The Conception Bay North CeeBees avoided facing a 3-0 series deficit in their best-of-seven Subway Avalon East Senior Hockey League final with a 3-2 win over the Mount Pearl Blades in Game 3 Saturday night in Harbour Grace.
In front of capacity crowd at S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace, Chris Bartlett scored the winning goal for the CeeBees with under eight minutes to play in the third period.
“It was huge for us,” says Eastlink CeeBee Stars captain Matthew Thomey who scored the third-period which tied the game at 2-2.
“Our backs were against the wall, but everyone was really focused and determined after a heartbreaking loss in overtime on Friday.”
Friday was when the H.J. Bartlett Electric Blades took a 2-0 series lead when captain Mark Chaplin scored 31 seconds into the extra frame to seal a 4-3 victory Friday night at the Glacier in Mount Pearl. In that contest, C.B.N. gave up the lead on three occasions.
In both games, the six-time defending league champion CeeBees hit the ice with just five defencemen, what with power-play quarterback Mike Dyke nursing an upper body injury and former ECHL blueliner Brandon Roach out with a groin pull.
“It’s a time when other guys have to step up because they know what we’re missing in those two,” says Thomey, noting the remaining rearguards — Chad Fisher, Chad Parsons, Mike Stevens, Matthew French and forward-turned-defenceman Mike Druken — were up to the task.
“(And the) forwards have got to make a little extra effort because we’re short back there, so it’s important for us to get back in our own end and help out as best we can.”
With Game 4 not until Friday (7:30 p.m. at the Glacier), the CeeBees are thankful for the opportunity to rest up.
“Especially for the guys who’ve been out of the lineup, hopefully they’ll be good to go,” said Thomey.
“In general, it’s nice to have a week off. We played three games in five nights. It’s pretty intense hockey out there. It gets tiring.”
While Thomey says CeeBees ‘goalie Freddy Diamond “has been playing great, and making the big saves when he’s had to,” getting prepared for next weekend “starts in the defensive end.”
“We need to limit their chances and going at them, keep hitting them every single shift and make them not want the puck,” he said.
“We need to capitalize on the opportunities we can create by pressuring them in the neutral zone and focusing on shutting down (their) scorers.”
Keith Delaney had the other C.B.N. goal in Saturday’s game, while Jason Hedges tallied twice for Mount Pearl.
Diamond stopped 26 of 28 shots, while Roger Kennedy faced 35 in net for the Blades.
On Friday, the Blades’ Andrew Pearcey scored a pair of game-tying goals, including a third-period shorthanded marker that forced overtime.
Hedges had the other Blades tally.
C.B.N.’s goals came from Chris Crosbie, who had two, and French, who scored on a power play.
The CeeBees outshot Mount Pearl 41-31, with Kennedy collecting the win over Diamond.