By Phil McLachlan
The Riders took on the toughest team in the league last Saturday, and despite fighting valiantly, fell one step behind.
The first period started out very even, with both teams viciously fighting for the puck. At the end of the first, it seemed as though the Riders were starting to lose some energy, and the Nitehawks took advantage of this. With 0:32 left in the first, Beaver Valley drew first blood and shifted the course of the game.
Just before the first goal of the game, fans and athletes were evacuated after the fire alarm was activated. The Fernie Fire Department was soon to arrive on scene, and after deeming it a false alarm, the game resumed.
Going into the second period, the Riders had some ground to make up. Five and a half minutes in, Beaver Valley scored their second goal of the game. Simultaneously, Mitch Titus received a two minute penalty for holding, but returned with a vengeance.
In a spectacular display of teamwork, a deflection and pass from Justin Peers, Devin Nemes and Mitch Titus put one away for the Ghostriders. Not 30 seconds later, Tayler Sincennes put another away for Fernie, tying up the game with 6:30 left in the second period.
With 1:39 left in the second period, the Nitehawks once again took advantage of an open-ice path to the goal and made it 3-2.
Nitehawks goalie, Tallon Kramer proved to be a massive contributor to Fernie’s loss, stopping 32 of 34 shots against that night.
Fernie went on to stay at two goals for the rest of the game, but the Nitehawks kept thundering on, scoring two more by the end of the match. The final score was 5-2 Beaver Valley.
Frustration got the better of Ghostrider Riley Siebel, and he received a game misconduct for clipping with 0:56 left in the game.
Assistant coach James Ouimet has been the Ghostriders’ assistant coach for four years. He believes the Riders had good spurts, but fell short in the long run.
“With a good team like Beaver Valley, they’ll make you pay,” he said. “That’s exactly what happened to us tonight; our own mistakes lost us the game.”
Ex-Rider goalie, Brandon Butler, has been replaced by Brendan Henderson of North Vancouver. Previously playing with the 100 Mile House Wranglers, Henderson would compare the pace between the two as similar, and both well directed. The new goaltender stands at a height of 6”3, 190 lbs.
Asked about the trade, Henderson said he was expecting it, and was eager to come to the team.
“I think it’ll be a good, fresh start for me,” he said.
Joining a new team brings with it a list of uncertainties, but Henderson believes he will only get better as he starts to recognize and work with the strengths of his teammates.
Assistant Coach Ouimet enjoyed watching Henderson battle against the opposition Saturday, and believes he performed very well and made some great saves considering the team they were up against. Henderson saved 37 of 42 shots against on Saturday.
“For his first game here, far away from home, I thought he did a great job,” said Ouimet.
The Fernie Ghostriders take to home ice against the Creston Valley Thundercats on Saturday at 7:30.