By Sara Moulton
The Fernie Ghostriders experienced a difficult weekend November 8 to 10, with three losses in as many games putting an end to their previous winning streak.
Their home game on Friday, Nov. 8 against the Grand Forks Border Bruins was hard fought, but in the end it was the visitors who emerged victorious, 5 goals to 4. A series of controversial calls against the home team added to an already heated atmosphere on the ice, leading to the breakout of several fights and subsequent penalties. Kale Johnston and Joel Burgess scored goals for the Riders in the first and third periods respectively, before Cole Keebler delighted the crowd by scoring two goals within 40 seconds in the third period.
The team travelled to Fruitvale the following night to take on the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, where Keebler again stood out as the only Rider to score a goal that night. The final score of 5-1 in favour of the Nitehawks was a disappointing result for the Riders, but with a third game yet to be played there was little time to dwell on the loss.
Returning for another home game on the eve of Remembrance Day, the Ghostriders lined up before their Sunday, Nov. 10 game wearing jerseys with poppy emblems sewn into the left shoulder. The game against Kamloops Storm began slowly, with the first goal of the night being scored by the away team in the final seconds of the first period. The crowd was kept waiting in a similar fashion throughout the second period, until Aidan Geiger and Aaron Neufeld scored a goal each in quick succession with only minutes left before the break. Both teams looked more energetic in the final period and it appeared that the Riders might be able to hold onto their lead, but two more goals for Kamloops resulted in a final score of 3-2 resulting in a third consecutive loss for the Ghostriders.
Despite being disappointed in the results, the Ghostriders Head Coach and General Manager, Dale Hladun, acknowledged the strength of their opponents and highlighted the achievements of his players.
“We had huge efforts and strong plays from Phoenix Logan-Hill, Cole Keebler, Aaron Neufeld and Cole Weber. I felt both Beaver Valley and Kamloops were the top two clubs we have faced this season; their grit, talent and elevated game pace has set the bar for us to attain.”
The triple-game weekend also brought many parents of the Ghostriders to Fernie, including former NHL player Selmar Odelein, who made the 10 hour journey from Saskatchewan to see his son Josh play on his first junior hockey team. The younger Odelein joined the Ghostriders this season and was visibly thrilled to have familiar faces in town.
“It’s great to see everyone; it means everything,” said Josh, after giving warm greetings to each family member following the game.
Selmar was also obviously pleased to see his son in action and explained how the experiences of his children have, in many ways, matched his own during his career.
“I’m very proud of all my sons; they’ve all played at high levels and I get to share lots of the things I went through,” said Odelein. “There’s been lots in common; lots of stories to share back and forth… it’s nice to reminisce.”
The Ghostriders will be back at the Fernie Memorial Arena at 7:30 pm Saturday, November 16 to take on the Kimberley Dynamiters.