The names and faces remain the same, but only the location will change as the Kimberley Dynamiters play host to the Fernie Ghostriders Wednesday night for the first time in their best-of-seven Eddie Mountain Division final.
The two teams battled to a 1-1 split after two games at the Fernie Memorial Arena Sunday and Monday.
“We just have to get the pucks in deep, play our systems, stay disciplined — we have to stay out of the penalty box,” said Dynamiters defenceman Jordan Busch Monday night. “We have to make sure we execute on our chances.
“It’s a long series, a long process. We’re just happy to get the split [in Fernie] and we’re going home with home-ice advantage. It’s a positive note for us.”
The Dynamiters stole home-ice from the Ghostriders with a 5-2 victory in Game 1 Sunday night.
Not to be fully trumped on home ice, the Ghostriders stormed to a 5-2 win in Game 2 Monday.
With two games down, five games remain.
“We’ve got to be bangers, we’ve got to finish our checks on this team,” Ghostriders head coach and general manager Craig Mohr told Sara Moulton of the Fernie Free Press. “If we allow them to just free wheel — they’re good. They’re dangerous. They’re good on the rush.”
The Ghostriders claimed a 4-3-1 mark in the eight-game regular season series, so its surprise to no one this series has already been as close as it has.
While offense came at a premium in the Dynamiters first-round series against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, both the Ghostriders and Nitros are averaging 3.5 goals per game to this point in the Eddie Mountain Division final.
“Fernie chases a bit more [than Creston],” said Nitros forward Braden Saretsky. “It leaves guys open, which gives time and space. We’ve beene executing on them.”
A big question mark remains in the status of Nitros goaltender Tyson Brouwer.
The Kimberley puckstopper was knocked out of action in Game 1 Sunday night after suffering a lower-body injury. He is listed as day-to-day.
With Brody Nelson taking over between the pipes, the Nitros had AP Callum Macleod of Cranbrook on the bench to back up the Invermere native.
The Dynamiters were also without forward Sawyer Hunt Monday as he is listed day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
The Ghostriders lost defenceman Matt Pronchuk after Game 1, but his spot was filled by defenceman Travis Thomsen, who returned from injury in Game 2.
“You’ve just got to focus on the game coming up,” said Dynamiters captain Jason Richter. “We try not to worry about the game we just played or even the first game, we don’t really think about it. Going into the next game — that’s our only focus.
“You try to put the past in the past and focus on the next one coming up.
“We’ve got to be physical, we’ve got to take the puck deep and take the body. We got away from that [Monday].”
Puck drop for Game 3 at the Kimberley Civic Centre is slated for 7 p.m.
Game 4 goes Friday night back in Kimberley.