The Fernie Ghostriders trampled the Osoyoos Coyotes 7-1 Saturday night at Memorial Arena in Fernie. The game, also parents’ night, was the second in as many days, seeing the Riders win both contests.
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The first period was a struggle for the Riders. The team regrouped and refortified in the first intermission, then surrounded the Coyotes in the second and third periods.
Once again, Ethan Fitzgerald was a force in net, saving many hard shots delivered by increasingly frantic and combative Coyotes eager to recover from a growing goal deficit. Levi Young was Home Star, breaking out of a rut with three goals, outpacing Coyotes Away Star Brendan Moseley. Young has eight points in seven games.
Jack Henderson was the lone goal scorer for the Coyotes.
Other Riders goal scorers were Aiden Gleisner, Jordon Kromm, Nolan Steer, and Johnny Elias.
Referee Chris Mottl, and linesmen Dylan McMorris and Robert Grabas had their hands full. Eric Backhouse took the Riders first two penalties for slashing and cross checking in the first period. Levi Young was sent to the penalty box in the second period for cross checking. Greg Susinski and Alaister Standen both took minor penalties in the second period.
Read more: Susinski heading to North Dakota
The Ghostriders maintained their poise until late in the third period, when tempers flared on both sides, and a brawl erupted. A grand total of twenty penalties were handed out in the third period. Levi Young and Kole Fujita both took game misconducts. Alaister Standen took penalties for misconduct and roughing. Dylan Defosse was handed a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Despite the third period chaos, Riders head coach Jeff Wagner was pleased with the overall game result, despite a first period struggle.
“I thought that obviously the first period didn’t go the way we wanted it to,” he said. “We all went into the dressing room pretty grumpy, and we wanted to turn it around, and the boys responded in the second period.”
Wagner said the Riders’ mood was optimistic coming into the game with Osoyoos.
“The message for the night was to make sure that we remained focused and remained hungry,” he said. “Going up against a team like Osoyoos, sometimes you take them lightly because they are the last place team in the league, and we wanted to avoid that as much as possible. I think in the first period we might have got caught with that mentality and mindset, so we used the first intermission as a reset for our group, and we really turned things around in the second.”
Wagner said that parents’ night was a highlight for the players.
“It’s the most important thing,” he explained. “When the parents are here, each individual wants to perform at their top potential, and everyone did this weekend.”
The Nelson Leafs will be playing in Fernie on Thursday, and Wagner is ready to regain the advantage.
“Going back to last weekend, we felt like our details were not quite up to par,” he said. “We want to make sure that we are the best versions of ourselves with Nelson.”
Scoring goals is key for Wagner… “They don’t have to be pretty.”
“We talked about it going into this weekend about how we want to score our goals,” he said. “We’ve got to go into some gritty areas, and put a bunch of pucks on net, and make it difficult on their goalie. We want to make sure that we are creating havoc in front to him.”
In terms of the third period brawl, Wagner said that it’s important for the team to stand up for each other.
“Obviously on their end, it seemed like when you are losing seven-one, it’s pretty tough and pretty frustrating,” he explained. “We could see the frustration brewing on their end, and we just wanted to make sure that we are staying out of trouble as much as possible, but we wanted to stick up for each other.”