Tuesday, 20 February 2018

The Riders will play Kimberley, Round the League and the usual drivel

The Ghostriders finished up the regular season with two wins against Golden and a 5-4 loss to Creston.

The Riders ended up in fourth place with 34 points. They will play Kimberley in the first round, they finished with a league leading 78 points. That means Kimberley will have home ice vs Fernie and every other team (if any) they play this season.

With a 44 point lead on the Riders it will be a tough series. The Riders lost all 8 games they played against Kimbo this year but most of them were  one goal games. So it is more than possible to win this best of 7 series.

The Riders match up well on the gritty side of the puck but are behind on the scoring side, a couple of big losses put them at -17 in that department against the KD. 

Not many people think the boys have a chance in this series so the Riders will have to use that as a motivational tool and try and channel the Vegas Golden Knights with their shockingly successful "Us Against the World" mantra. Anything can happen and you don’t win on paper.

I believe that systems help a bit but if a team plays a basic defensive game and each player “really want’s it more in  every situation", they can win. That is what Mike Sullivan convinced the Penguins they needed to do two years ago when he was brought in to a failing team mid season, and they won everything, twice.

The Riders are in Kimberley Friday and Saturday then come here Sunday Feb 25th and Tuesday the 26th. Game 5 is in Kimberley Wednesday and Thursday March 1st game 6 is in Sparwood. Game 7 is Saturday in KD ville.

The games in Kimberley will be on the radio with 99.1 the Drive’s 99.1 Josh Hoffman at the mike

Rider Notebook
The Riders were down 5-1 in the second in the Creston game last Sunday then scored three to make it close. Owen Titus and Jordan Kromm each had a goal and 2 assists. If guys like that can score next week...

Sometimes the refs call fight’s that aren’t fights,  we saw that a couple of weeks ago in the Kimberley game... but Brent Mack and Creston’s Liam Rycroft was a real fight...actually Sam Rousseau and Eric Welford each had one of those in the last couple of weeks as well... quiet everyone BC Hockey might be listening.

Mitch Titus finished with 64 points and finished number 7 in overall KIJHL scoring. A nice regular season ending for the “C”.

Keelan Saworski scored the most Rider goals with 26 and Kevin Pierce, Tristan Downe and Grayson Neufeld led the defence in scoring with 21-20 and 19 points. 

Broc Merkl played 32 games with a .888 save % and Zak Larson played 15 with a .895 save %.

Ryan Partaker had the most PIM’s with127 followed by Brant Mack with 105.

Ethan Jang and Jace Woodley remain on the injury list and are questionable for the start of the PO's.

Mitch Titus’ second goal in OT  in Golden was the game winner.

AP Geoff Drought had the win in net in Golden, he is a 17 year old from Cranbrook. Geoff played 4 games and had 3 wins against Golden.

Round the League

Kimberley finished 1st overall and ended on a 9 game win streak.

Creston’s Liam Plunkette won the KI scoring race with 94 points. He also had the most assists with 61.

Kelowna’s Brody Dale had the most points per game with 2.9, he had at least a point in 19 of the 20 games he played.

Creston’s Ron Wilkie had the most goals with 48, Rebel Ed Lindsey was the closest to him with 38.

The first place Nelson Leafs  won a couple of awards, goalie Josh Williams had the best save % with .937 and Leaf assistant coach Sean Dooley had the best suspension % with 7 games per incident... he will miss the first round of the playoffs. Dooley in a brilliant come from behind effort late in the season has now ousted Kimberley’s Derek Stuart who was leading with 5. Both coaches were yelling etc at the officials. Cause they’re so easy to get ...
* There may be more that we don’t know about because the league tries to hide coaching suspensions. So just wondering, aren't playoff games worth more than regular season games? It musta bin bad.

The Revelstoke Grizzlies finished with the most PIM 1406, they win the coveted KIJHL colouring book. The Grizz finished with 73 points, second overall. Last season they had 41 points. Good recruiting job by Ryan Parent, is he that division’s Coach-GM of the Year.

Nelson’s Brent Headon had the most PIM’s with 195 we'll  send  him a copy of the colouring book as well.

Gone are the days of players with 400+ minutes and games where even the fans needed face-masks... Next year will be even worse thanks to Putyourfacemaskonachenko , Could there be more leagues going full cage next year... stay tuned

Osoyoos had the most power play goals with 78 and Beaver Valley was the most likely to score on the PP and did 27.62 % of the time.

Princeton scored the most shorthanded goals with 13, Kimberley was next with 12 but they only allowed 5 against vs Princeton’s 13. The Ghostriders were 4th with 9 scored and 5 shorthanded goals allowed. 

Nelson had the best penalty kill and were successful 88.60% of the time. Kimberley was 4th at 87.75 Fernie last at 73.68. More things to watch out for this weekend.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Rider weekend 1-1

The Ghostriders won one and lost one on the weekend.

On Friday in Sparwood against Kimberley Brant Mack scored shorthanded early in the first to give the Riders a 1-0 lead. In the second the Nitro’s scored two, Bamber and Palaga had the goals and Kimberley was up 2-1.

Late in the third with Zak Larson out of the net Kimberley scored two EN goals and that was the game.

On Saturday the Riders were in Golden in a game that featured the return of Brendan Nemes who hadn’t played since December 15th. When Nemes is going he is a point a game guy.

Also just back from injury was Defenceman Eric Welford, Eric opened the scoring on the PP in the first then Keelan Saworski scored in the second. In the third period Brendan Nemes made it 3-2 and Saworski with his second of the game and 23rd on the year scored what would turn out to be the game winner because Rocket  Nick Runnalls scored at 3:14 on the PP to make it a close 4-3  game. Broc Merkl had the win in net. 


The Kimberley game was yet another one goal game (2 EN goals ) that the Riders haven’t been able to win when they play Kimberley. They will be playing the Nitro's in the first round of the playoffs so will have to find a way to win those close games.

Brendan Nemes was nemed the Player of the Game in Golden with a goal and an assist in his first game back, he was the Riders playoff MVP last year and the post season starts on or about Friday the 23rd in Kimberley this year. They will need him going at his best then.

Mitch Titus had 3A in Golden taking him up to #7 in KIJHL scoring with 58 points.

Coach Craig Mohr continues to play Zak Larson one game then Broc Merkl the next... it will be interesting to see who the coaches pick to start the P/O’s, or will they continue to do the one and one routine. 

D-man Eric Welford covers a lot of ice for the Riders and plays with an edge so I was kind of surprised his goal in Golden was his first. Hope he can stay healthy.

Brant Mack’s short handed goal was the Riders 9th SHG this season, they are tied with Kimbo in that department. KD has allowed 5 PPG against and Fernie 4 . Things to watch out for in the P/O.

Jace Woodley has joined Ethan Jang the injury list now and is out for a couple of weeks.

In other news
Kimberley has had trouble with Creston lately, they had several suspensions in a lopsided loss earlier in the season then their Coach blamed the referee in another bad loss a couple of weeks ago. We’ve heard that before from the Kimbo coaches over the years, they never seem to just lose a game once in a while without some sort of reason. 

Did they break the spell ? 
The Nitros won 4-3 at home last night against Creston outshooting them 40-24 according to the on line  game sheet. Mason Palaga was given a match as well according the notoriously unreliable on line game sheets.  He is an all star D who has had some discipline problems. Top  KIJHL scorers Liam Plunkett and Ron Wilkie were shutout by the Dynamiters last night as well.

On the other side the Osoyoos Coyotes scored 3 PP goals for a 6-3 win vs Kelowna. With the 3 PPG they now lead the league with 70 power play goals... nearest competitor, Revelstoke with 64. Kimberley has 50 and Fernie 36.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Kimberley and Invermere win Saturday

Fernie 4 @ Kimberley 5

In Kimberley, Cooper Page (1G 2A) scored late in the second period to break a 4-4 tie and the Nitros hung on for the 5-4 win.
Cody Campbell had the win in net, it was Kimberley’s 31st win and 64th (league leading) point.
Att 703 and both teams scored 2 PP G.
Shots 43-33 Kimberley

Creston 2 @ Columbia Valley 4

In Invermere, Creston scored two in the first then the Rockies got one in the second and three in the 3rd for a big 4-2 win breaking Creston’s 9 game win streak.

Mike Dyck had the game winner, Creston had 2 PP goals the Rockies 1 and Levi Mitchell stoped 29 of 32 shots for the win.
Shots 33-30 Creston. KIJHL top scorers from Creston Liam Plunkett and Ron Wilkie were limited to 1A.

In other games of note

Nelson on the road defeated Grand Forks 3-1keeping them in first place with 61 points, 4 up on Castlegar.

Chase defeated 100 Mile 10-9 in 100 Mile. 
Chase's Mike Fidanza and 100’s Fraser Dodd each had 5 points and the shots were 38-47 CH

Revelstoke defeats Kamloops 6-1 in Kamloops, Cody Flann had 4 points and the Grizz now have 4 W in a row and  61 pts.

Osoyoos won 9-1 vs Sicamous and 9 different Coyotes scored for their 60th point, 10 up on Summerland.

What was I thinking

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Riders win and lots of drivel

After losing 6-2 to the Rockies in Invermere last Tuesday the Riders bounced back with a 5-4 double overtime win on Friday night in Sparwood.

The Riders and Rockies were tied up at 1-1 at the end of the first period Mitch Titus who finished with 1G 1A  and Devin Burton (PP) scored the goals.

  Five minutes into the second  Chase Hawkins and Ryan Skytt had the Rockies up 3-1.

At 13:10 Brant Mack (former Nitro) scored his first as a Ghostrider on a breakaway then Jordan Kromm tied the game at three.  After that Dylan Defosse scored a PP goal that gave the Riders a 4-3 lead going into the third.

In the third Mike Dyck scored the tying goal with .01 seconds left on the clock on the PP. 

The game went to OT and in the second OT  Keelan Saworski scored a beauty on a pass from from Jason Lane giving the Riders the two points.


The Player of the Game was Keelan Saworski with the game winner and two assists... but I’ll make the argument that Zak Larson could have been the POG. The Riders took 2 four minute penalties in the last half of the third and the Rockies had several grade A chances that Larson stopped thus giving the boys a chance to win.

One of the 4 minutes penalties was to Grayson Neufeld who was about to get called for roughing then took an unnoticed shot from Seth Summers so he slashed him pretty good in the back of the leg and Summers fell like an Elk in hunting season. He was fine, and if I could make things different I’da had 23 slash him in the head after watching all the stuff this guy does... but I wish Dubielewicz would trade him to us this summer...

The tying goal... It was just in the nick of time to me and several of the fans in my area and we were in that end of the ice.

What the fans wanted to see
After an altercation on the ice between a few different players Kyler Shmigelsky was headed (literally) off the ice when he gave Matt Cooper a head butt. Cooper fought him and won convincingly then held his hands up to the cheering crowd. It was heartwarming to this old bas###d bringing back memories of the good old days. 

And Finally

A couple of years ago a team in our league got blasted when the scored keeper put One-Sided ahead of the referee’s name on the scoresheet. The thin skinned referees and KIJHL officials went berserk and the refs were going to refuse to ref the league. It was way over kill IMO. Anyway...

Last week when Kimberley lost 7-1 in Creston Derek Stuart went really berserk and did it in the media, basically accusing the referee ( a senior official ) of cheating in favour of any other team Kimberley plays against. See the comments below stolen from Josh Lockhart’s blog. There was more but this is what is out there and is what I can say.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Stuart... if we ever  do. The players are berated on a list on the KIJHL website every time they get suspended, and they should be, but where are the coaches suspensions ??? The league is run by the governors and they are buddies with the coaches, go figure.

"Mentally a major factor [in Creston] was that we knew we were not going to win with that official. We have a past history with him, and we knew we were not going to win."

A very bold statement by Stuart, but there are stats to back it. Including the conference finals last year the Nitro's have played 43 games, the Nitro's are 0-6 with this official, and 31-7 with all the others.

"He makes it extremely difficult for us to have a chance to win in an even playing field.

"Last night was a perfect example, it was his show. Our players have come to the point where we know that we are not going to get our fair shake with him. That was a very big mental struggle."

The Nitro's loss on Saturday was their seventh of the season, and in four of those losses, it was the same official. Stuart provided more stats, that they have been outscored 19-3 (20% of the Nitro's goals against in four games), and have had nearly 2.5 more penalties called against them in those games.

"We haven't won in six tries with this official. It has become an issue that the league hopefully does something about."

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Riders lost 5-3 in Castlegar

The Riders went into Castlegar, who are battling for first overall in the KIJHL, on Saturday night and ended up losing 5-3.

This was the third game in a row and 4th in 5 days for the boys and the fatigue showed up late in the third when the Rebels broke a 3-3 tie in the last five minutes by scoring two goals in 8 seconds.

The Riders were down 3-0 half way through the game but in the third Keelan Saworski scored two in a row (1 on the PP) and Mitch Titus (PP) tied the game at 3. Then the wheels fell off late in the third.


Zak Larson was in net and the shots were 35-25 for Castlegar.

The Riders went 2-7 and the Rebels 1-5 on the powerplay

Keelan Saworski scored in each Spokane game and two vs Castlegar

Mitch Titus had a goal and 2 assists and 5 points in the second Spokane game and leads the team with 49 points.

Matt Cooper and Grayson Neufeld each had 1 assist.

254 fans at the game, some were harassing our radio guy, security? 

CR’s Jordan Wood’s second goal was the insurance goal and Ed Lindsey’s 33 goal on the year was the game winner.

Shaun Pierce was back in the lineup but Eric Welford, Derek Green and Brendan Nemes are still out with injuries.

Overall a pretty good weekend for the players, it’s tough playing three in a row and 4 in 5 days with the last  one against one of the top teams.

In other News
Kimberley lost 7-1 in Creston, and didn’t like it, they picked up a team Gross Missconduct and Harrison Risdon got 5 for kneeing in the second period. CVT’s Ron Wilkie scored 3 goals the last his 49th and Ty Witzke had 5 points.

Well were not the only team... the Rockies lost 7-4 in Golden Saturday, Shawn Grobowsky had 2 G 2A for the Rockets and 15 year old miss  Izzy Palumbo had the W in net.

Next up, on Tuesday the Riders are in Invermere to play a rescheduled game from Oct 20th then on Friday the Rockies are here in Sparwood. Saturday night the boys are in Kimberley.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Riders win second in a row in Spokane

The Ghostriders won 5-4  in Spokane Friday night. That was their second win in a row in Spokane. 

The 217 fans in Spokane were entertained, the two teams fired 107 shots at each other and scored 9 goals.

The Riders took the lead in the first and held on to it for the rest of the game.

With a 5-2 lead half way through the third the Braves scored two goals 35 seconds apart to make it close but Brock Merkl held the fort and the Riders got the win.

The Gunners
Mitch Titus scored a goal and had 4 assists, Jace Woodley had 2 goals and 2 assists while Keelan Saworski chipped in with a goal and an assist. D-man Grayson Neufeld’s PP goal in the the  third period was the game winner.

Shaun Pierce played Thursday  but sat out Friday as he is eased back into the lineup. Eric Welford, Brendan Nemes and Derek Green all missed the last two games. F-Brant Mack was in the lineup Friday, he was released by Kimberley last week.

The Riders went 3-4 on the PP and outshot Spokane 56-51. The boys will play their third game in a row in Castlegar tonight. Thursday’s game was a rescheduled game resulting in a tough three game weekend for the players. Castlegar won 6-2 in Grand Forks last night.

Kimberley won 4-1 in Invermere and Creston won 9-1 at home to Golden last night as well.

See the full game summary from last night HERE

Friday, 19 January 2018

Riders break an 8 game losing streak.

With a few players back in the lineup the Ghostriders snapped their 8 game losing streak when Devyn Stewart scored his second goal of the game with just 1:11 left in the third, and it was shorthanded to boot. See the game sheet here

That win just had to give the team a lift especially after losing 4-3 in Kimberley and 3-2 in Invermere, mostly because they were playing with as little as14 skaters and ended up losing in the third.

 Ethan Jang also scored two and one of them was a shorthanded effort in the second. Tristan Downe (1G 1A) and Keelan Saworski with his 16th scored the other goals.

Maybe the most important thing that happed in the last couple of games was the successful return of Zak Larson in the net. Zak had not played since October 27th, in his first game back he lost a 3- 2 decision in Invermere Tuesday  then won in Spokane last night. 

The big deal is that Broc Merkl, who will likely start tonight,  finally got a couple of games off...he like all starters want’s to play every game but like it or not 99 percent of starters need a rest once in a while...  Larson will also push Merkl to be at his best, this is only good news for the Riders.

In other news...

Former Rider HC and GM Will Verner was on the bench helping out Craig Mohr last night. Will lives in Osoyoos now working at a regular job... what is he thinkin...

Ethan Jang, fresh off the prospects game has been offered a spot (or a good chance to earn one) in Alberni Valley next year where he will play for a couple of former KIJHL head coaches, Jeff Dubois ( Creston last few years) and Matt Hughes who was in several different towns in a few different leagues including Invermere back in the day when we had a beam walker in the Fernie arena.

The Riders still have a couple of players out, D-Derek Green - Eric Welford and F- Brendan Nemes and 1 card left.

The boys are in Spokane again tonight and in Castlegar Saturday.