Ghostriders show grit and tenacity

Hard work and heartbreak; a reoccurring theme in Fernie’s past two hockey games.

In both the November 7 game against Kimberley and the November 10 game against the Columbia Valley Rockies, the away team scored with seconds left in the game to break the tie and take the win.

Despite the two losses, Coach Craig Mohr was not unhappy. In each game, the Riders recovered from a two-point and four-point deficit.

Tuesday’s game in Sparwood on November 7 was hard-fought, as is any game between Fernie and Kimberley.

During the first period, both teams remained score-less. Going into the second, Fernie put two away, almost back-to-back.

Kimberley wasn’t pleased, and returned the pressure, scoring first on a power-play, and again two minutes later. They didn’t stop here, and scored another two goals with eight minutes left in the period.

Fernie left the ice after the second period frustrated; their lead was wiped away in the blink of an eye. Fifteen minutes later they stepped onto the ice with a plan, and executed it. Fifty-two seconds in, an assist from Mitch Titus and Keelan Saworski allowed Kevin Pierce to make the score 3-4.

The rest of the period was even on both sides. As time started to tick down, the crowd was getting anxious. In an unexpected breakaway, Ethan Jang scored an unassisted goal to make the score 4-4. Fernie was back in the game with 2:56 left.

Just as everyone started preparing for an overtime game, Kimberley scored off of a deflection at 0:17 and took the win.

“You play that hard, now and then, you get some bad luck,” said Coach Mohr after the game.

“I’m proud of the guys, they played their hearts out again. You can build off of that.”

It’s a well-known fact that the air between the Ghostriders and the Dynamiters is tense. On several occasions, players were penalized for fighting. By the end of the game, two Fernie players were given 15 minutes in penalties for game misconducts and fighting, totaling 40 minutes of PIM. Jake Hryhoriw was ejected from the game for fighting.

Kimberley was awarded 25 minutes in penalties.

Kimberley landed five of 53 shots against Fernie’s Broc Merkl, and Fernie put away four of 26 against Kimberley’s Adam Andersen.

On November 10, Fernie took on the Columbia Valley Rockies in Sparwood, and lost in double overtime. Attendance at this game was significantly more than the game against Kimberley; 433 compared to 275.

The game started off poorly for Fernie. By the end of the first period, they were behind by four. In the second period, neither team scored.

In the locker between the first and second period, the team admitted to Coach Mohr that they were having a slow start. With encouragement, they addressed their mistakes and moved on.

“The sign of a maturing team, is they didn’t let it get out of hand,” said Mohr. “They kept them at four, and we just kept chipping away, chipping away.”

Team Captain Mitch Titus spoke after the game about how he was also proud of his team. Asked about the four goals in the first period, Titus said he didn’t blame Merkl.

“I thought Merkl was good,” he said. “There’s five guys playing in front of him, you can’t blame it on one guy who’s supposed to bail you out every time.”

The third period, was Fernie’s. Twenty-one seconds in, Keelan Saworski scored with the help of Mitch Titus and Brendan Nemes.

This set Fernie’s fire alight.

At 6:19, the dream team, comprised of Titus, Saworski and Nemes, put away another. The Riders were given another chance with 3:17 left in the game; Jace Woodley scored on a power-play with the help of Jordon Kromm and Kevin Pierce.

The score was not yet even, but at 2:39 left in the game, Mitch Titus made it so with an unassisted goal.

This sent the game into overtime, and then, a second overtime.

With less than 30 seconds left in the second overtime, the Rockies led a charge down the ice and into the corner behind Fernie’s net. In a mad scramble, Brendan Nemes lost his stick, and the Rockies were able to put one past Broc Merkl and take the win.

No major penalties or ejections were handed out during this game, aside from cross-checking, boarding, roughing and the occasional high-stick.

“Well, obviously we weren’t overly prepared in the start, but this club just doesn’t quit,” said Coach Craig Mohr after the game.

“I’m proud of them,” he added. “I like the grit, I like the character of this team showing. They’re maturing… they don’t quit, gotta love it.”

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