Even from the Glacier seats, you could almost see Terry Ryan’s eyes opening wider as he stood just outside the crease with the puck at his skates while facing a goalie who had just lost his stick.
“Soon as I saw he didn’t have it, that’s where I shot,” said the Mount Pearl forward whose second goal of the game helped propel the H.J. Bartlett Electric Blades to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Northeast Rona Eagles in Subway Avalon East senior hockey play Wednesday night.
“Usually,” said Ryan, “goalies who have lost their stick try to compensate by putting their blocker down. And when they do, they drop their shoulder.”
With a quick flick of the wrist, Ryan put the puck in the top corner over Eagles’ goalie Patrick O’Brien, and the Blades were in full control.
Mark Chaplin, Andrew Pearcey and Jason Hedges had the other goals for first-place Mount Pearl, which remains unbeaten this season.
The Eagles, playing near flawless hockey, held a 1-0 lead after the first period on a power-play goal by Andrew White, but couldn’t keep it together in the second period, when Mount Pearl scored all its goals
The Blades (9-0) were held to two shots in the opening 20 minutes, but took over the game as Pearcey and Ryan tallied less than a minute apart early in the middle frame.
Ryan, his team’s Subway player for of the game, said the Blades didn’t panic after a lacklustre opening-period effort.
“When we get like that, all we need to do is dump the puck in their zone and get behind their defenceman. It’s honestly that simple. We’ve got a lot of good players and, general, hard workers,” said Ryan, who also had an assist Wednesday.
“We’re generating more (scoring) chances from dumping the puck in and cycling it, and playing hard and rough than we are by playing a finesse game.”
Northeast coach Steve Power felt his team got the short end of the stick in terms of the officiating.
“I'm trying not to sound like I’m crying, but you’ve got to have a little luck with the officials,” said Power, who felt the officials took his team out of the game.
The Eagles had 11 penalties to the Blades nine, but while that might not be a huge discrepancy, Power suggest the timing of the calls played a role.
“The last three penalties to (Mount Pearl) were with three or four minutes left in a 5-1 game,” he said.
“And one of our guys gets a 10-minute misconduct for apparently waving his stick at the other team’s bench!”
“We know that in this (dressing) room. We’ve got to put 60 minutes together. “We’ve got the horses. We’ve got the system in place, but it comes down to execution.
“We pretty much played a perfect first period. They (Blades) are a good hockey team. We knew they were going to come out hard (in the second period) and you don’t want to complain about the referees but we were given a couple of early penalties, they score on the power play and we lose all our momentum,” said the obviously frustrated coach.
“Other than that, the officials do a great job. They are awesome guys,” Power added with a smile and with just a wee bit of sarcasm in his voice.
“I won’t go so far as saying the referee cost us the game, OK, but boy, I tell you what… he didn’t help us. Still, the bottom line is we’ve got to help ourselves. We’ve got to play better.”
Patrick O’Brien started in goal for the Eagles, giving up all five goals on 20 shots over the first two periods. Adam O’Brien, who came on in the third period, was superb and finished with 20 saves.
“Frankly, It could have been 10-1 without him,” Power said of his relief netminder.
Blades’ goalie Roger Kennedy had19 stops.
The same teams lock horns again 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Jack Byrne Arena in Torbay.
Power promised, “It will be a different game.”
Team GP W L OTL PTS
Mount Pearl 9 9 0 0 18
C.B.N. 9 5 4 0 10
Northeast 10 4 5 1 9
Bell Island 8 0 8 0 0
Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point
Friday, Dec. 3
7:30 p.m., Mount Pearl at Northeast
Sunday, Dec. 5
7:15 p.m., C.B.N. at Bell Island