The Ghostriders kept fans on the edge of their seats as they brought the Eddie Division playoffs against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats to game seven on Saturday night, but the Riders fought hard to win the series moving on to play the Castlegar Rebels.
“It was a tough series,” said associate head coach, Rick Hillier. “Those guys gave us everything that they had and they didn’t stop working for one minute.”
The Riders played game five against the Thunder Cats on Thursday night, winning 3-1.
Hillier said that the Thunder Cats were able to gain momentum in the games after they scored, and after the Riders scored.
“They always get lots of momentum off of scoring. But they had some pretty good jump after they scored,” he said.
The teams moved to Creston on Friday night for game six, where the Thunder Cats took the 5-4 win in overtime.
“The games were kind of back and forth, and when we went back to Creston for game six we weren’t great in the first two periods,” said Hillier.
He said that in the third period the Riders came out and played the way they wanted to the whole series.
At the end of the third period, Fernie was down 3-2, but a goal by Cale Wright and another by Thomas Abenante tied the game 3-3 forcing it into overtime.
Despite losing the game in overtime, Hillier said the Riders felt good about the way that they played in the third period and in overtime.
“We had some confidence coming back into game seven,” he said.
The Riders and the Thunder Cats faced off to decide who’d win the series in Fernie on Saturday night.
“In the long run I think pushing us to game seven that way was a good thing, you can’t get game seven experience anywhere else, and it’s invaluable I think,” said Hillier.
The Riders gained the lead early in the game after Scott Morisseau scored in the first period.
“We ended up going up 2-0 which gives you a lot of confidence at home,” said Hillier. “They came back and got a light goal with about seven minutes left in the game making it 2-1.”
Hillier said that the Riders had to stand up and take the pressure because the Thunder Cats came pretty hard.
The Riders ended the game with an empty net goal at the end of the third period, winning the Eddie Division and moving on to play Castlegar Rebels on Monday night.
“Playing the way that we finished the series against Creston, every game we were pushed to the limit, and we are used to playing at that level,” said Hillier going into Monday’s game.
The Riders had only played the Rebels twice in the regular season, and had lost both games.
On Monday, the Rebels took the lead in the series, winning the game 8-4.
The Riders tied their series against the Rebels on Tuesday night winning the game 5-2.
The Ghostriders took the lead early in the game with a goal by Connor McLaughlin.
Cale Wright made the game 2-0 with a power play goal in the first period.
The third goal of the game was scored by Alex Milhouse.
Scott Morisseau went on to score another power play goal in the second period making the game 4-1, after the Rebels scored early in the second.
The Rebels scored early in the third period bringing the score to 4-2, but four minutes later Scott Morisseau scored the fifth goal for the Riders, and his second of the game.
The Riders play game three against the Rebels Thusday night, and game four Saturday night in Castlegar.