Disappointment déjà vu for Caribous

John
John Browne
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Clarenville drop Allan Cup final to host team for second straight year

Clarenville Caribous coach Ivan Hapgood couldn’t hide his disappointment a day after the Caribous fell 3-2 to host Dundas Real McCoys in the final of the 2014 Allan Cup national senior A men’s hockey championship.
“It’s very, very tough, no question,” Hapgood said Sunday.

What’s even tougher, added the coach, is that “I thought we deserved to win.”

Randy Rowe’s winning goal came in Saturday’s final in Dundas, Ont., after Justin Davis won a draw in the Clarenville zone. He got the puck to Rowe who beat Clarenville goalie Jason Churchill on a screened shot with 6:18 to play in overtime which gave the Real McCoys their first Allan Cup crown.

For the Caribous, who will host the event next April at the Clarenville Events Centre, it was the second straight year the club has finished as Allan Cup runner-up to the host team, having lost to the Bentley, Alta., Generals in the 2013 final in Red Deer. Clarenville won the Canadian championship in 2011.

Cam Fergus, who finished as the tournament’s leading scorer with four goals and five assists for nine points, scored a pair of power play goals for the Caribous. Darryl Smith had the other goals for Dundas.

The Caribous fired 53 shots on Dundas goalie Mike Mole, while Churchill faced 41 shots.

Churchill finished the tournament with a 1.89 goals-against average and .940 save percentage. Mole, who was selected the tournament MVP and all-star goalie, had a 1.64 GAA and .950 save percentage.  

A significant turn in the game, according to Hapgood, came mid-way in the second period when Caribous forward Andrew Sweetland was given an automatic game misconduct after being whistled for a checking-from-behind minor.

“Losing Andrew made a major difference to us,” said Hapgood.

“There must have been 50 plays like that in the tournament but we are the ones who get called. It sounds like sour grapes, so I’m not going to say more about it.”

The Caribous also lost the services of Chad Earle earlier in the overtime when he was driven into the glass by Dundas defenceman Matthew Smith without a penalty call.

Hapgood said Earle required 15 stitches to close the cut on his face.

“That was tough to take, as well,” said the Clearville coach. “But that’s the breaks of the game, I guess.”

Hapgood said Dundas “loaded up for the tournament” and were by far his team’s toughest opponent in the four-game competition.

The Dundas roster included four former pros Ryan Christie, Nick Smith, Jason Ward and Jay McKee.

“They had a good team. We had our chances to score in the last two periods, but Mole was very good, like our goalie,” said Hapgood.

Hapgood wouldn’t single out any individual players for their effort over the tourney and instead praised the entire team.

“They are a great bunch of guys who were focused on winning the Allan Cup for Newfoundland.

“I’d love to have another opportunity with the same bunch of players,” he said.

Clarenville had pretty good fan support in the playoffs, according to Hapgood, and having home ice advantage next season when the Caribous play host the Allan Cup will be a bonus, though winning it all won’t be easy.

However, as Hapgood points out, there will be two Newfoundland teams in next years championship series which will include Grand Fall-Windsor Cataracts as defending Telegram Herder Memorial Trophy Championship Series winners.

That means Clarenville won’t have players such as Luke Gallant and Cam Fergus who were a couple of standout Cataract pickups at this year’s tourney.

Saturday’s game was just the third Allan Cup championship game to go to overtime since the tournament went to a single-game final in 1992.

Clarenville advanced to the final by beating Alberta’s Bentley Generals 5-1 in Friday’s semifinals.

Chris Hulit scored twice for Clarenville. Dale Sullivan, Dustin Russell and Fergus had single tallies for the winners.

The Real McCoys earned berth in championship game by blanking the Kenora Ont., Thistles 4-0.

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Clarenville Events Centre, Allan Cup for Newfoundland, Trophy Championship Series

Geographic location: Clarenville, Red Deer, Clearville Newfoundland Alberta

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Recent comments

  • Kyle Abbott
    April 22, 2014 - 09:16

    Dundas loaded up? We had a proverbial NSHL All-Star Team. Don't get me wrong, that was a great showing and the boys played tremendous up there, but you can't say another team loaded up when Clarenville did the exact same thing. Next year will be interesting with two NL teams playing. Who will play with what team in the tournament?

  • Randell Meadus
    April 21, 2014 - 19:06

    You guys done a great job, you should be proud of what you accomplished, and your fans are proud, as well.