The Ghostriders fought hard Friday night but lost a battle to the Kelowna Chiefs, an Ohlhausen division team with 14 points in just eight games (7W, 1L).
The game, which ended in a 3-2 three-period win for Kelowna, was paced like a playoff game, with each team working hard.
Fernie’s two goals of the game, scored by Aaron Hladiuk and Brody Bauder, happened within minutes of each other in the second period. The third period only saw one point, scored by Kelowna three minutes in. The Chief’s were able to successfully hold off the Ghostriders for the remaining 17 minutes of the game.
Kelowna’s first goal of the game, 14 minutes into the first period, took the wind out of Fernie’s sails. Up until this point they had played strong, but were forced to catch up going into the second period.
“We got back to work in the second, the first five minutes of the second period, again it took a bit of time to get going, they scored one and then we went right back to work,” said head coach Jeff Wagner.
“We’re proud of the effort we showed, but obviously a bit of work is ahead of us still,” he said.
Up until this point the two teams had never faced each other in their current capacity. Last year, the Ghostriders faced the Chiefs and Wagner recalled them being the strongest team in the league.
Wagner said the team spent time preparing for their match up against the Okanagan team, and in reflection thought they matched their style of play well. However, he said a few lapses in focus cost them the game. That being said, Wagner wanted to focus on the good things.
“I talk about a lapse of focus, I think we’ve got to figure that out – that’s more of a mental thing than an execution thing. But I really liked our defensive approach tonight. I thought that our transition game off of defensive plays was very good,” said Wagner.
“We were able to pick up loose pucks in our zone and get up ice quickly and I thought that was a really positive aspect of our game,” he said.
Previous games against Chase, 100 Mile House and Kamloops resulted in two victories out of three for the Ghostriders, the loss coming against Chase Heat on Friday, October 4. Wagner said he was happy with their previous five-point weekend.
“I think we’re playing good hockey,” he said. “We didn’t get the result tonight again but we’re right there. That’s an undefeated team in Kelowna and they beat us by a goal, so it is what it is.”
Fernie went on the following night to win against the Rockets in Golden.
The Ghostriders’ next home game is on Friday, October 18, against the Summerland Steam a team just behind Kelowna in the Ohlhausen division. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m.