The Ghostriders were defeated by the Castlegar Rebels on Tuesday night, ending the series, and moving the Rebels on to the KIJHL Championship game against Osoyoos Coyotes.
The Rebels beat the Riders 5-2, including four powerplay goals.
Mike Anderson scored a shorthanded goal in the second period. But the Rebels were the first to score in the first period gaining momentum in the game.
Johnny Park was able to tie the game with a powerplay goal bringing the score to 1-1 going into the second period.
The Ghostriders fought hard but were unable to get the puck in the net.
The Riders travelled to Castlegar for game three last Thursday night where the Rebels defeated the Riders 5-3.
The most memorable moment of the game came from a controversial goal that the Riders associate head coach, Rick Hillier, called “the phantom goal.”
“They didn’t score the game winner, Andrew Walton saved it,” he said.
The referee said he saw the mesh ripple and determined that the puck had gone in.
“He felt the puck went in and that was his decision but he didn’t consult the goal judge,” said Hillier.
The phantom goal was scored by Stuart Walton, the Riders goalie, Andrew Walton’s brother. Andrew also played for the Castlegar Rebels.
“Game three which was the first game we played in Castlegar in the playoffs, was probably a strange situation for him to be in,” said Hillier. “I think fans feel like they were probably a bit betrayed, and they were on him pretty hard in game four.”
The Rebels won game three 5-3 giving them the lead in the series.
After a day off, the Riders travelled back to Castlegar for game four on Saturday night.
Due to the avalanche near Elko on Highway 3, the Riders were forced to take a detour getting them to Castlegar two hours later than anticipated. The game started at 9:30 p.m. (PT) and ended after midnight.
“It was a bit of adversity for the guys to battle through,” said Hillier. “We were a bit slow in the first period and they took advantage of that.
The Rebels scored two goals in the first period to make the game 2-0 going into the second.
“We battled back and we were good in the second and third period. I thought we were the best team in the second and third period. But we had trouble scoring. We had lots of chances, and we created lots of opportunities, but we couldn’t get the puck in the net,” said Hillier.
The Riders came back to Fernie for game five on Monday night. The Rebels led the series 3-1.
“It was time to get serious. There’s no more second chances,” said Hillier about game five. “I think we came out and played the game the way we wanted to. We’re doing the small things right.”
He said that the Riders need to put pressure on the Rebels in game five and they did that.
“We took some penalties, like a five minute major for a hit from behind. That team is opportunistic, and they were able to score a power play goal on the five minute major,” he said.
“There’s going to be adversity in every game, and that’s what gives you the satisfaction of winning. If you win every series four games straight, what have you really won,” said Hillier.