The Fernie Ghostriders came out of the weekend with two more wins, including a win against rivals, the Thunder Cats, but the Riders associate head coach saw the teams fighting against poor officiating.
“The KIJHL (and it’s partners) work so hard to put the best product they can on the ice and to see it totally disrespected by the referee on Saturday night was not only disappointing but quite disgusting,” said associate head coach Rick Hillier.
Hillier said that the referee lost control of the game from the first shift.
“They were trying to intimidate us. There was a lot of hacking and a lot of slashing, and there were two hits from behind that weren’t called,” he said.
The games against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats are often physical, and Hillier said that they often use intimidation to shake up the Riders on the ice.
“After the first two minutes it was basically a free-for-all,” he said, “When that happens the kids are out there doing the best that they can do, but that’s when injuries start to happen.”
Hillier said that despite a couple headshots, none of the Riders were seriously injured.
“We’re a little bruised and beaten, but we’re okay,” he said.
The Riders started the weekend off on home ice for their third game against the Golden Rockets.
Fernie beat the Rockets 5-3.
“In the first period we kind of let them run a little bit,” said Hillier. “Once we tightened things up, we took the game back.”
He said that there was a great crowd at Friday’s game and that he thought it was a great game for fans to watch.
Ghostriders goaltender Andrew Walton was out for Friday’s game due to an injury. But Hillier said the Riders goalie Fraser Abdallah stepped in and made some great saves.
“He did his job and gave us a chance to win,” said Hillier.
On Saturday night, the Ghostriders went to Creston to face their rivals the Thunder Cats.
Despite being short players on the ice for 16 straight minutes, the Riders were able to win 3-2.
“We had 10 forwards and six defencemen going into the game. And then we lost Zach Baba to the first penalty, so we were down to nine forwards. And then we lost Marty Wicks, which meant we were down to five defencemen,” said Hillier.
He said that all the players stepped up and played a great game.
“To kill 16 minutes straight and to win that battle on nothing is pretty exceptional,” he said.
The Riders will face the Creston Valley Thunder Cats again on home ice, and will play the Golden Rockets in Golden on Saturday night.