The Ghostriders played three games over the Family Day weekend. They won their only away game, defeating the Kimberley Dynamiters 4-2 on Friday. They suffered two losses on home ice. Saturday’s against the Creston Valley Thundercats ended in a 3-1 loss and a loss to the Kimberley Dynamiters on Family Day Monday with a score of 2-0.
Friday night’s away game win adds another notch to Brandon Butler’s Kimberley Memorial Arena win streak.
“I have not lost in Kimberley in the past two years that I have played there. I like playing there. It was good, we had some hot streak moments and a few lapses but we came out with the win,” said Butler.
Late in the third period, a disgruntled fan threw a full garbage can over the glass and onto the ice, stopping the game so that rink workers could do their best to clean the ice. Butler shrugged it off.
“It didn’t really bother me, I took it as a joke. Not much to it, it just showed some poor class,” said Butler.
Defenceman Daniel Burgess was happy with the away game win.
“It felt unreal. I love winning in front of that crowd. They get crazy when they lose,” he said.
The team was less happy with the two close losses at home over the long weekend. Both games had an empty net goal late in the third to seal the matches fate.
“We played hard and lost two games in a row. It doesn’t feel that good,” said winger Aiden Wilson after Monday’s game. “It’s always good to win away but we have to bring it back to our barn. We learned a few things tonight and last night so we will do better next time.”
Evan Reid agreed with his teammate.
“It could have gone better. The team played really well but didn’t get the win or the chance to circle around the memorial but we are heading towards the playoffs so there is always next time,” said Reid. “We have a talented team, even with the injuries. Hopefully when the playoffs come we can get some guys back healthy and streak some wins in a row.”
This marks another week of injury for the Ghostriders. The team generally has 23 players on their game day rosters that appear on home game programs. Online they have a roster of 36 players including affiliates. Only once this season has the team had to use a healthy scratch. A healthy scratch occurs when there are more than 20 players that can play.
“You never want to use excuses. They tried so hard, but you look at the grand scheme of things, you look and our number one power play unit is not playing – Peers, Befus, and Keebler. Befus was out there, but that’s him battling through an injury just to help out,” said Head Coach and General Manager Craig Mohr.
But with the loss of the team’s top scoring line, other players have stepped up to fill the holes the injury list has left.
“Looking on the positive side, some of our young players are getting great experience. We’ve got some that are playing roles that they have never had to before, that they have never gotten the chance to before,” said Mohr.
The coach is starting to look towards the playoffs.
“In our division, the first place team plays the fourth place team – divisions play first, first place plays the fourth place team, second place vs. third place, and then the winner of those matches play each other for your division,” said Mohr. “Then the winner of your division plays the conference and then the conference winners play the league final. You need to win four seven game series to win the whole thing.”
The Ghostriders have five more regular season games left, playing three of them in the Elk Valley.
Their next home game is Friday against the Columbia Valley Rockies. They face the Golden Rockets in the Fernie Memorial Arena on Sunday and on Feb. 20, they are playing a special game in Sparwood against the Kimberley Dynamiters.