After Tuesday nights game between the Fernie Ghostriders and Kimberley Dynamiters, it is fair to say that the rivalry has been renewed. The game was penalty filled, with 118 minutes worth of penalties.
More on that later.
Cam Russell opened the scoring 1:15 into the game, and it felt like the Nitros were going to satisfy their desire for revenge.
After the midway point of the first, the Nitros fell flat after being penalized. The Ghostriders would score on the power play just as their 5-on-3 concluded to tie the game.
“Sometimes with young kids, they get a great start and they think it is going to be an easy first period, or lopsided first period like we have had in the past month of so,” head coach and general manager Derek Stuart said. “Credit to Fernie they worked hard and took advantage of our lulls.”
In the second, Nitro’s Keegan McDowell scored on the power play.
To tie the game again, the ‘Riders needed the weirdest goal of the year to beat Adam Andersen. The puck deflected skyward, and no one knew where the puck was. It then bounced in the crease and into the net. Just like that, the game was tied at two.
The second period ended tied. The buzzer sounded. The players from both teams started leaving the bench to go to their dressing room. Then all hell broke loose, and the second period wasn’t done yet. Spencer Kennedy was called for spearing, and then ‘Riders Derek Green came to help his injured teammate. As much of a brawl that can happen with cages, happened.
Both coaches were ejected from the game for dismissing their players prior to officials saying that they could. Kennedy was given a game misconduct, as well as Green. However, the officials threw the book at Green, resulting in a Nitros eight minute power play to start the third.
“One of our guys, Kromm, got speared in not a very comfortable spot,” Ghostriders head coach and general manager Jeff Wagner said. “We had one of our players on the ice, Green, who defended our guy. The officials said that Green jumped from our bench, I’m going with what my assistant is telling me that Green was already on the ice.
“So, it wasn’t a matter that we didn’t hold our bench, it was that Green came to defend his teammate. He did it admirably. For us to be short eight minutes after our guy gets attacked is pretty unreasonable.”
Brock Palmer was able to score a goal on the lengthy power play to put the Nitros up by one.
And then as has been tradition for McDowell, if he scores one, he will score a second. That’s just what he did in a gritty way.
“I was just sticking to my role, I have to put the puck in the net.” McDowell said after the game.
The Nitros would win this game 4-2. Andersen made 28 saves in the win.
“It was one of the harder fought games right before Christmas that I have been a part of. The execution wasn’t very good, it was very sloppy.” Stuart said.
“Where we struggled tonight was our best players were not our best players tonight. Everyone else worked hard and got the job done.”
McDowell was named the Home Star of the game. For Stuart though, MciLwain was the teams best player.
“We gotta work hard until bounces go our way. That’s exactly what we did tonight.” MciLwain said. “My role has been to move my feet and be physical. I am giving the guys energy.”
At this point, suspensions are expected but have not been posted on the KIJHL website.
For Stuart though, this was his final thoughts on the game, “There was probably 10-15 head shots tonight between both teams. Each team had a spearing penalty and there were numerous questionable hits into the boards. And it’s happening almost every game.
“This is a direct result of BC Hockey’s mandatory face-mask ruling. To them saving a few teeth, a few dollars and preventing the occasional facial laceration is far more important than protecting players heads, necks and spines.
“Their uneducated decision has put hundreds of young men in a very dangerous environment.”
The Ghostriders have one game this Friday before going on a holiday break, while the Dynamiters now start their nine-day holiday break.
McDowell and MciLwain are both looking forward to the break so that they can spend time with family and friends.