Newcomers have immediate impact for CeeBee Stars in big win over Gander

Terry Roberts
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Duffy, Quinn and Kennedy come up big as CeeBees pull even with Flyers in standings

A flurry of trades this week by the Eastlink CeeBee Stars have paid early dividends.

HARBOUR GRACE — A flurry of trades this week by the Eastlink CeeBee Stars have paid early dividends as all three newcomers had an immediate impact Saturday night in a convincing 6-1 win over the visiting Gander Flyers in provincial senior hockey action.

Former pro Ben Duffy fit nicely into his Stars jersey, scoring twice and adding one helper, and was arguably the game’s first star. Fellow newcomer Matt Quinn also registered on the scoresheet, netting one goal, and goaltender Roger Kennedy was stellar between the pipes.

All three came to the Stars this week in a series of trades that team officials hope will reverse a losing trend in the first half of the season, with the defending provincial champs winning just four times in 14 outings.

Ray Dalton, Colin Feehan and Matt Bragg also tallied for the winners, while Steve Brazil scored the lone goal for Gander.

Big third period

The game was scoreless after 20 minutes, with Kennedy and Flyers’ keeper Patty O’Brien shutting the door.

The CeeBees built a 2-0 lead with goals by Duffy and Dalton before the 11-minute mark of the middle frame, but Brazil beat Kennedy with an impressive breakaway goal at 13:56 to narrow the gap.

The third period was the turning point as the CeeBees restored the two-goal lead at 4:56 on a marker by Quinn, and the flood gates opened 13 minutes into the final stanza, with the CeeBees’ offence exploding for three quick goals off the sticks of Duffy, Feehan and Bragg.

The Flyers were unable to keep pace with the CeeBees in nearly every category — speed, effort and puck possession.

The CeeBees’ defence also came up big, despite the absence of Doug O’Brien and Donnie Gosse. Fred Earle logged some heavy minutes on the blueline and he seemed to earn every second, playing a rugged, smart game in his own end.

Deadlocked with Gander

Entering Saturday’s contest, the CeeBee Stars trailed the Flyers by two points and sat in the basement of the six-team league. But both teams are now deadlocked with 11 points each, with Game 2 of the weekend tilt scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 12.

“It was fun,” Duffy said of his first Newfoundland senior hockey game.

“I really didn’t know what to expect,” he added. “For my first game I really had no expectations. I just wanted to feel things about. But I think it went well, and now that I’m familiar with the team, I think I can improve and play better.”

The 21-year-old Halifax native played this season with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League, but decided to end his pro hockey career and is now attending the University of New Brunswick.

Duffy was a teammate of fellow CeeBee Stars’ forward Jordan Escott during their days with the Prince Edward Island Rocket of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Both are now expected to play big offensive roles for the Stars as the race for the Herder Memorial Trophy continues.

Escott is playing some of his best hockey this season, and entered Saturday’s game tied for second place in league scoring. He added to his totals with three helpers, and was a threat every time he touched the puck.

Organizations: Flyers

Geographic location: Gander

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