The Ghostriders won against the Golden Rockets 4-3 in the first home game of the season. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Ghostriders victorious in season opener

In their first home game of the season, the Fernie Ghostriders were looking to impress, and did not disappoint.

Six-hundred-and-eighty fans enjoyed a high-intensity game in which the Ghostriders rose victorious over the Golden Rockets, 4-3.

Six minutes into the first period, Ghostriders captain, Mitch Titus started the fire by scoring the first goal of the game after an assist from Brendan Nemes.

Four minutes later, Golden, tied it up.

Looking to break this tie, the Ghostriders charged into the second period, scoring less than three minutes in. Even pressure from both sides caused the scoreboard to remain unchanged for the next eight minutes, until Titus took the puck around the left side, crossing in front of Golden’s net between the sticks of three defenders, and slid the puck past Golden’s Colton Iwaschuk to put Fernie two goals ahead.

Consistent pressure from Golden brought them within one point of a tie, one minute later.

Both teams went head to head in the final period; Golden was looking to catch up and Fernie was focused on keeping their lead. With 1:40 left in the game, Mitch Titus scored his third goal of the game on an open net from far out.

Golden ended up scoring on a power-play with 53 seconds left in the game, but this was not enough to catch up and Fernie took the 4-3 victory at home to the joy of an electrified arena.

“I thought the boys really came together,” said Titus. “We’re starting to bear down and find some ways to win.”

Titus admitted to underestimating Golden.

“They’re a good team this year,” he said. “They’re going to be fun to compete against.”

In review, the game was played with great intensity, and this led to several game misconducts throughout all three periods.

A total of 56 minutes in penalties were awarded to Golden, and 36 to Fernie. Titus admitted that losing Abbott and Neufeld close to the end of the game made the last seven minutes a crunch, but thanks to the unity of the team and focus of Ghostrider goalie, Zak Larson, they pulled off the win.

He also admitted that they need to work on smarter plays. However, he said he would rather they learn about this in September, rather than later in the season.

He looks forward to a good week of practice.

The new 19-year-old goalie from Hazelton, B.C. stands at six feet, four inches, and weighs in at 215 pounds.

Larson credits his performance in the last seven minutes to him staying calm and relaxed. He believes this is key, and if one starts to scramble and get nervous, that’s when goals go in. Larson added that he had never experienced a Fernie crowd before.

“I loved the atmosphere,” he said. “The fans were great.”

Other than the last seven minutes of the game, Coach Craig Mohr believes Fernie was in control of the game the whole way. He believes a strong week of practice contributed to their success that night.