KIJHL teams win Cyclone Taylor Cup opening games

Creston Valley Thunder Cats and Beaver Valley Nitehawks are both 1-0 in provincial Junior B hockey championship on now in Creston.

Thunder Cat Ronnie Wilkie swoops toward the net

Beaver Valley wins first Cyclone Taylor Cup game

The class of the 2017 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League looked confident and disciplined in the opening game of the Cyclone Taylor Cup in Creston on Thursday.

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks were strong in every aspect of the game, rolling to a 6-0 win over the Campbell River Storm, champions of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. The KIJHL champs poured 22 shots on goal in the opening period and skated off with a 2-0 lead after the first frame.

Storm starting goaltender Chris Smith kept the score close as the Nitehawks forwards stormed the net in waves, but Blake Sidoni finally put a shot past him at the 14:57 mark. Nolan Percival put Beaver Valley up by a pair less than three minutes later.

The Nitehawks’s struck early in the second, when Tyler Hartman scored after 43 seconds of play. Sam Swanson and McKoy Hauck gave Beaver Valley a 5-0 lead after 40 minutes, chasing Smith midway through the period. Backup netminder Spencer Deakin didn’t have a solution for the fast-skating Kootenay team either, though.

Tyler Ghirardhosi scored the only goal of the final period.

Beaver Valley put up a balanced attack, with six different goal scorers and 10 players earning points while outshooting their opponents 43-27. Sidoni, Tallon Kramer and Hartman were named the game stars in front of a crowd of 618 in the John Bucyk Arena, many of whom travelled from the West Kootenays to see their local heroes in action.

Campbell River took 7 of the 11 penalties awarded, but did not give up a power play goal.

 

Thunder Cats open provincial championships with a win

Creston Valley Thunder Cats put up solid goaltending and two short-handed goals to earn a 2-0 victory over the Aldergrove Kodiaks in Game 2 of the Cyclone Taylor Cup tournament on Thursday night.

The T-Cats, who hadn’t played a game in two weeks, came out with a solid first period effort, outshooting the Kodiaks 14-6, but skated off after 20 minutes with nothing to show for it.

Sebastian Kilcommons finally broke the ice at the 14:38 mark of the second period, scoring an unassisted marker while teammate Ronnie Wilkie looked on from the penalty box. Wilkie was serving his second slashing minor penalty of the period.

It was a period in which Aldergrove probably deserved more, outshooting Creston 12-10 and using their superior size to bounce around the smaller Thunder Cats. But goaltender Brock Levebvre was rock solid all night and never seemed to be out of position.

The Thunder Cats seemed to find their game legs in the final period and they were reward late in the game when Liam Plunkett finished off a ferocious forechecking effort on the penalty kill by putting the puck past huge Aldergove goalie Dawson Rodin. Aiden Wong earned an assist on the play.

The teams played before an enthusiastic crowd of more than 700 in the John Bucyk Arena, many of whom seemed surprised to see the host team taking 8 of 12 penalties against a bigger, rougher Aldergrove team.

Lefebvre and Rodin were named the game’s first two stars, and Aiden Wong, who played a strong two-way game, earned the third nod.

Cyclone Taylor Cup play continues this afternoon when Aldergrove takes on Beaver Valley at 3:30 p.m. Creston hosts Campbell River in a 7:30 game. Wins by the two KIJHL teams today would set up a huge game when the teams square off on Saturday evening.

 

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