It doesn’t seem to matter where they meet, the Kimberley Dynamiters and Fernie Ghostriders continue to show fans what a true rivalry is all about.
Though Fernie rode to a 4-1 victory Friday night, 702 fans at the Kimberley Civic Centre were privy to a back-and-forth affair, characteristic of what is arguably the best rivalry in the KIJHL.
“Coming into the season, all the talk was Fernie, Fernie, Fernie,” said Nitros rookie forward Keenan Haase Friday night. “Coming to play these games is fun and exciting, even in Fernie and especially here with all the fans that showed up. It was a great atmosphere and gets you really pumped up.”
Haase, an 18-year-old native of Mission Viejo, Calif., finished the night with the Nitros lone goal, a power-play marker in the second period that briefly tied things 1-1.
“Their maturity showed in terms of their scoring chances,” said Dynamiters head coach Jerry Bancks Friday night, “and their goalie outplayed our goalie.”
Ghostriders puck-stopper Jeff Orser was sharp, stopping 21 of 22 shots, including a lightning-quick, right-pad save on Haase to preserve the visitors’ 3-1 lead in the third period.
At the other end of the rink, Dynamiters goaltender Tyson Brouwer was victimized four times on 21 shots.
“I’m always honest with our goalies,” Bancks added. “Other than that, I thought we were the better team.”
The Ghostriders jumped out to a 1-0 lead late in the first period after Justin Peers tallied his first of the night. The 18-year-old native of Calgary added a second in the third period to make the score 3-1, giving Fernie all the insurance necessary.
After Haase’s tying goal midway through the second period, Aaron Neufeld wired a shot past the glove of Brouwer to restore the Ghostriders lead for good.
Fernie forward Cole Keebler added one more marker midway through the third period to seal the victory.
The Ghostriders now own a 2-0-1-0 mark in the season series between the two clubs. The Eddie Mountain Division-leaders earned their first win against Kimberley in a 2-1 decision Nov. 7. The two teams fought to a 4-4 draw Nov. 22.
“We saw what the top team in our division is all about,” Bancks said. “We’ve played them well three times in a row. I have a really good feeling about that.
“I think the people here know we played hard. I thought we out-chanced them. They scored and we didn’t.”
The Nitros (13-11-1-2) next action comes Tuesday at 7 p.m. when they host the Golden Rockets (16-10-0-4) at the Kimberley Civic Centre.