By Matt Laurin
KIJHL hockey is back in the Elk Valley.
After beginning the season with four-consecutive road games, the Fernie Ghostriders made their home debut on Saturday night – at the expense of the Golden Rockets.
Riding the momentum of the home crowd, the Riders put on an offensive showcase in an 8 – 2 route over their division rivals.
Fernie stumbled out of the gate, losing three out of their first four on the road, including a 4 – 1 loss against the Kimberley Dynamiters on Friday night.
But if the homecoming is any indication of things to come, Fernie Memorial Arena will once again be one of the most feared barns in the Eddie Mountain Division. The Riders won 18 of 26 games on home ice last season, and will look to add to this year’s total with back-to-back home games this weekend.
Braeden Monk, who joined the Riders after spending the previous two seasons in Revelstoke, opened the scoring just over two minutes into the opening frame. With the Rockets serving an early penalty, Monk walked in from the point before sniping a blocker side wrist shot – one of his four points on the night.
Less than four minutes later the Rockets powerplay answered back, when Brett DeFrias labeled a shot off the post before finding its way behind goaltender Chris Solecki.
That was as close as things would come for Golden.
Fernie took control with four goals in the second period, two coming off the stick of Brendan Burge. The 20-year-old forward from Salmon Arm leads the team with an impressive 11 points in only five games this season.
Derek Georgopoulos scored twice in the third frame, including a beautiful short-handed goal, while R.T. Rice and newcomer Tyler Gonzales both added two assists.
The Riders outshout the Rockets by an impressive 48 – 22 count, while going two for nine on the man-advantage.
Fernie continues their home stand this weekend, when they host the Princeton Posse for the only time this season on Friday.
On Saturday, the Riders welcome the Creston Valley Thunder Cats to town. Creston has won the last five regular season meetings between the division rivals.
As always, the puck drops at 7:30 p.m. at Fernie Memorial Arena.