Cats sitting pretty in Herder final

Kenn Oliver
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Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts centre Andre Gill gets away a shot at St. John’s Caps goaltender Kyle Downer (left) in Game 2 of the Herder Memorial Trophy provincial senior hockey championship Sunday afternoon at Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium in Grand Falls-Windsor. Caps’ defenceman Dylan Shledon looks on. It was one of 53 shots the Cataracts’ sent Downer’s way in a 7-3 win. Two-time defending Herder champion Grand Falls-Windsor leads the best-of-five final 2-0, with the remainder of the series to be played next weekend in Torbay.

Grand Falls-Windsor up 2-0, can wrap up third straight provincial title Friday in Torbay

The Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts are on the cusp of a third straight Herder Memorial Trophy championship after taking the first two games of the best-of-five 2016 provincial senior hockey final from the visiting St. John’s Toyota Plaza Caps over the weekend.

After a decisive 6-0 win in the series opener Saturday night at Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium, the Cataracts returned on Sunday afternoon to collect a 7-3 win in Game 2.

While it was not the result the Caps hoped for Sunday, there was a lot more push back from the Avalon East Senior Hockey League champs in the rematch.

“I think we gave them a little too much respect in last night’s game,” suggested Bobby Squires, who, after being a healthy scratch in Game 1, found his way into the St. John’s lineup Sunday and delivered a pair of goals.

“Today, we started off a little better skating with them, trying to get into the game early on.”

The Caps came out hard and fast in Game 2, playing a physical brand of hockey that was sorely lacking in Game 1.

“At first, it seemed like it was working fine and (the Cataracts) were kind of out of sorts for a little bit and just going with two lines,” said St. John’s captain Mike Druken.

Unfortunately for St. John’s, the Cataracts responded in kind and started to pull away near the midway point of the second.

“We got a bad call, I think, and they scored on the power play, and then they scored again,” recounted Druken. “When it was 4-2, it was hard to come back, especially against a team with a lot of depth like that.”

The Cataracts weren’t surprised with the better effort from the Caps on Sunday.

“They have some quality players over there. They’ve got guys who work hard and finish their checks,” said Grand Falls-Windsor defenceman Luke Gallant. “We expected them to rebound and we expect an even better game out of them Friday (in Game 3 in Torbay).”

As for the Central West Senior Hockey League champions, Gallant believes the Cataracts brought a more complete 60-minute effort on Sunday.

“We've got some things to work on, and Friday will be a good test because, obviously, we've got a big weekend coming up after that,” said Gallant, referring to the Atlantic region best-of-three Allan Cup playdowns against New Brunswick’s Lamèque Au P'tit Mousse set for Grand Falls-Windsor in early April.

“We're trying to focus on the Herder, but at the same time, we can't get any bad habits right now. Today, it was closer than what the scoreboard did say at the end of the game, (but) I think today brought a lot of good habits back into our game in comparison to last night.”

Unlike Game 1, where just four penalties were called and no power-play goals were scored, Game 2 saw a bevy of calls, resulting in four man-advantage markers — three for the Cataracts. There were also two shorthanded tallies — one by each team.

“(All the penalties) take away your momentum and flow. It broke us up,” says Cataracts’ coach Tom Coolen. “Our penalty killers had to be overplayed. It cuts into your game and played into their hands, for sure. Hopefully that's something we can avoid on Friday.”

Puck drop in Game 3 on Good Friday is 7:30 p.m. at Jack Byrne Arena. Games 4 and 5, if necessary, will also be played in Torbay on Saturday (7:30 p.m.) and Easter Sunday (1:30 p.m.).

Twitter: @telykenn



Organizations: Avalon East Senior Hockey League, Central West Senior Hockey League

Geographic location: Torbay, Grand Falls, Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium Atlantic New Brunswick

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Recent comments

  • Stadium Fries
    March 23, 2016 - 14:46

    Come on there Black and White. The current Central West league has made changes to the name of the league only because of the teams that it is representing. It became a provincial league when the Cee Bees and Blades decided to join in. It is not Central West problem that the people of St. John's and area have little interest in their provincial senior hockey when they can avail of the AHL, even though there is very little certainty in that league as well when it comes to St. John's. At least in the Central West league we never refused a team to play in the league when requested. Further the players you mentioned that returned to the east were mostly 4th liners in the Central West league and now show up as scoring leaders in the Avalon East league. That shows you just how much better the Central West league is. Why would you crap on a player deciding to play in the Central West league if he can indeed make a few dollars and having said that I would not take any issue with any player who decided to stay close to home especially if they have a young family. That decision is completely the players decision.

  • Madness
    March 23, 2016 - 06:07

    You guys realize the cataracts only have Two imports correct? I am a fan of both leagues and senior hockey in general. GFW has a very good ratio of central players and have done a great job of recruiting. Don't blame the players for taking money they are offered. I'd also look at the books and practices of Aeshl teams cause I know some of those guys are getting perks as well. It's just covered up better. stuff in west started getting outta control when the caribous decided to attend Allan cup. Yet they are now the ones complaining about the cats and royals because they have not won anything in a few years

  • dale
    March 22, 2016 - 12:24

    Go Cats Go! Let's lock up another Herder in 3. Save the AESHL of embarrassing themselves any longer.

  • Wayne Lynch
    March 22, 2016 - 12:03

    As long as there is ICECAPS St. John's will not be competitive in Senior Hockey as fans flock to the Caps and not to the empty arena for most part of the AESHL.

  • stephen
    March 22, 2016 - 09:32

    The Cats have an excellent team yes. and they have beaten teams in the west by similar score lines but I think its more important to at the games more critically then just the score line. In both games the Caps were completely out classed by the Cats in all aspects of the game (possession, scoring opportunities, shots on goal) and as far as many are concerned had difficulty getting out of their own zone. They also did this while basically going through the motions and managing the ice time for their best players. In fact their fourth line featured two veteran defenseman playing the wings. And that line still was able to pin the Caps better players in their defensive zone. This Herder has no credibility. This by no means was "entertaining" hockey or done for the good of the game its not used to satisfy peoples own political agendas. While the AESHL might be promoted as a "good brand of hockey" for those who have interests invested in the league it is not close to and likely will never be able to compete with the CWSHL again. Unless of course HNL and the AESHL get its wishes to down grade the CWSHL rather then letting it progress.

    • Short Term Memory Loss
      March 22, 2016 - 14:31

      Seems you have forgotten that the years 1990-2008 that only 4 teams from the central/west league won the herder. Did you watch hockey then? Did teams out east say that the west league that have interests invested that they likely never would be able to compete? Get a handle on things for the love of god. And you are right the herder doesn't have credibility. When a league that pays its players ludicrous amounts of money, plays against a league that pays nobody, how can they compete? Let me guess, they don't pay high amounts. I have friends that have had trips all over the world given to them by teams, sheds built on teams dimes etc. When players end up owing CRA $10,000 in back taxes because teams didn't pay them properly, do that math. It may satisfy your agenda that you have a 4 team league that has a regular season that means nothing, other than a quick pay check for its players, but you have to look in the mirror. Your 4 team league will soon be bankrupt. When Grand Falls travels to play New Brunswick, then heads to the allan cup, nothing short of 100,000 people coming out to the salmon festival to watch the Stampeders and Trooper will save them from bankruptcy. Ask Clarenville how many imports they want to fly in next year and who's going to pay for them.

    • madness
      March 23, 2016 - 06:17

      Short Term Memory Loss the cataracts and salmon festival have nothing to do with each other. You have no idea what that region does to support the team and have massive volunteer group working year round to ensure viability of team. Bankrupt they will not be. The series with NB is in grand falls guaranteeing them two sold out rinks and profits in the $25000 a game range. Add that to the two herder games and you got $100000 in the bank in two weekends. If you don't know what your talking about don't speak. The coach they fly in actually played in gfw back in 80's and has nhl coaching experience. The team is trying to make themselves the best they can, is that a crime. They only have two imports less then any other team. They also have the same amount of imports as the caps ( fewer brothers are from NB I believe) so what ya say now

  • Allan
    March 21, 2016 - 21:54

    Well said Steve, the AESHL is growing in teams and talent...great brand of hockey that has quality players playing for their home town teams.

  • dale
    March 21, 2016 - 08:57

    Regardless what Squires and Druken said, the Caps were clearly outmatched 11-3 over two games. The Cataracts are a much better team and it showed. Sure the Caps went up 2-1 but that quickly evaporated. No matter how you look at it, face the facts, the AESHL is a major step below the Central-West league. Good thing they have 5 pick ups.

    • Kyle
      March 21, 2016 - 14:36

      It was 13-3 Dale...

    • steve marshall
      March 21, 2016 - 14:45

      yes Dale, the total score was as you stated however I have followed the Central-West League all year and there were many games where the Cats beat the other teams by scores much higher than 6-0 and 7-3. There is no doubt that the C-W teams are deeper given the process by which they fill out their rosters but I give full credit to the Caps for their efforts in this series. If an East team was built to compete in the West (like the Ceebees a few years ago when they won the Herder (beating the Cats and the Caribous in the process) I don't think you would see a difference at all come Herder time. The East League is an excellent brand of honest hard hitting hockey and the League is entering its 50th season (without interruption) so there's lots to be proud of East of Clarenville for sure. Here's to more entertaining hockey this weekend at Jack Byrne Arena....

    • yup
      March 22, 2016 - 07:41

      A rec. league of locals can't compete with a paid league of imports.

    • Black and White
      March 22, 2016 - 10:51

      It's only a matter of time Dale before the, whats it called now, The Central West League? Was the Provincial League, then before that the West Coast League.......and on and on and on. What will they call it next year? Doesn't matter, it won't be long before there will be no league, again. Why? Because when you pay a 3rd line local player $300/game you can't continue. Add in the empty seats all 4 west teams saw this year at home games and pretty soon you'll have just your 4-500 die hards in the seats complaining to one another about how there isn't enough imports. Go figure. Not to mention how many volunteers are starting to throw in the towel. There is only so many times you can stick your hand out begging to the same people year after year before they finally say, "I just can't do it this year." Fans have grown accustomed to the high flying imports mixed in with a couple locals and 8-10 players per team from the St. John's area. It is only a matter of time before those players, which some already did this year - (Mark Tobin, Tyler Gale, Andrew White, Chris Sparkes, Sean Wadden, Mark Roebothan, Robert Slaney, Fred Earle, Jeremy Kavanagh).....start to come east to start families and end travelling out over the road for home games. Sure the Cats fly in a coach every weekend? We all saw what that did to the Ceebees when they too flew a coach in every weekend. Are you telling me there isn't a coach in newfoundland to coach a senior hockey team in Grand Falls? Seriously? In speaking to former Cataract players last weekend at the Joe Byrne they were appalled at the fact that they weren't asked to coach, instead choosing to fly in a coach. But yet the Cats brass had nerve to come and ask them to help out with sponsorhip money, which in turns helps pay for flights for the the long run, that's ludicrous. There's a lot to be said about being home to tuck your child every weekend, as opposed to skyping or facetiming them from a hotel room in central.