Starting the season with four consecutive road games, the Ghostriders returned to the friendly confines of Fernie Memorial Arena on Saturday evening to host the Kimberley Dynamiters in the second of back to back games.
After stealing two points from their rival on Friday night the Riders suffered their first loss of the season, dropping a 3 – 2 decision in the much anticipated home opener.
“You never want to lose your home opener,” head coach Will Verner said after the game. “But if you look at our schedule, starting on the road like that, we could easily be two and three right now.”
He also sees any early struggles his team has as a positive moving forward.
“We’ve got a younger group this season. And if you look at recent years we didn’t find enough about our team early on.”
Skating for the second time in less than 24 hours, both teams struggled to find their legs in the opening period. With the smoke from the pre game introductions finally cleared up, the Ghostriders opened the scoring on a late first period powerplay. Working from the point, defenseman Marty Wicks faked a slapper and found Ty Morton in the high slot who blasted a one timer over the shoulder of Kimberley goaltender Braeden Ostepchuk. The announced attendance of 617 cheered the home side off with a 1 – 0 lead at the end of one.
The pace picked up in the second period and both teams looked more crisp and determined. They would each exchange scoring chances and powerplays, until late in the period when the ice seemed to tilt in Kimberley’s favor. Rhylan Duley got the Dynamiters on the board and less than two minutes later forward Brennan Foreman gave the visiting team the lead.
Colton Vannucci added an insurance marker late in the third period and was named the game’s first star. Alex Pronchuk potted the Riders’ second powerplay goal soon after, but the determined Kimberley squad held on for the win.
Next up – the Ghostriders travel to Creston Friday night to battle the Thundercats. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m.