Ghostriders put the Rebels to rest
By Phil McLachlan
The Fernie Ghostriders powered through to a 5-1 win against the Castlegar Rebels on Saturday, despite being short some bodies on the bench.
From the very start, the Riders controlled the puck and kept it out of the hands of the Castlegar Rebels. Not looking to add to their list of game suspensions, the game was played very cleanly by the Riders, despite some retaliation from the opposing team.
A less-aggressive more defensive fore-check helped the Riders secure the victory.
“With the numbers we had, 14 skaters last night and 13 tonight, it would’ve been pretty easy for that group to take a weekend off,” said Fernie head coach, Craig Mohr. “Again, they showed that they’re real resilient.
“You’ve got to be proud of it, I know I’m proud of it!”
It was obvious that the Riders knew their mission even before the first whistle, and it showed. Just 1:12 into the first period, Aiden Wilson assisted Tristan Downe with a beautiful goal to start the game. This was partially in thanks to an early power play, which was given to the Riders when Castlegar’s John Moeller was penalized for delay of game.
Devin Nemes, Mitch Titus and Alex Cheveldave were a driving force throughout the first period, and worked together to put another one away for the Riders with 12:46 left.
Castlegar came together as a team shortly after, and scored what would be their only goal of the game with 9:41 left in the first.
Five minutes into the second period, Devin Nemes, Mitch Titus and Justin Peers controlled the puck around Castlegar’s net, allowing Nemes to deliver the Riders’ third goal of the game.
At this point the game was fairly secured for the Riders, and the Rebels started to become frustrated. However, both teams kept their cool and only one penalty was given in the entire second period, compared to the first, which had four.
The third period was dominated by the Riders throughout with several opportunities for Castlegar successfully fought off by the home team. A close call came when Fernie’s Riley Siebel was called for crosschecking at 10:05 into the last period, and the Ghostriders were faced with heavy pressure around the net for two minutes. However, this proved to be unsuccessful and Castlegar remained at one goal.
The Riders would go on to score two more goals before the end of the game, the first delivered by Keelan Sawarski in a power play opportunity with five minutes left, and Fernie’s fifth goal of the game scored by Devin Nemes on an open net with 1:15 remaining.
Brandon Youngson adopted Brandon Butlers’ position as goalie for Fernie’s past three games, and has been a strong presence on the ice ever since. Coach Mohr was impressed with his efforts throughout not only the two recent wins but also the one loss.
Coach Mohr highlighted Youngson’s save late in the third period against one of the leagues lead scorers, Logan Styler.
“If you get a good save like that from your goalie, it builds momentum for your team; it energizes them,” said Mohr. “It gave our guys that little bit of extra energy for the last four minutes.”
Youngson predicted that some would doubt his ability to take on Butler’s role, but he knew that he was up to the task.
“I believed in myself, because I knew I could step up and do what needed to be done,” he said.
Castlegar goalie, Curt Doyle swooned the hearts of Fernie locals, and quickly became a crowd sensation. Besides the regular chant of “Doooyle”, he was also given requests such as “Take a drink!”, which, when he obliged, received an enthusiastic round of applause. When Castlegar pulled their goalie in the last two minutes of the game, the crowd was defeated. “Bring him back!” yelled the crowd, in hopes they would bring back Fernie’s favourite away-team goalie. After Fernie scored with 1:15 remaining, Doyle was brought back onto the ice, much to the crowd’s approval.
This dominating win instilled a great sense of pride in the Ghostriders for performing as they did with such a short supply of bodies. Capturing a four-point weekend, the Riders look to next week where these points may be more difficult to obtain.
Next Saturday Fernie takes on the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, who are currently in first place in the league at 59 points.
“We all know where they are in the standings, we all know how good that team is,” said Coach Mohr. “We can enjoy it tonight and be proud of what we did.”