The two favourites came out on top as the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League semifinals opened up Saturday night, but in both cases, they were forced to overtime before posting their wins.
At the Glacier in Mount Pearl, Terry Ryan scored 10:34 into the extra frame to give the Clarenville Caribous a 4-3 victory over the Mount Pearl H.J. Bartlett Electric Blades in Game 1 of the best-of-seven East Division semifinal. Meanwhile, at Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium, where the West Division series opened, the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts got by the Western Royals by the same 4-3 score. In that one, the Cataracts’ Rob Hennigar, the NSHL’s top point-getter in the regular season, tallied less than two minutes into OT.
Both series continue today, with the Royals and Cats in a rematch at Grand Falls art 2 p.m., while the Blades and Caribous switch venues for Game 2 at the Clarenville Events Centre, where it will be an 8:30 p.m. start.
Caribous 4, Blades 3 (OT)
At Mount Pearl, Clarenville grabbed a 2-0 first-period lead on goals by Ryan Desrosiers and Keith Delaney, but the Blades went ahead in the second as Ryan Graham scored, then set up markers by Spencer Jezegou and Dane Marshall.
Andrew Sullivan forced overtime by scoring for the Caribous with six-and-a-half minutes left in regulation and Ryan ended it with a slap shot that got by Mount Pearl goalie Ryan Mior.
Cataracts 4, Royals 3 (OT)
At Grand Falls-Windsor, the Royals got a game-tying goal on a power-play goal by Parker Deighan with 42 seconds left in regulation, but the Cats pulled it out when Hennigar scored his second goal of the night early in overtime.
Western jumped ahead 2-0 as Justin Barbour and Scott Doody registered first-period goals, but Hennigar and linemate Cam Fergus brought the home side even in the second and Andrew Brennan put the Cataracts ahead 3-2 at 16:39 of the third. That looked like it might be the winning goal before Deighan tallied in the final minute.