By Sara Moulton
The Fernie Ghostriders thrilled an almost 500-strong crowd in an explosive game at Fernie Memorial Arena last Friday, October 11, with a game-winning goal being secured as only seconds remained on the clock.
The first period started off well for the Ghostriders, with an early goal by Colby Burns (assisted by Aaron Neufeld and Ben Primeau) followed less than a minute later by a second goal, courtesy of Spencer Bender (assisted by Aidan Geiger and, again, Neufeld). The controversial awarding of a goal to Creston near the end of the period added to an already eventful game, causing tension to continue building throughout the remainder of the match.
The second period provided another power play goal for the Thundercats, levelling the score and giving Creston a fighting chance leading into the third. Both teams began looking more focused and serious about the game, with minimal penalties and some great goal keeping on both sides. This, however, proved to be the calm before the storm, as the third period erupted with fights, penalties and excitement.
With Creston scoring their third goal of the night to take the lead in the final period, the Ghostriders began working extra hard to fight back. Bender (assisted by Anthony Gilbert and Kurtis Bond) delivered an equalizer just a minute later, scoring his second goal for the night and setting the scene for an intense final 15 minutes of the game. With only 28 seconds left and advantaged by a power play, Josh Teves (assisted by Neufeld and Bender) managed to score the final goal for another home win for the Ghostriders.
Goalkeeper Phoenix Logan-Hill gave a great performance, particularly in the third period, where he made a series of great saves and ultimately stopped 32 of 35 shots on goal throughout the game. However, despite their win, Logan-Hill believes that the result could have been even better if not for several dubious calls by the referee – a sentiment shared by many spectators.
“That first goal [for Creston] didn’t actually go over the line, but they called it a goal, and then we got a bunch of stupid penalties called on us, like slashing, tripping or kneeing”, said Logan-Hill.
Nevertheless, Logan-Hill was glad for the win and is looking forward to the rest of the season with his new club. Arriving to Fernie after two seasons with the Princeton Posse, he has been appreciating the enthusiasm of the Ghostriders’ supporters, especially in the lead up to the city’s busy winter season.
“It’s different… in Princeton, we’d have at most 100 people, and now the small games are like 500 fans. It’s crazy!” said Logan-Hill. “It’s good to be in a new town, a new atmosphere”.
Special mention also goes to Spencer Bender, who has accumulated a total of eight points in his five most recent games. Bender has been particularly effective at his home arena, where he has scored two goals in each of the past two home games, along with several assists. The 18-year-old rookie from Calgary was highlighted this week on the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s website and will be one to watch over the next few months.
The Ghostriders will play Creston again at their next home game, 7.30 pm on Saturday, October 19 at the Fernie Memorial Arena. They were defeated at their away game in Grand Forks on Saturday, October 12, two goals to three.