The Nitehawks were short six players and one coach when they stepped onto the ice versus the Cats, and after an undisciplined start by B.V., Creston would erupt for five second-period goals on their way to an 11th straight win.
“They have a good team, they skate well, they work hard, there was no secret to what they were going to bring,” said Hawks assistant coach Kevin Limbert. “We had guys out of the line up, but we were more concerned with the effort we got from the guys in the line up, and the effort just wasn’t there tonight.”
Due to injury or illness the Nitehawks were without leading scorer Ryan Edwards, captain Archie McKinnon, Russell Mortlock, Jacob Boyzuk, Kyle Hope, and goalie Greyson Sharpe, and would insert affiliate players Mitch Titus, Spencer McLean, and goaltender Carson Schamerhorn into the line up to take up the slack.
But it would be all Thunder Cats on this night.
“I thought we played pretty good,” said Thunder Cats’ coach Josh Hepditch. “We had a game plan coming in here, we knew they’d come with a lot of pressure, so we just tried to use our speed and for the most part we executed pretty well.”
Forward Brandon Formosa would score the winning goal on the power play at 12:45 of the second period to make it 4-1.
Colby Livingstone worked the puck down low to Tyler Podgorenko who blasted a shot on goal. Hawks’ goalie Brett Clark made a quick pad save but the rebound went right to Formosa who banged it in and chased Clark from the Hawks net in favour of AP Schamerhorn.
The Nitehawks were in penalty trouble throughout the game giving the Cats eight power-play opportunities, on which they scored twice. Unlike the Hawks, who spent almost a period in the sin bin, Creston maintained their composure and were able to neutralize an ailing Nitehawk attack.
“We looked over at their line up and knew they were missing some key guys, so we just wanted to push the pace,” said Hepditch. “We’ve had to learn the hard way, we have had our share of undisciplined penalties and we’ve kind of learned from it. Everybody’s been on that side of he eight ball before too, you’re losing, you get frustrated, it gets tough, we just tried to play with respect for the full game and I think that’s what we did.”
See HAWKS, Page 12
The Hawks opened the scoring when Sheldon Hubbard whacked a rebound past Cats’ goalie Kyle Michalovsky 30 seconds after the opening faceoff.
However, Colby Livingstone replied with a power-play goal wiring a cross-ice pass from Cats leading scorer Jesse Collins into an open net at 15:58 of the first.
The Cats started their five-goal splurge three minutes into twew second frame when Carson Cartwright wristed one by Clark. Then 27 seconds later Connor Kidd added his first of two on the night, before Formosa fired home the winner.
Dallas Calvin would cut the lead to two, when he grabbed a loose puck off the faceoff and fired it through the pads of Michalovsky. But the Cats would restore the three-goal cushion on a Trevor Hanna marker, and Kidd would make it 6-2 converting a rebound off a Cartwright blast at 1:48 of the second.
Marcel Fuchs would make it 7-2 early in the third, and midway through the third Calvin would notch his second of the night to give him 35 goals on the season, and move him into a tie for fifth with Edwards in league scoring with 71 points.
Then Nitehawks directed 40 shots on the Creston goal, while the Cats fired 53 shots at Clark and Schamerhorn in the Hawks net, for the statement win.
“It was big for us, we’ve been playing well and we knew these guys were going to be good, I think they have a good chance of winning, so we wanted to use it as a measuring stick for us and I think we answered the bell.”
Creston and Beaver Valley remain atop their respective divisions, but the Hawks hold a tenuous one point edge on the Nelson Leafs, while the Cats own a 16-poinit cushion over Fernie in the Eddie Murdoch division.
The Nitehawks next travel to Fernie to take on the Ghostriders on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Due to work and personal committments, Jeremy Cominotto has had to step down as assistant coach of the Nitehawks.
“We are going to miss him a lot,” said Limbert. “He brings a lot to the table as far as experience, and we’re a family, we’re a tight knit group, and it’s hard to see him go but he had some tough choices and it wasn’t very easy for him. He had things outside that he had to take care of and we are sad to see him go but we wish him the best.”
Cominotto was in his sixth year behind the bench, and has brought home a Cyclone Cup, three league titles, and an appearance in the Canadian Western championship.