Clarenville—Robert Slaney played the role of hero for the Conception Bay North Eastlink CeeBee Stars in Game 1 of the Telegram Herder Memorial Trophy Championship Series Saturday night at the Clarenville Events Centre.
The Upper Island Cove native scored twice in the third period to give the CeeBees a come-from-behind 4-3 win over the host Clarenville Caribous.
With the CeeBees down 3-2 late in the third period, Slaney scored the game-tying goal with six minutes to play then netted the winner three minutes later.
"We knew it was going to be fast game, we prepared for that, we just had to maintain our defence against their offence and play simple, hard hitting game," Slaney says.
Also scoring for the CeeBees were import forward Chris Hulit and Ryan Delaney.
Mark Yetman stopped 35 of 38 shots against, while at the other end of the rink Jason Churchill faced 40 shots - 15 in the third period as the CeeBees pressed the attack.
"In the third period we simply got outworked," says Caribous coach Ivan Hapgood. "We didn't get the puck deep and our pass was terrible.
"I hate to say it, we're starting to have a history of playing a terrible game in the first game of Herder. We're not proud of that."
The Caribous lost Game 1 last year to the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts and dropped the opener of the 2010 Herder final to the CeeBees. In both cases, however, the Caribous went on to win four straight and claim the title.
Steve Yetman, with two, and Brandon Roach lit the lamp for the 'Bous Saturday.
The best-of-seven final continues Sunday, 2 p.m., at the CEC and Hapgood insists the Herd will be better prepared for the rematch.
"I can't say what kind of game (the CeeBees) will bring tomorrow, but I guarantee we'll bring a better one than we brought tonight."
Prior to Saturday's game, the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts were presented with the Evening Telegram Trophy for finishing first in regular season standings with a 20 win, three loss and one shootout loss record.
The Newfoundland Senior Hockey League also handed out some hardware with the Gander Flyers' Chad Locke being named rookie of the year, while import Tyler Whitehead was selected as the team's MVP this season.