By MATT LAURIN
The Fernie Ghostriders put on two dominant performances at home this weekend, but were on the losing side of a 4 – 1 decision in Kimberley on Friday night. The Riders (20 – 5 – 1) finish the month of November with an impressive 8 and 1 record, sitting in first place atop the Eddie Mountain Division.
Despite outscoring Columbia Valley and Grand Forks by a total of 14 goals, the loss to a much more evenly matched Dynamiters put things in perspective.
“At the end of the day I think it was a disappointing weekend,” said head coach Will Verner. “I thought we would have held our composure a little better in Kimberley. I don’t think we played a bad game, we just lost focus.”
“I thought we took two bad penalties in the first period, after the whistle, that cost us goals. And then we were chasing, and while we had some chances to get back in the game we just couldn’t get there. “
The Riders beat a struggling Rockies team 9 – 3 on Thursday, in a one sided affair that saw the home team fire 61 shots on goal.
The coach acknowledged that the lack of parity in the recent schedule can make it difficult, but wasn’t willing to offer excuses.
“It’s harder, but you’ve got to be prepared to play every game and not just parts of games. And I just don’t think we were prepared to play 60 minutes against Kimberley.”
Friday was another fight filled affair between the two rivals, on a night where misconducts equalled scoring chances. It sets up for what should be an interesting back to back series when the teams meet again just before the New Year.
On Saturday, several veterans took the night off to fundraise for the Canadian Cancer Society, allowing some younger players to make an impact. The team raised several hundred dollars for a good cause, while young guns laid a 9 – 1 beating on the visiting Border Bruins.
Coach Verner was more than happy with what he saw from his young players.
“I’d throw my younger guys out there against any team in the league. I think we had ten 17 year olds and a 15 year old on Saturday night and they did a great job. We can do that more I think, and we’re going to.”
The Ghostriders called up two midget players against Grand Forks. Joel and Daniel Burgess joined the big club, with older brother Evan taking the night off to fundraise.
“Joel has played a bunch of games with us in the past and he fit right in. Daniel, with it being his first junior game as a 15 year old, I thought he made some really good plays. He jumped up, had some chances and shots on goal, and wasn’t scored on. You can’t ask for much more from a 15 year old defenseman at this stage.”
The Riders will have their hands full this Friday when they host the Beaver Valley, in the first of back to back games. The high flying Nitehawks lead the league in scoring, averaging over six goals per game. Puck drops at Fernie Memorial Arena at 7:30 p.m.