By Sara MoultonFree Press Staff
The Ghostriders continued their dominance at home last weekend, notching up two more victories at the Fernie Memorial Arena punctuated by a disappointing loss on the road.
Friday’s game against the Kimberley Dynamiters was perhaps the most anticipated in the KIJHL so far this season, as the division rivals jockeyed for their place atop the standings. Over 600 fans witnessed an action-packed, fast-paced skirmish ending in a narrow 2-1 triumph for the Riders. The Dynamiters took an early lead on a bad turnover, but with two goals in the second courtesy of Sam Plaquin and linemate Josh McCulloch, the Riders held on through a series of penalty kills to clinch the win.
The following night, the Fernie squad took to the road to meet Creston for the first time this season. In a surprising upset led by a stellar performance by the Thunder Cat’s goalkeeper, the Riders were shut out 4-0. Although a total of 34 shots on goal gave Fernie plenty of opportunities to score, the hockey gods looked fondly upon Creston as every bounce seemed to go their way.
Finally, back in Fernie on Sunday, the Riders successfully defended their perfect home record in a physical affair against the Princeton Posse. After a short ceremony ahead of Remembrance Day, the game was on for the hungry home team. Plaquin provided two of the four goals for the Ghostriders, with Evan Reid and Jason Yan also contributing to the total. The Posse only managed to put one puck past Jeff Orser for a 4-1 result at the final buzzer.
As the current leading goaltender in the league, Orser continues to play a pivotal part in the 2014-15 Ghostriders’ success. Remaining undefeated in Fernie so far this season, Orser explained how understanding their home arena has helped the team.
“It’s pretty special, especially because our rink is so different. I think that gives us the advantage,” said Orser of the winning record.
“We know the bounces; we take advantage of that against every team that comes into our house and we dominate,” he added.
Spencer Bender and Matt Pronchuk also discussed the team’s record after Sunday’s victory, including the impact of the loss on the road.
“Three game weekends are always tough on the body … and we took Creston a little too lightly last night,” said Bender.
Pronchuk agreed, adding “Coming off an emotional game against Kimberley, there was a little less of a rivalry [in Creston] and it’s hard to be mentally prepared. But we don’t lose two in a row.”
As an 18-year-old in his first junior hockey season, Pronchuk relocated from High River to play for Fernie and has been proving himself as an asset to the Rider’s defence.
“The whole experience has been unreal. There’s great fans here and it’s a lot of fun to play in front of them,” said Pronchuk.
The Ghostriders will be back at the Fernie Memorial Arena this Saturday, November 15 from 7:30 p.m. when they host the Spokane Braves for the first time this season. Don’t miss it!