The Fernie Ghostriders extended their winning streak to four on Friday evening, with a lopsided 6 – 1 win over the visiting Chase Heat. The strong start to October improves the Riders record to an impressive eight wins and one loss, in a month that has seen them outscore opposing teams 16 to 3.
Ghostriders faithful were just settling into their seats when Alex Milhouse scored the first of three Fernie goals in the first period. Wasting no time, the twenty year old Californian took advantage of an early Chase turnover and buried a shot from the low slot. Both teams exchanged powerplay goals later in the period. Dylan Richardson briefly tied things for the visitors, before Milhouse scored his second of the night. With just over a minute remaining, defenseman Marty Wicks increased the lead with an innocent looking shot from outside of the left point.
Fernie continued to assert their will in the second period, holding a significant advantage in both territorial play and shots on goal. The Riders scored early and often; Brendon Magnone opened things up, redirecting a shot from defenseman Matt Carr, before Andrew White jumped on a bouncing puck and made no mistake on an ensuing breakaway. This prompted a goaltending change from Chase, although it was more of the same as less than four minutes later it was once again Marty Wicks blasting a slapshot behind backup Russell Sanderson.
Protecting a five goal lead, the Riders were less dominant but solid in the third. With strong play from their defenseman and a commitment to a solid back check, Fernie held Chase to only five shots in the final frame and very few real scoring chances.
The win comes at a good time, heading into Thanksgiving weekend. The extended break gives the group some needed family time and some rest before the upcoming stretch.
“It’s a good confidence builder,” says veteran defenseman Zach Traverse, who recently returned to the Riders line up. “We know we have some tough times ahead; we’re playing some decent teams.”
Coach Will Verner also looks at the break as a good thing, although recognizes the possible downside of a weekend of turkey with all the fixings.
“It’s a good thing. It will definitely help in the long term over the short term. But yeah, it’s a bit of a worry. We’ll definitely skate them back into game shape.”
The Ghostriders resume play this Friday in a game featuring two division leaders, when they host the Kamloops Storm. Puck drops at 7:30.
By Matt Laurin