The Fernie Ghostriders returned from a three-point deficit to take a huge victory against the Kimberley Dynamiters on Monday. This was the Riders’ third playoff game of the 2016/17 season.
So far, the Riders have won two of their three playoff games.
The first period started off poorly for the Riders. With no goals on either side until the end of the period, the Dynamiters found a consistent breach in the Riders defence and goaltending, scoring four in six minutes. All of these goals were scored against on a power play for the away team.
During the first, some of the spectators found issue with the reffing.
With just 1:21 remaining in the first after the Dynamiters gave their fourth blow, the Riders mustered their strength and brought the score to 4-1 with 0:29 remaining, much to the thanks of Justin Peers.
The 20-year-old Calgarian seemed to light the Riders flame, as the second period followed his example, the Riders scoring just over one minute into the second. However, the Dynamiters still lead by two points.
Between periods, Fernie switched goaltenders, and Brandon Youngson authoritatively took his spot in front of the home net. The night before, Henderson played outstanding, but tonight, several factors lead to him being unsuccessful in the net.
Youngson accepted the challenge, only letting one goal in during his 40 minutes of playtime.
“They had a strong game tonight, but we just kept fighting, we didn’t give up,” said Youngson. “We had 40 minutes left, we took that opportunity and shoved it right in their face. Game over.”
Exactly one minute after their second goal, a power play for Fernie gave Mitch Titus, Justin Peers and Kevin Pierce an opportunity to work their magic, making the score 4-3.
Two minutes later, Brendan Nemes powered through the defence and managed to pocket a goal through the confusion, tying the game for the Riders with the assistance of Nolan Legace and Tristan Downe.
The next 16 minutes of the second period was eventful, but did not see either team score. Derek Green took a large hit from Dynamiters player, George Bertoia, and had to leave the game. He did not return to the ice, but did not appear to suffer any major injuries.
The Ghostriders started the third period with fire in their skates, officially taking the lead for the first time in the game, 44 seconds into the third.
With 14:01 left, Peers secured the victory for the Riders, after receiving a beautiful assist from Ben Shushkovsky.
“We did, I have to say, pretty unbelievable,” said Peers. “We stuck with it to the very end and that’s what gave us the W (win).”
“I don’t want to be cocky or anything, but I think my goal at the end of the first there really got the boys going. We were in a bit of a slump there, being down 4-0. It got our confidence up a little bit, knowing, we can do this, we can score goals on this guy. And we came out flying in the second period there.”
The Dynamiters became frustrated with their two-point deficit, but managed to get one more goal with just over seven minutes left in the game. This would be all they would manage to score, and the Riders took their second playoff victory after a stunning five-goal comeback, a win fit for the history books.
Total penalties awarded in the game were 24, 13 of which were given to the Ghostriders. Coach Mohr noted the line-up will be more disciplined next game, more focused on eliminating any extra penalties, which could potentially hurt them.
“What a wild and wacky game,” said Ghostrider coach, Craig Mohr. “I guess you could sum it up as, we didn’t quit.”
Previously losing 8-3, and winning 4-2 in Kimberley, then taking the 6-5 home victory, it’s been a busy weekend for the Riders.
“It’s becoming a series we thought, it’s going to be hard nosed... And entertaining for everyone watching,” said Mohr.
At press time the Riders were preparing for a Tuesday rematch, before traveling to Kimberley for game five Thursday night. They ended up loosing 3-2.
“It’s tough on everyone’s body; so many games in such a short amount of time,” said Peers. “It’s just about getting a good nights sleep, eating right during the playoffs, and making sure you keep your body in shape there.”
“It’s in the past now what happened tonight, we have got to move forward, play our game, and continue to frustrate them with our hard, solid, physical play,” said Mohr.