Steve Power has probably been called a lot of things over his career in the game, but never a prophet it’s safe to say.
After his team lost 5-1 to Mount Pearl H.J. Bartlett Blades Wednesday, the head coach of the Northeast Rona Eagles predicted Friday night’s Subway Avalon East Senior Hockey League rematch at the Jack Byrne Arena would be “a different game.”
Connor Fudge’s goal at a 2:09 of the overtime period gave the Eagles a 3-2 win over Mount Pearl, handing the league-leading Blades their first loss in 10 games this season.
According to Power, is was a simple matter of his team “putting three full periods together,” unlike the previous game against Mount Pearl when his team bailed the first period.
“I knew we could do it,” said Power, who tweaked his normal game plan a little by going mainly with three lines Friday at the instead of the usual four.
“I used some other players in specific roles such as Joe Joel Whalen, whose role was to be — as (Toronto GM) Brian Burke says ‘ truculent’ — and while he didn’t get a whole lot of shifts, the few he got he was more than effective.
“And guys like Andrew Devereaux and Derm Connors saw a lot of penalty-killing duty. Connors is over 30 and he was dropping down blocking shots in December. Some of the young guys could learn a lesson from that.
Power said his teammates call “Old School.”
“He still hasn’t adjusted to the new standard of officiating which cracks down on hooking and holding,” said Power. “He’s got about eight hooking penalties already this season. But not many of the young guys know how to block shots like he does.
“He wasn’t on the top three lines getting regular ice time but what he got he earned.
“He played a really important role in the win.”
Power said the victory over the league’s top team in the league was a great confidence boost for his team.
“We were close before,” he noted. “We were always woulda, coulda, shoulda, but now we’ve beaten Mount Pearl and (second place) Conception Bay North within a week. We’ve proven to people we can play.
“ I don’t know if we’re ready for the Herder Trophy parade down Torbay road just yet, but we’re there and we’re competitive.
“We’ve got some talent and I just think people have underestimated us.”
Having said that, Power added: “Whatever team works the hardest wins just about every night. And make no mistake the Blades and the CeeBees work hard.”
The Eagles’ Ryan O’Connor scored from a long shot at 16:25 of the third period to send the game into the extra session. Colin Feehan, on a power play, had the other Eagles’ goal. Junior Daniel Cadigan, who picked up two assists, was Northeast’s Subway player of the game.
Ken Pennell, on a short-handed effort, and Colin Power had the goals for the Blades.
Patrick O’Brien made 38 saves in net for the Eagles, while Blades’ netminder Roger Kennedy had 35 stops.
Power credited Kennedy with keeping the game close.
“He stood on his head for most of the game. He stopped Chris Mooney twice on what looked to be sure goals.”
C.B.N. 7, Bell Island 2 (Sunday)
The Conception Bay North EastLink CeeBee Stars scored four unanswered goals in the third period to defeat the Blues at Msgr. Bartlett Memorial Arena.
Matthew Thomey scored twice for the winners. Shane Gamberg, Ryan Delaney, Chris Petten, Ray Dalton and Chris Sparkes each scored once. Sparkes also added three assists to earn the Subway player of the game honours.
John Adams had both goals for Bell Island.
Fred Diamond had 29 saves in the Stars’ net, while Mark Yetman made 44 stops for the Blues.