By Matt Laurin
The Creston Valley Thundercats scored twice in the third period to defeat the Fernie Ghostriders 4 – 3 on Friday night.
With the loss, the Riders (29 – 10 – 0 – 4) fall to second place in the Eddie Mountain Division, as the Kimberley Dynamiters won their only game over the weekend.
“We had a 3 – 1 lead with three minutes left in the second. To give that up, and then allow a late goal is obviously disappointing,” said head coach Will Verner.
Third periods have been a crutch for the Ghostriders as of late.
“We’ve been giving up goals in the third period for a few weeks now, and it hurt us again on Friday. It’s something we have addressed and will fix going into this weekend.
Creston opened the scoring just over a minute into the first period, briefly quieting the nearly 800 hometown fans.
Rider forward Stefan Seel tied things halfway through the first frame with his 15th goal of the season. The 17-year-old Invermere product has quickly emerged as one of the Riders’ top offensive threats.
“Stefan is becoming one of our top players. He’s a young guy that’s had to work his way into the line up, but he’s starting to show the consistency we need to see.”
Verner says the young forward has potential to be a top tier player in the league.
“I believe he could be one of the most dominant players in this league, let alone our team. We’ve only seen a little bit of what he can bring, and it’s definitely been positive so far.”
The division rivals played a tight checking second period, before Ben Primeau and Ty Morton scored 14 seconds apart to give the Riders a two-goal lead.
It was short lived, however, as Trevor Forward answered back for the Thundercats with just over two minutes left in the period.
Creston continued to claw back in the third, eventually tying things on a man advantage midway through the final frame.
Mark Ferguson completed the comeback for Cats, beating goaltender Chris Solecki with less than three minutes to play.
Creston successfully held off a last minute push by the Riders to steal two points on the road.
After hearing it from the local crowd, Thundercat goaltender Tyler Moffatt had the last laugh with a sincere celebration in the hecklers’ corner.
The Riders are back at it on Friday night, when they host the struggling Columbia Valley Rockies. On Saturday night, they travel to Kimberley for a much anticipated rematch between the bitter rivals.