By Phil McLachlan
The Fernie Ghostriders took away one victory and one loss this weekend, beating the Columbia Valley Rockies 5-2 at home on Friday, followed by a 7-5 loss against the Castlegar Rebels, in Castlegar.
The Ghostriders’ home game on Friday was well attended, but it seemed as though the Riders were slow to start, despite the encouragment.
“I thought we struggled a bit at the start,” said Coach Craig Mohr. “We had guys open but we were just missing our execution, missing passes to guys that were open.”
Mohr believes this spoke to practice all week, when players kept coming up short on executions. Regardless, he’s thankful that the Riders woke up in the second half of the game, and he believes this made all the difference in the outcome of Friday’s game.
“But I thought in that second half of the second and into the third our execution from our defence up to our forward was much better.”
An uneventful first seven minutes was broken when the Rockies drew first blood, scoring with 12:31 left in the first period. The Riders could not retaliate, and the second period started with the Rockies ahead by one.
It took the mighty hands of Alex (Captain Crunch) Cheveldave to drive one home from the scoring zone after the Riders worked together to screen the area in front of the net, providing the team captain a window for the perfect kill-shot. Two minutes later, the Rockies took the lead once again, making the score 2-1. With two minutes left in the second period, Ryan Kennedy took an assist from Tayler Sincennes, and the board was tied going into the last period.
Stakes were high and both teams recognized this; it was evident that each was turning up the heat. Five minutes in, Devin Nemes made one count and the Ghostriders took a 3-2 lead. The Riders continued to conquer plays and work as a team, which didn’t allow the Rockies to muster any comback opportunities. The Riders scored two more before the end of the game, one of which was an open-netter, finishing off with a resounding 5-2 victory.
Mohr wanted to recognize the Rockies goalie, whom he believes made some extremely good saves throughout the game. On the other side of the ice, Mohr believes their teamwork was the result of their victory, many of which were scored by screens, because “you can’t save what you can’t see,” said Mohr. “I thought we did an excellent job, making his [Rockies goalie] life hard to see the puck.”
The Riders may be short some guys up front this coming weekend, as Justin Peers and Aidan Wilson are out with injuries. Ty Carron and Keelen Sawarski are still pending recovery after getting bumped around during Friday’s game.
Sawarski was recently drafted to the Ghostriders, and learned the hard way after trying to push through the defence, ending up flat on his back after a big hit. Coach Mohr hopes to see him recover quickly and get back on the ice, so that he can find his bearings in the game with his new team.
Sawarski was born in Regina, played midget Triple-A in North Battleford, Junior-A in the same franchise, and through recommendations from other coaches, Mohr took him on.
“He can play, there’s no doubt about it,” said Mohr. “He’s a good skater, and he’s got some good hands.”
“Again, on a good side, you bring someone in, and right away, it fits with what we’ve got going on.”
The Riders will be taking on the Creston Valley Thunder Cats at home on December 17; the puck drops at 7:30 p.m. The Fernie Chrysler Teddy Bear Toss is also scheduled for this evening, which is an event you don’t want to miss.