Cats, ‘Bous open season with back-to-back wins

Robin Short
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CeeBees, Blades split home-and-home

The Clarenville Caribous, still stinging from a four-game sweep in last year’s Herder Memorial Trophy final, opened their 2013-14 Newfoundland Senior Hockey League with a pair of wins over the weekend on home ice.
At the Clarenville Events Centre, the Caribous dusted off the Gander Flyers 5-3 Sunday and 7-3 Saturday night.

C.B.N. CeeBees Stars goaltender Freddie Diamond gets his stick down on a shot from the Clarenville Caribous’ Paul Hutchings during the team’s Newfoundland Senior Hockey League game Saturday night at S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace. At left is the CeeBees’ Matt Bragg. Diamond stopped 30 shots as the CeeBees won 6-3.

The Caribous entered last year’s Herder final as the defending provincial senior hockey champs, carrying a 15-9 regular season record. The Conception Bay North Eastlink CeeBee Stars, on the other hand, finished sub-.500 in the win-loss column.

But the CeeBees, riding the momentum of dispatching the 20-4 Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts in the first round of the playoffs, made easy work of the Caribous, taking the Herder in four straight games.

“That’s something we don’t want to forget,” said winger Ryan Desrosiers, who scored a goal in each of Clarenville’s wins over the weekend. “Getting swept is not a great feeling, but we want to hold on to that taste to remind us of the drive we need to win a championship.”

The Caribous will represent the province at the 2014 Allan Cup in Dundas, Ont., and will play host to the Canadian senior hockey championship in 2015.

Already, Clarenville is gearing up for the nationals, having picked up brothers Keith and Ryan Delaney from C.B.N. and Martin Lapointe from Grand Falls-Windsor in the off-season.

“I know I can speak for everyone in the (Clarenville) locker room when we say we want to go in the front door to the Allan Cup. We want to go as provincial champs. That’s something we cannot forget,” said Desrosiers, a 29-year-old Nova Scotian.

Sunday, newcomers Kenny Mahoney and Jeremy Barron each had a goal and an assist and the third member of the line, Scott McCarthy, had two assists to stake the Caribous.

“They’re young guys we acquired over the summer, and they played great,” reported the veteran Desrosiers.

Andrew Sweetland, the league’s scoring champ last season, and Stephen Oates also scored for the winners. Brandon Roach also had a pair of helpers.

Replying for the Flyers were Rob Mignardi, Tyler Whitehead and Sean Wadden.

Roger Kennedy made 18 saves in goal for the Caribous. Patrick O’Brien was tested 37 times for the Flyers.

Saturday night, Dale Sullivan had two goals and an assist, and Sweetland had three helpers in Clarenville’s win.

Oates and Roach both had a goal and an assist, and Lapointe and David Victor joined Desrosiers as the other Clarenville player with a single tally.

Mignardi, Whitehead and Chad Locke had the Gander goals. Grant Donovan collected two helpers.

Jason Churchill made 28 saves for the win. Devon O’Brien was peppered with 49 shots in the Flyers’ cage.

Grand Falls-Windsor 4, Western 2 (Sunday)

At the Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium, the Cataracts completed their weekend sweep of the Royals thanks to a two-goal effort from Andre Gill.

Andrew Pearcey, with the game-winner in the third period, and Rodi Short also scored for the Cats. New import Rob Hennigar — from the Windsor Spitfires, University of New Brunswick and the ECHL and American Hockey League — and Brandon Nicholas both had two assists.

Justin Barbour and Matt Thomey had the Royals’ goals.

A.J. Whiffen made 28 saves for the Cataracts and Bryan Gillies stopped 34 pucks in the Royals’ net.

C.B.N. 6, Mount Pearl 3 (Saturday)

At the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace, the CeeBees rebounded from a 5-4 season-opening setback to the H.J. Bartlett Blades to double Mount Pearl in their home-opener.

David Ling, the former NHLer (Montreal Canadiens, Columbus Blue Jackets) and erstwhile St. John’s Maple Leaf, paced the home side with two goals and two assists. Linemate Terry Ryan, who also suited up for Montreal and was a teammate of Ling’s on the American league’s Fredericton Canadiens, had a goal and two assists, while the third member of the trio, Jordan Escott, chipped in with three helpers.

Doug O’Brien, who made five NHL starts with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Matt Bragg and Chad Earle also scored for the winners.

Replying for the Blades, back in the fold following a one-year hiatus, were Paul Hutchings, Cory Blackmore and former CeeBee Mark Tobin.

Freddy Diamond stopped 30 shots for the win. Marek Benda, the Blades’ puckstop, made 34 saves.

Grand Falls-Windsor 7, Western 2 (Saturday)

At the ‘Joe’, the Cataracts got two goals and an assist each from defenceman Short and Hennigar. Andre Gill, Cam Fergus and Brandon Inder also scored for the Cats.

Michael Hynes and Barbour replied. Hynes also had an assist and Darren Langdon, who enjoyed a lengthy NHL career with the New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks, Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils and Montreal, collected two helpers.

Whiffen had a fairly easy time posting the win with a 20-save effort. Gillis made 28 saves for the Royals.

Mount Pearl 5, C.B.N. 4 (Friday)

At The Glacier, Steve Yetman’s power play goal at 18:32 of the third period gave the Blades the win in their home opener. Yetman, the former Caribou, finished the night with a goal and two helpers.

Grant Kenny, Wes Welcher, Mark Roebothan and Steve Tilley also scored for the winners.

Ling scored twice, with Matt Bragg and Ray Dalton getting the other goals for C.B.N.

Ryan Mior, the former Canadian under-18 national team goaltender, made 41 saves for the win. Diamond was tested 33 times.

Organizations: Conception Bay North Eastlink CeeBee Stars, Flyers, NHL University of New Brunswick ECHL and American Hockey League Montreal Canadiens Columbus Blue Jackets Tampa Bay Lightning New York Rangers Vancouver Canucks Carolina Hurricanes New Jersey Devils Royals.Mount Pearl 5

Geographic location: Clarenville, Dundas, Montreal Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium Mount Pearl Maple Leaf

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