Ghostriders celebrating the win. James Snell/The Free Press

Ghostriders beat Nitehawks in packed Elkford Arena

The bleachers were full of cheering fans.

The Fernie Ghostriders beat the Beaver Valley Nitehawks 4 to 2 in Elkford on Saturday night.

Heroes of the night were the incredible residents of Elkford (430 in total) who came out in droves to pack the stands in support of the Ghostriders and Elk Valley Minor Hockey, which was celebrating Hugh Twa Hockey Day. This was the 7th anniversary honouring Dr. Hugh Twa, a beloved Elk Valley resident who passed away in August 2011. He was known as a coach and mentor in the sport of hockey, as well as many other sports.

District of Elkford mayor Dean McKerracher was pleased with the game and turnout.

“It was a great game, very exciting, and very fast,” he said in a statement. “I was very proud to see a full house. I don’t think there were any empty seats.”

McKerracher also had a chance to speak with members of Beaver Valley’s management.

“They thanked me, as well, and said they weren’t sure what to expect coming to Elkford, but they were very pleased to see such a great turn out. They laughed and asked if we brought the whole town.”

The bleachers were full of cheering families and small children eager to watch great hockey. If ever there was an archetypal Canadian scene, it was hockey night in Elkford.

The Ghostriders and Nitehawks played a furious and close game.

“I just thought it was a really great group effort tonight,” said Riders head coach Jeff Wagner. “Up and down the line-up we did the little things right tonight. You look at the last play, where we got an empty net. Up and down the lineup we made a really good effort.”

Wagner said the Nitehawks are not an easy team to beat.

“I’ve been in this league for four years, and I think this is the second time we’ve beat them,” he explained. “They are always tough, and you have to play a real blue collar game, and we did. It’s a pretty fierce [rivalry] considering it’s not a divisional rival. To do anything special in this league, you usually have to go through them in the conference finals, if you’re lucky enough to get there. It’s always a tough team to play. They play a hard-nosed game, so you have to match it.”

The crowd was awesome, said Wagner.

“We talked about it in the dressing room before the game,” he explained. “Not a lot of guys actually know about Elkford, and the support that they give us. To come out here, an hour away from Fernie, and to get five to six hundred fans out, that’s something to see for sure.”

The Rider’s Levi Young scored the opening goal in the first period, followed by Greg Susinski in the second period.

Riders third period goals were by Aiden Gleisner and Daniel Lindeman.

There were a total of 10 penatlies during the game.

Next homegame is Saturday against the Nelson Leafs. Puck drop is at 7:30.

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The Ghostrider’s trainer Brandy Craveiro helps a player during second intermission. James Snell/The Free Press

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