After a 6-4 win against the Nelson Leafs Thursday night, the Fernie Ghostriders climbed into second in the Kootenay Division, ahead of Creston by one point and behind Kimberley by six.
Ghostriders forward Jordon Kromm set the pace for the game, pocketing a point for the home team less than two minutes in. Fernie’s Aiden Gleisner wasn’t far behind, scoring another to put the Ghostriders two points ahead less than five minutes in.
Nelson managed to score before the end of the first period, however Fernie came back swinging, scoring another two goals within the first three minutes of the second.
With 1:22 left in the second, Nelson scored another, leaving lots of time to catch up in the last period.
In the last half of the third period, Nelson was able to secure two goals in quick succession to tie the game 4-4. However a play generated by Seamus Keith and finished by Johnny Elias gave Fernie a one point lead with just over two minutes left in the game.
With twelve seconds on the clock, captain Dylan Defosse was able to find the empty net, and secure the victory for the Ghostriders.
Nelson, currently tied with Kimberley for points, was a tough team to beat, but Head Coach Jeff Wagner said they were able to battle adversity and hold back the Murdoch division leaders.
Compared to last time they played Nelson two weeks ago, Thursday’s game was a better result. Previously Nelson defeated Fernie 4-3 in overtime on a power play goal.
Wagner said the difference this time is that they were able to climb three goals ahead and force Nelson to catch up.
He credited their goal at the end of the second period for being the life that allowed Nelson to make it a 4-4 tie. At this point, the Ghostriders had to focus on reversing that momentum.
“It was an interesting game for sure, and it was a close contest just like it has been all year against those guys,” said Wagner.
Following Thursday’s game was a busy weekend on the road for the Ghostriders; with games against Castlegar on Friday night and Spokane on Saturday.
Friday’s game saw the Ghostriders face the Castlegar Rebels for the first time this season, and Wagner was hopeful the team would improve their previous 0-3 record against the team.
Saturday brought with it a whole new set of challenges, as hockey games in the US are often played differently than they are in the north.
“It usually takes about five to 10 minutes for the guys to be like ‘oh, okay this is how they (referees) are calling the game’, and adjust to it,” he said.
Wagner said both the Castlegar Rebels and Spokane Braves have challenged top teams in their league, but neither team proved themselves against the Riders as the Fernie team took two wins on the weekend, with scores of 7-4 and 8-3 respectively. In the past, the Braves defeated Revelstoke, and taken Kimberley to overtime. Castlegar did the same to Kimberley.
“We battle consistency as a group, and I’m sure they do as well,” said Wagner in advance of the weekend. “So you might end up seeing a team that you’re not expecting one of those night, and it’ll be a challenge for us for sure.”