Conception Bay North Eastlink CeeBee Stars coach Ian Moores says his team’s ability to come from behind in the Subway Avalon East Senior Hockey League final shows the sort of character his team has exhibited this season.
After losing the first two games of the best-of-seven East final to Mount Pearl H.J. Bartlett Electric Blades, the CeeBees rebounded to claim their seventh straight title by taking the next four games.
“We’ve got a lot of experience in our dressing room and no one pushed the panic button,” said Moores. “It proved to me, to the fans and to themselves how much they wanted it.
“The series against Mount Pearl was very tough, but we showed that we never count ourselves out. To come back from being down 2-0 tells you a lot about our team.”
Most provincial senior hockey observers would probably agree the CeeBees will need that sort of character and belief in themselves to beat the Bud Light West Coast Senior Hockey League champion Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts in the provincial senior hockey final which opens this weekend in St. John’s.
The best-of-seven Telegram Herder Memorial Championship Series begins 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Mile One Centre with Game 2 set for 2 p.m. Sunday.
“We weren’t satisfied with the way we were playing in the first two games of the East final and we changed that,” noted Moores.
“We’ve got a great mix of experience and young guys on this team who are hungry to get to the top and win the ultimate prize which is the Herder.”
That doesn’t mean Moores is underestimating the WCSHL champions.
He certainly has reason not to considering C.B.N. lost the last two Herder finals in five games to Clarenville Caribous.
“Obviously they (Cataracts) must be a strong team coming out of the west which is always a strong league,” Moores said.
“A lot of people might say the west league is a lot stronger than the east, but I’d say to those people maybe they should have watched our games against Mount Pearl this season.”
While he admits to not knowing a lot about the competition Moores said, “From what I’ve been told about Grand Falls, they are young and quick, so we’ve got to be aware of that and we’ve got to be ready to go.
“But we’re not going into this series just happy to show up. I think it’s going to be a great series and I think we match-up well for sure.”
In the meantime, Moores said defencemen Brandon Roach and Mike Dyke have recovered from their injuries and will be in the lineup for Game 1.
“Both are very mobile, physical defencemen who can play big minutes,” said the CeeBees mentor.
“They are top-notch defencemen who solidify our blueline.”
Moores said Matthew French, Chad Fisher, Mike Stevens and Chad Parsons did “a great job” along with a few others who filled in on the backline while roach and Dyke were on the sidelines.
Meanwhile, the Cataracts have opted to play their home games at Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium in Grand Falls-Windsor rather than choosing to play at the Pepsi Centre in Corner Brook which would have generated more income for the club. The CeeBees will play their “home” games out of Mile One Centre instead of S.W.Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace.
Moores said the Cataracts playing on their home rink “is going to be a big boost for them, but our fans will make it to Mile One Centre. We’ll still have last change at Mile One so that gives us the home ice advantage. And, besides, there’s nothing better…nothing sweeter than going into a opposing team’s rink and doing well.
“We’ll still have our support,” said Moores. “The fans from Conception Bay North are proud of their team and love their hockey and they are very vocal. They’ll show up for this weekend games and will cheer louder than ever.”
While Moores says Grand Falls will have their share of supporters for the first two games in St. John’s, “I would imagine the support at Mile One will be predominately for us.”