunder Cats Create Cushion in KIJHL Playoff Race

Dynamiters Suffer Rare Losses, Thunder Cats Create Cushion in KIJHL Playoff Race

The KIJHL’s Eddie Mountain Division featured six games over the weekend, as the league-leading Kimberley Dynamiters fell in back-to-back games, while the Creston Valley Thunder Cats created breathing room in the playoff race.

Kimberley Dynamiters (34-6-0-2)

Entering the weekend the Kimberley Dynamiters had only lost six of their 40 regular games, but in a rare occurrence for the highly-successful club, the team dropped both of their games. On the road for both of their contests, the Dynamiters fell 3-2 to the Fernie Ghostriders on Friday before being handed a 6-5 loss by the Creston Valley Thunder Cats. Fernie successfully avenged Tuesday’s 7-2 loss to Kimberley with their 3-2 win at Fernie Memorial Arena. Kimberley outshot Fernie 52-26 in the loss as Ghostriders netminder Ethan Fitzgerald made 49 saves to steal the win. Harrison Risdon and Brock Palmer were the two goal scorers for Kimberley in their first loss of the weekend. Looking to rebound in Creston on Saturday, the Dynamiters were met with opposition from the Thunder Cats. Successfully defending Johnny Bucyk Arena, Creston muscled out the 6-5 win by shutting out the Dynamiters in the final period and scoring two unanswered goals to narrowly claim the victory. Cam Russell (3A) led Kimberley in the loss while Erik Delaire (2G) and Dan Graber (2A) were also offensive leaders. On a losing skid for the first time this season, the Dynamiters will look to get back on track with a rematch against Thunder Cats. In their only game of the upcoming weekend, the Dynamiters host the Thunder Cats at 7:30 pm on Friday at the Kimberley Civic Centre. Despite their pair of losses, Kimberley still maintains a six-point lead on the Revelstoke Grizzlies for the best record in the KIJHL and a 12-point lead on the Fernie Ghostriders for the top spot in the Eddie Mountain Division.

Fernie Ghostriders (27-11-1-3)

The Fernie Ghostriders were looking to avenge their loss to the Kimberley Dynamiters to being a two-game homestand this weekend at Fernie Memorial Arena, and they did just that, also picking up a win over the visiting Golden Rockets. Opening their weekend against the Dynamiters Friday night, Fernie successfully avenged their 7-2 loss from earlier in the week, by stealing a 3-2 win from Kimberley. Ethan Fitzgerald was lights out for the Ghostriders, stopping 49 of 52 shots as Fernie was severely outshot 52-26. With the strong showing from Fitzgerald between the pipes, Fernie was able to put three past Blake Pilon as Nolan Steer (1G, 2A) led the offensive attack for the Ghostriders while Seamus Keith (1G, 1A) and Gavin Lawrie (1G, 1A) were the other two goal scorers. The Ghostriders then hosted the Golden Rockets on Saturday, picking up an early 3-0 lead and never looking back, as they eventually skated to a 5-2 win. Brett Balas stopped 30 of 32 on the back end while Jordon Kromm (1G, 2A) and Johnny Elias (2G) were the key contributors up front. Fernie has just one game this upcoming weekend as they head into Creston on Saturday to take on the Thunder Cats at Johnny Bucyk Arena at 7:30 pm.

Columbia Valley Rockies (20-15-2-4)

Garnering mixed results this past weekend, the Columbia Valley Rockies remain in the middle of the pack within the Eddie Mountain Division and appear poised to secure a playoff spot with just eight regular season games remaining. Columbia Valley opened their weekend at Johnny Bucyk Arena in Creston, where the Thunder Cats skated to a 3-1 victory. The Rockies outshot the Thunder Cats 40-30 in the loss as Mason Robinson would score the game’s opening goal in the second period, but Creston would go on to score three unanswered to take the game. Hoping to bounce back on home ice, the Rockies returned to Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena in Invermere for a matchup with the Beaver Valley Nitehawks. Columbia Valley blew out Beaver Valley in the contest, easily winning 7-1 after a four-goal first period. The Rockies outshot the Nitehawks 39-29 in the win as Bretton Park made 28 saves, while Erik Lloyd (3A) led the Rockies alongside Tristan Lambert (2G). Columbia Valley currently has an 11-point lead on the Golden Rockets and could secure a playoff berth with a couple more wins to close out the season. The Rockies split their time this upcoming weekend, as they host a home-and-home with the Rockets. Golden hosts the first game Friday at 8:00 pm at Golden Arena before Saturday’s 7:00 pm matchup at Invermere’s Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena.

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Creston Valley Thunder Cats (18-15-0-5)

The Creston Valley Thunder Cats have been playing like their playoff lives depend on it, which it does. Needing to cushion their lead on the Golden Rockets in the Eddie Mountain Division playoff race, the Thunder Cats came through with back-to-back wins this weekend against the Columbia Valley Rockies and Kimberley Dynamiters. Creston earned a 3-1 win Friday against the Rockies, as the team scored three unanswered goals to close out the game after Columbia Valley drew first blood in the second. Jaden Little was sensational for the Thunder Cats, turning aside 39 of 40 shots in the win as six different Thunder Cats players made their way onto the scoresheet, although Aiden Szautner, Ryan Patterson, and Benjamin Kruse were the team’s goal scorers. Creston took that momentum into Saturday’s monster matchup with the Kimberley Dynamiters, as the team completed the 6-5 upset after a strong third period. Down 5-3 midway through the second period, Vin Jackson (2G) would score on the power play to pull the Thunder Cats within one, while Benjamin Kruse (1G) would open the scoring in the third to tie the game, leading to Brian Butland’s (1G) eventual game-winner. Connor Scammell (3A) and Andrew Clark (3A) were the Thunder Cats’ offensive leaders in the 6-5 victory. Creston will now look to fend off the Dynamiters a second time as the two teams clash at 7:30 pm on Friday at the Kimberley Civic Centre before the Thunder Cats return home on Saturday to host the Fernie Ghostriders at 7:30 pm from Johnny Bucyk Arena.

Golden Rockets (16-20-1-2)

Needing wins to climb into a playoff spot, the Golden Rockets came up short this past weekend, dropping both of their games to the Beaver Valley Nitehawks and Fernie Ghostriders. Chasing the Creston Valley Thunder Cats for the final playoff spot in the Eddie Mountain Division, the Rockets now trail by six points, well within reach with 10 games remaining in their regular season. Golden opened their weekend at home against Beaver Valley, losing 4-1. Colton Hutchinson opened the scoring for the Rockets less than two minutes into the first, but that would be Golden’s only goal as the Nitehawks added three goals in the second period to seal the game. Travelling to Fernie on Saturday, the Rockets would stumble once again. The Ghostriders edged the Rockets 5-2 by jumping out to an early 3-0 lead. Liam Morris and Brayden Blink were Golden’s two goal scorers in the loss. Still within striking distance, the Rockets have four games in a seven-day span. Golden opens their week on Tuesday in Revelstoke to battle a Grizzlies team that has won three straight. On the weekend, the Rockets hold a home-and-home with the Columbia Valley Rockies, starting at 8:00 pm Friday at Golden Arena and ending with a 7:00 pm contest at Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena. Golden then closes out their busy week with a 7:30 pm matchup with the Creston Valley Thunder Cats at Golden Arena next Tuesday, completing their four games in seven days.

Eddie Mountain Division

* Kimberley Dynamiters 42 34 6 0 2 70 167 98 69 L2
* Fernie Ghostriders 42 27 11 1 3 58 175 127 48 W2
Columbia Valley Rockies 41 20 15 2 4 46 142 122 20 W1
Creston Valley Thunder Cats 38 18 15 0 5 41 132 145 -13 W3
Golden Rockets 39 16 20 1 2 35 129 145 -16 L2

* = Clinched Playoff Berth

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