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Fernie Ghostriders win four straight – Off the Glass February 29, 2012

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By George Hurlbut

The Ghostriders win four straight and will now go on to round two. The Golden Rockets continued their Dr Jeckell and Mr Hyde act at home in Golden. In Fernie they lost 6-1 in game one then in game two played great and were tied 2-2 late in the third before surrendering two quick goals. In Golden it was no different, they lost 9-4 in game three then decided to take the Ghostriders to double overtime before losing 3-2 in game four.

Four of the five goals in game four were PP goals and the Riders third goal was the worst of all as the Rockets were victimised by the stupidest rule ever in the KIJHL. Rocket defenseman Brad Orr shot the puck out of play twice, once in the first OT period then again in double OT and it cost the Rockets when Stefen Seel scored the PP game winner at 3:28 of the second OT. It’s tragic when the stupid dog rule finishes your season. Roll over, play dead, and let’s get rid of that rule.

Both goalies, Rocket’s Jarred Schamerhorn 55 shots and Rider goalie Chris Solecki 43 were the stars of game four as was Alex Milhouse and Rocket Keith Wake. Milhouse and Brendan Burge scored the other Rider goals.

After the first round.
Connor McLaughlin leads the team with 10 points followed closely by Brendan Burge with 8 and Alex Milhouse and Ben Primeau with 7 each. In the 9-4 game three win Brendan Burge and Connor McLaughlin each had 2 goals and 3 assists while Ben Primeau had a goal and 3 assists.

The coaches’ picks

Connor McLaughlin was named as the Player of the series.
Stefen Seel scored the goal of the series in OT
Evan Burgess and Marty Wicks were the defensive players of the series

Coach GM Will Verner
Here’s what Coach Will Verner had to say about his team’s play against the Golden Rockets.
Verner “It feels good to know that we can win close games when it counts. Game 2 and 4 were real good hockey games and we were able to dig deep and find away to win both those tight games. Connor McLaughlin was really strong in all 4 games and was the best player in the series. Many other forwards had strong performances in different games. In Game 3 Easton Bodeux had his best game as a Ghostrider while in Game 4 we saw Carson Brown return to form. Alex Milhouse was a factor in every game as well and once Ben Primeau figured out his role he was unstoppable. On the back end Evan Burgess and Marty Wicks were outstanding. The pair shut down Golden’s top 4 forwards to a combined 7 points over the 4 games. Burgess was outstanding in game 3 and had a 10/10 player rating. The goaltending was strong as both Fraser Abdallah went 3-0 splitting game 3 and Chris Solecki was a star in game 3 and received the game puck in game 4. This was a team effort as all 22 guys played a big role in the 4-0 series win.

Congratulations Will Verner and Ty Morton
Before game one Eddie Mountain Vice President Milton Crawford presented Ghostriders Coach Will Verner the Eddie Mountain Coach of the Year Award and then he gave Rider Captain Ty Morton the Eddie Mountain Top Defenseman award. Morton scored a lot of points while Captaining the team and Verner coached the youngest ever Ghostriders team to a first place finish.

Fernie Ghostriders – Off The Glass February 26, 2012

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By George Hurlbut

The Ghostriders won their first two games against Golden 6-1 and 4-2. In the first game it was all Ghostriders but in the second game the Rockets played a pretty good road game and the 600 fans were starting to ring the alarm bells late in the third when it was still 2-2 . Connor McLaughlin ended the panic when he scored his first goal with 3:32 left in the third. It was a beauty where he beat half the Golden team before roofing it in for the 3-2 lead then he followed it up with a last minute insurance goal. McLaughlin has scored 4 goals in the first two playoff games. Defenseman Marty Wicks had 3 assists in the 4-2 win and has 5 points so far. McLaughlin had the goal of the game in game 2 but in game 1 it was Austin Evans who slipped around a few players before scoring my pick for goal of the game. Honorable mentions to Alex Milhouse and Stefan Seel who both also scored nice goals. Actually there has been no shortage of really nice goals scored so far. Fraser Abdallah had both wins in net, he had an easy night in game one but had to be particularly sharp at times in game two.

As it was all season the Rockets either play the Riders close or like in game one they don’t show all that well. In game #1 the shots were 41-16 but in game #2 the shots were 33-27 and until the last few minutes anyone could have won. It was a pretty good defensive effort by the Riders as they kept the good scoring chances down to a minimum.

Congratulations Will Verner and Ty Morton
Before the game one Eddie Mountain Vice President Milton Crawford presented Ghostriders Coach Will Verner the Eddie Mountain Coach of the Year Award and then he gave Rider Captain Ty Morton the Eddie Mountain Top Defenseman award. Morton scored a lot of points while Captaining the team and Verner coached the youngest ever Ghostriders team to a first place finish.

Blink 182 says …What’s my Age Again?On February 22 the US celebrated an anniversary, in 1980 the USA defeated the Soviets 4 -3 to win Olympic Gold at Lake Placid NY. The game will forever be remembered as the “Miracle On Ice” or in Russia as Friday the 13th . Oddly enough way back then I watched that game but I was also a regular at the Western International Hockey League games. The WIHL was a senior league that competed for the once prestigious (still is in my mind) Allen Cup. At that time the WIHL had teams in Trail, Spokane, Nelson, Cranbrook, Kimberley and here in Fernie. The Fernie team was named the Elk Valley Blazers and one of the players on that squad was a hardnosed defenseman named Dan Robertson. Dan was known for his UFC style of play and thirty two years later I’m watching the old Kootenay Cable guy’s son Dylan with the Ghostriders, and with 120 PIM in his rookie season the old saying “The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree” seems to apply.

A top scorer traded out of Trail does good…

Matt Wilkins of the Brooks Bandits was the AJHL’s Top Scorer this year with 99 points. Wilkins who was also a former Kimberley Dynamiter Forward averaged 1.7 points per game and led the league with 99 points. Wilkins also averaged 1.7 points a game and had 15 PP goals, the most in the AJHL. Wilkins last played in the KIJHL with the Nitro’s in the 2008-09 season and had, 31 goals and 61 total points. Trail had Wilkins at 18 but traded him to Brooks where he has never looked back and this year his team finished first overall, Trail may finish last overall, nice trade.

Player of the Month
Fernie Ghostriders have nominated Evan Burgess as their player of the month for February. Evan was key to several of our victories in February and helped the club win 1st place for the 3rd consecutive year in the Eddie Mountain Division.

Kill the refs, really, really
On the Kahnawake Mohawk reserve south of Montreal a player was ejected from a game after he tugged on the referees sweater making the ref lose his balance. After the game the players entered the referees room and the player in question started assaulting the referee while the other players held the linesmen so their team mate could beat on him. The coaches finally made their way into the room and stopped it. The same team had been barred from the playoffs last season for attacking an official and a volunteer. Oh did I mention that they were a Midget A team? The league has cancelled all minor hockey home games for the rest of the season after the incident. So now they can play real wreck hockey or hire them for Goon two.

Fernie Ghostriders – Off the Glass February 21, 2012

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By George Hurlbut

Riders vs the Rockets
Ghostriders finished in first place in the Eddie Mountain Division and will now play the fourth place Golden Rockets. In the regular season the Ghostriders won all eight of the games in the Fernie – Golden series but three of the games went into overtime. The last two times these teams played was February 3rd & 4th when the Riders won 2-1 in OT at home and 7-1 in Golden the next day.

Shoulda went to writin school instead
After 52 games Fernie has scored 237 goals and average 4.56 goals a game, they have allowed 148 for an average of 2.85 goals against, the difference is 89. Golden has scored 176 and average 3.38 goals a game but they have allowed 186 or 3.58 goals a game and are a minus 10 on the season. All that is according to my accounting, just remember that those six years when I actually went to school, asleeping, not accounting, was my best subject.

Jeckel & Hyde?
The Rockets didn’t always play their best in the regular season but when they’re on their game they beat good teams and their last two games of the season against Creston, were wins, they won 6-4 and at home and 2-1 on the road. Golden’s top scorer is Darren Andre with 59 points and both Jarrod Schamerhorn and Cole Henderson share the games in net.

Go Riders
The Ghostriders finished with a 35-12-0-5 record and 75 points. Brendan Burge led the team in scoring with 75 points in 47 games. Ty Morton was the top scoring defenseman with 20 goals and 48 points and Marty Wicks led the team in PIM with 182 followed closely by Brendon Mangone with 162. Chris Solecki 18-12-and Fraser Abdallah 8-4 have shared the goaltending duties in the last couple of months. No word on who will start on Friday but we are guessing Abdallah.
Injuries, the Ghostriders have Pat Webb, Carson Brown and Chris Solecki on the day to day list while Derek Georgopoulos remains doubtful for the first round. Connor McLaughlin- he will be key in the PO

Turn the Wine into Whisky

Well USA Hockey recently reversed its decision on the Wenatchee Wild’s bid to join the British Columbia Hockey League and some reporters are saying that the BCHL will “rubber stamp” their application and let the Wild be the BCHL’s only American franchise. So we were wondering why USA Hockey reversed their decision then we found out that several teams in the NAHL have declared dormancy for the 2012-2013 including the Dawson Creek Rage. For the record the Rage had regular season games in Alaska, California, Kenai River (where ever the hell that is) and all across the States. Rumour is when then they first saw their schedule they were going to change their name the Dawson Creek Outrage. Google the NAHL schedule for a shocker. Then go slap a KIJHL owner in the face for not having a balanced schedule, “because it costs too much”. Learn to drink whisky instead of wine you guys.
For the record… Fernie was in the travel happy NAHL before moving over to the KIJHL, it nearly bankrupt the team. The Glacier Nationals also have a hideous travel schedule in their Nor Pac League and they have played exhibition games with both Fernie and Kimberley. Where do you think this is going.

College Hockey INC boss Paul Kelly resigned his job on Monday, pretty sure it was Bob Nicholson I saw doing cartwheels on Cirque Du Soleil this afternoon.

Why we can’t have nice things
The Columbia Valley Rockies had 425 fans out to watch their last home game of the season against the Fernie Ghostriders. Bruce Corrigal stood on his head stopping 42 of 46 shots but their were no three stars listed on the game summary. It’s not about you coaches it’s about the players and the fans, so pick the stars… And as for the 425 fans, where were you all season, if you averaged 425 all year you could have iced a competitive team, like my mother used to say every time I broke something, this is why we cant’ have nice things.

I had a 106 fever once
Congratulations Richard Hubscher on winning the KIJHL’s Top Scorer award with 32 goals and 106 points. Hubscher averaged 2.1 points a game and is from Cranbrook but he plays with the enemy Nitros

Fernie Ghostrider News February 8, 2012

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By George Hurlbut

Nineteen year old Fraser Abdallah  pitched  a shutout stopping 28 shots on the road in Golden and the Ghostriders won 3-0 on Saturday and went 2-0 on the weekend. They are now 8-1-1 in their last 10 and  Abdallah has a 6-2-1 record since coming back to Fernie after a couple of months in Kindersley (SJHL).

The Riders scored one in the first Ty Morton  from Alex Milhouse one in the second RT Rice from Marty Wicks  and one on the PP in the third McLaughlin from Milhouse and Carr for the 3-0 win. 

Milhouse was named as the first star and Marty Wicks the second star. Brandon Shirley was the third star for the Rockets. 
Almost no penalties in this game as the boys played a prefect road game and even outshot Golden 47-28.

The Playoffs looming

The Ghostriders are now a perfect 8-0 against the Rockets and if they manage a first place finish they will have home ice against the aforementioned Rockets in the first round of the playoffs, but Kimberley may have something to say about it and despite losing 5-2 in Sicamous last Friday but won 8-0 the next night  and are almost keeping pace with the Ghostriders

Next games 

The Ghostriders now play a home and home against Creston next weekend and they have had trouble beating these guys lately. Friday will be the final regular season road game in Creston, the last time they travelled there they lost 4-3 in overtime. On Saturday Creston visits Fernie for their last regular season game vs the Riders and they won their last game here 4-3 on January 20th. The games mean nothing to Creston as they can’t be caught by Golden nor can they catch Kimberley or Fernie.

Off the Glass

The Ghostriders seem to have tightened up their ship for the last month of the season and have also reigned in most of the undisciplined penalties. It’s a game of cheap shots out there and they don’t call the game like in the NHL so you have to fight your way through the hooking, holding and head shots without retaliating. It’s not so important in the regular season, and in fact it’s good to retaliate with your own cheap shots and fights once in a while just so everyone knows you’re willing and able to “Gong Show” with the best, but in the playoffs you have to take the cheap shots because the PP can FU.

Last season the Ghostriders two top guns were the dynamic duo of Scott Morisseau and Thomas Abenante (photo) . Morisseau finished first in KIJHL scoring with 97 points in 50 games while Abenante finished in second place with 92 points but played 3 less games. Morisseau, who had shoulder surgery last summer wanted to play his final year at home in Castlegar so was moved there. Meanwhile Abenante who was a favourite of this writer is 21 this year and taking a course in Engineering Design and Drafting Technology at SAIT in Calgary. He says “ It’s a tough course but I’m liking it”. He also tweets once in a while that he’s missing his time in Fernie. We won’t tell him what us maintenance guys think of the engineers at the minesite… 

And finally

Last summer former Ghostrider Coach Fred Harbinson “recruited” (the USHL uses a somewhat different word) several of their best players for his BCHL Penticton Vees. They hate him in the USA and a couple of weeks ago in Merritt they were whining all over the newspapers about how Harbinson was ruining the league by not making his players fight the Merritt players and becuase he recruited a good team instead of a bad team like they usually have in Merritt ( they are pretty good this season though). Anyway, Harbinson’s Vees now have a BCHL record with 30 straight wins. Congrats Fred