Despite putting up a good fight against both Revelstoke and Creston, the Fernie Ghostriders finished the weekend with two losses.
Fernie faced off against Revelstoke Friday night in what was an extremely tight match. The game was so fast paced, Ghostriders head coach Jeff Wagner felt like they were in playoffs.
The Ghostriders knew they would be up against a challenge that night, as Revelstoke currently leads the Birks division ahead of 100 Mile, Sicamous, Chase and Kamloops.
Fernie led the charge and were first to make their mark on the scoreboard with Aiden Gleisner scoring five minutes in with the help of Owen Titus.
The Riders also led the second period, making it 2-0, just over eight minutes in. On a power play with five minutes left in the period, Revelstoke’s Ryan Pereverzoff secured the away team’s first goal, and again in the beginning of the third to even the score.
Revelstoke scored again three minutes later, making it 3-2 Revelstoke with 16:32 left in the game.
Three minutes later, an unassisted breakaway goal by Fernie’s Kyle Ford tied the game. Both teams fought hard to gain the lead before the clock ran out but were forced into overtime.
Neither team scored in the first overtime, but Revelstoke managed to sneak one past Fernie goalie Riley Fonger to take the win.
Wagner said he thought his team played well, admitting that Revelstoke has been putting together a solid team for the past few years.
“A few costly mistakes were the difference for us tonight, but overall I’m pretty happy,” he said.
Asked how the Riders prepared to play a team that is at the top of their division, Wagner said they worked on supporting each other on the ice especially in transition.
“It felt like a playoff game, for sure,” he said.
“The atmosphere in the building, you could tell the guys definitely elevated their game for this one, so it was nice to see.”
The following night, the Ghostriders lost their momentum and succumbed to pressure from the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, losing 5-3.
“I thought our game on Saturday was almost a case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from the night before,” said Wagner.
Compared to the previous night, Wagner said the players did not have the same level of engagement or excitement.
“… it was almost in our heads that we were playing a team that was in the bottom of our division, even though you can’t read too much into the standings this early on in the year,” said Wagner. “Creston caught us off guard and they were rewarded for the efforts that they put in.”
The game was even throughout the first period with each team scoring one goal, but Fernie fell behind in the second when Creston managed to put away three.
Fernie put the pressure on in the beginning of the third period and managed to pot two goals, but it wasn’t enough to catch Creston who secured their victory by scoring another with two minutes left in the game.
This Friday, the Ghostriders go up against the Chase Heat for the first time this year. The following night they play away from home in Kimberley, also for the first time.
“It’s always a little interesting playing those cross-division teams; you can watch video on them but at the end of the day, once they hit the ice, you get a better sense of them,” said Wagner.
Chase currently sits fourth in the Birks Division, the same division which Revelstoke leads.
Wagner says they’ll be focused on not assuming anything from Chase’s current record and make sure they elevate their game and arrive ready.