By Matt Laurin
The Fernie Ghostriders season ended on Friday night, after losing in five games to the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.
After splitting the first two games in Beaver Valley, the Riders struggled offensively and dropped games three and four, scoring only twice on home ice.
The Hawks closed out the series, winning 6 – 2 on Friday, and will now advance to the KIJHL final where they will face this year’s Cinderella story, the Kelowna Chiefs.
Ghostriders Head Coach Will Verner was disappointed in the loss, but says his team can take a lot of positives out of the season.
“We’re not satisfied with losing, but we’ve got our heads up. We’re definitely happy we won the division, not only in the playoffs but also the regular season.”
While the Riders had a less experienced roster than previous years, Verner spoke about the advantages of a young team.
“In terms of a young team, I don’t know if that should be a deterrent. It’s just as much a positive. Those guys have big ears and want to learn.”
“A lot of our young guys had great years and are developing into solid players.”
Of course, the downside to a young roster is that it means many players will be getting tryouts elsewhere come the fall.
The Ghostriders will also say farewell to veterans Ty Morton, Zach Traverse, Alex Milhouse and Connor McLaughlin, who have all enjoyed successful junior hockey careers.
On the flip side, it means that the Riders can make room for young and upcoming talent.
“We’ve got some local kids on the radar right now. There are four or five kids right now from Fernie that are ready to play,” said Verner.
“A couple of them were really close last year, and we’re excited to add them to the mix.”
While the Ghostriders staff will have their hands busy this summer, the coach will take some much deserved time with his wife and new baby girl.
Still, he says he is already excited for next season.
“We really like the group. There are obviously a couple age restrictions that we have to look at, but we really feel this group represented the team and community well.”
“Not only did they play well on the ice, but they also did great things off the ice.”