By Matt Laurin
After nearly a month on top of the Eddie Mountain Division, the Ghostriders slipped into second place this weekend after losing 4 – 0 in Golden on Thursday.
The Riders (18 – 8 – 1 – 2) quickly responded with a 6 – 5 overtime win at home over the Summerland Steam on Friday, but the Rockets now hold a two-point lead heading into a crucial stretch of divisional games.
“There were definitely some lapses throughout the game, but I thought for the most part we played pretty well,” said Riders captain Josh McKissock, following Friday’s win. “It’s definitely a big two points for us this time of year.”
The captain led the way offensively for the Riders, scoring a goal and adding three assists. He now has 24 points in 20 games this season.
“Any time you can contribute offensively to help the team get the W it’s nice. The other guys around me played really well, so I can’t take all the credit,” McKissock said.
The Riders almost let it slip away. Dylan Rota’s powerplay goal with four minutes remaining looked as though it would hold up as the game winner, until Steve Semenoff scored for the Steam with only five seconds left to send the game into overtime.
Derek Georgopoulos played hero for the Ghostriders, scoring with just over a minute left in double-overtime.
Head coach Barry Wolff was happy with his team’s resilience.
“That was a good character win for us. They just kept battling and that will be really important for us down the road,” Wolff said.
Only three points separate the top teams in the Eddie, although the Riders have several games in hand on both the Rockets and the Kimberley Dynamiters.
With four games against the rival Dynamiters before the New Year, including a home and home series beginning this weekend in Fernie, the Ghostriders will look to regain top spot in the division.
Before setting their sights on Kimberley, the Ghostriders head to Invermere on Tuesday to play the Columbia Valley Rockies.
“This game is huge for us. Invermere beat us in overtime last time we played them, so it’s a payback game for us,” Wolff said.
The Riders next home game goes Friday, when they host the Nitros in one of the most anticipated games of the year.
“We’re going to get to know them a lot here in the next few weeks. It’s important we start by winning the one at home.
As always, puck drops at 7:30 p.m.