The Ghostriders tied with the Creston Valley Thunder Cats in the Eddie Mountain division final after winning Monday’s game and losing Tuesday night’s game in Creston.
The final got underway on Friday night, when the Riders faced the Thunder Cats on home ice.
“We didn’t play our best on Friday night,” said associate head coach Rick Hillier. “Walton made some great saves, and we got a key goal from Mike Anderson late in the game.”
The Riders won Friday’s game 3-1.
Hillier said that the Thunder Cats are a much more intense team than the Kimberley Dynamiters.
“Our last six games were against Kimberley, and not that there weren’t high moments, but nowhere near as tight checking as Creston. I think it took us a while to wake up, and I think we have woken up,” he said.
The Riders and the Thunder Cats played game two on Saturday night, which ended in a 5-2 win for Creston Valley.
“It was just a matter of us getting out played and out worked,” said Hillier.
He said that when there was a rebound in front of the Riders net, the Thunder Cats crashed the net like their lives depended on it.
“We didn’t match that intensity,” said Hillier.
He said that what broke the game was a power play goal by the Thunder Cats in the third period.
“Their power play goal was getting the puck to the front of the net and doing what ever they had to to smash it past goal line,” said Hillier. “We have to play like that.”
During the regular season, when the Riders faced the Thunder Cats the games were very physical.
“They’re focused on winning,” said Hillier about the Thunder Cats. “In the regular season, Brock Ward was the one out there, running around, getting lots of penalties. But, now he’s just trying to play good hockey.”
One of the Thunder Cats strengths is their line up including Brandon Formosa and Kane Dawe.
“Dawe’s got a lot of speed and tends to get behind our defencemen, and we can’t let that happen,” he said.
Hillier said that all of the Thunder Cats’ lines are well balanced, which means it’s a battle every time the Riders step out on to the ice.
“Our best guys need to play,” he said. “And I think when we are line matching our best guys weren’t getting out on the ice as much as they needed to be.”
The Riders were ready going into Monday’s game with Evan Burgess back on the ice.
The Riders won a close game on Monday night 6-4.
Thomas Abenante earned himself first star in the game after scoring three goals including one unassisted goal in the third period and a power play goal with assists from Scott Morisseau and Luke Richardson in the second.
The Thunder Cats took the win on Tuesday 2-1.
The second period was where all the action took place with a goal by Jeff Zmurchyk followed by two goals for the Thunder Cats.
The next game against Creston is Thursday night at Fernie Memorial Arena at 7:30 p.m.