Riders split with Nitehawks
By Matt Laurin
After dropping a 5 – 3 decision in Beaver Valley the night before, the Fernie Ghostriders responded in a big way, hammering the Nitehawks 7 – 1 in front of their home fans on Saturday.
Ben Primeau led the offensive assault with a hat trick, while Dylan Robertson scored twice and Aaron Neufeld added a goal and assist for the Riders.
“We never like to lose in our hometown,” said Riders captain Josh McKissock. “We never want to lose, period, but it means that much more in our own barn. The guys did a good job of responding.”
The visitors didn’t make things easy in the early going, outshooting the Riders 12 – 3 in a scoreless first period.
Whatever was said in the dressing room seemed to work, as the Ghostriders came out flying in the second. Robertson opened the scoring four minutes in, before Primeau added two quick goals to give the Riders a commanding lead.
“We just talked about being more disciplined. We wanted to pay more attention to details and execute as a team,” said McKissock. “We did a lot better job of playing the way we should.”
The Riders started the third period much like the second, scoring three quick goals before the Nitehawks finally solved goaltender Pierce Dushenko on a late powerplay. Derek Georgopoulos rounded out the scoring less than a minute later.
The offensive output is a good sign for the Riders, who are still without their top scorer, Brendan Burge, as he spends time with his new family.
“Obviously he’s a strong player for us, but it gives other guys the opportunity to step up and contribute in a big way,” said the captain.
“Ben Primeau really stepped up tonight. There are a lot of guys in this room that are capable of making an impact.”
The Ghostriders (17 – 7 – 1 – 2) hold a one-point lead on the Kimberley Dynamiters, heading into games against Golden and Summerland this weekend. The following week features a home and home series against the rival Dynamiters.
“We know we have big games coming up against Kimberley,” said McKissock. “We aren’t looking that far ahead though. We have to take it one game at a time.”
The Riders host the Summerland Steam for the only time this season on Saturday. As always, puck drops at 7:30 p.m.