After dropping back to back games for the first time this season, the Fernie Ghostriders got back to their winning ways, beating Golden and then Creston Valley over the weekend.
Fernie hosted the Rockets on Friday evening, skating to a 5 – 2 win in front of an announced attendance of 627.
The Ghostriders were in Creston on Saturday and earned a well deserved 4 – 2 road win over the hometown Rockies.
The two victories improve the Riders’ (14 – 4 – 1) record to 7 – 1 against teams within the Eddie Mountain division. They continue to hold a four point lead over the Kimberley Dynamiters (12 – 4 – 1), who also won their only game over the weekend.
On a rare night that saw the visiting Rockets take zero minor penalties through three periods, even strength proved to be the difference for the Ghostriders on Friday.
Despite not enjoying a single man advantage, Fernie scored five teams at even strength, while the Rockets’ only goals of the evening both came on the powerplay.
Both teams looked solid in the first period. The Rockets applied an aggressive forecheck, but Chris Solecki was again solid in net for the home team, turning away 12 first period shots.
The Riders pressured back, and just over seven minutes in, newcomer Reto Stiz set up Stefan Seel for the first goal of the game.
Fernie picked up their intensity level in the second and Josh McSkimming found the back of the net just 55 seconds in.
Less than a minute later, Arizona import Connor McLaughlin scored his team leading tenth goal of the season to increase the lead to three.
McSkimming added his second of the night shortly after, to give the home side a commanding lead. After the game, the Fernie native talked about how his team stuck to their plan of getting pucks deep.
“Keeping it deep in their end really helped us. Every puck that passed the red line, we got it deep and sent two guys hard down the walls.”
“We kept one guy high in case they did get past our forecheck, but typically that’s all we had to do was get it down past their goal line. We kept it simple.”
Golden briefly made things interesting, as rookie Carson George scored back to back powerplay markers to get the Rockets within two.
Austin Evans ended the comeback bid midway through the final frame, scoring his seventh of the season. Streaking down the left side before cutting to the net, Evans showed good strength and patience before beating backup goaltender Cole Henson on the glove side.
Saturday’s clash in Creston was another classic between two division rivals. Despite being held to only 19 shots, the Ghostriders emerged from the valley with two points and only minor bumps and bruises.
The physical tilt featured several second period fights, as well as six ejections and four 10 minute misconducts in what the Hanson brothers would refer to as old time hockey!
Fernie plays host to the Nelson Leafs on Thursday for the first time this season. Assistant captain Zach Traverse expects a close game.
“They’re going to have good goaltending. They have Walton who just was traded there and we know he’s real good.”
“Nelson always has a strong team too, so it will be a good test outside of our division.”
By Matt Laurin