The Grand-Falls Windsor Cataracts have led the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League (NLSHL) throughout this season, but if there is a team that’s proved to be trouble for the Cats recently, it’s the Western Royals.
Mark Robinson’s goal with less than three minutes remaining in the game proved to be the winner as the Royals downed the first-place Cataracts 5-3 in Newfoundland Senior Hockey League action Saturday night in Deer Lake.
Two of the three losses suffered by Grand Falls-Windsor this season have come at the hands of the Royals and both have come in the last two meetings betwen the teams. (Mount Pearl had the other win over the Cataracts).
Robinson’s goal was the first of three in the late going. Twenty-nine seconds after the Royals veteran had put his team up 4-2, Cam Fergus scored for the Cats. But after Grand Falls pulled goalie A.J. Whiffen for an extra attacker, the Royals’ Michael Hynes had an empty-netter to finish the scoring.
Justin Barbour, with two, and Mathieu Berube had first-period goals for Western, while Kyle McGuirk and Andre Gill also scored for the Cataracts, who trailed 3-1 after the opening frame and by the same margin after a goal-less middle frame.
The game was the first for Grand-Falls-Windsor in four weeks, owing to the league's Christmas break and the cancellation of last weekend's games against Clarenville because of a winter storm.
Whiffen faced 34 shots, while Bryan Gillis dealt with 35 at the Royals’ end of the ice.
The game was the first of a home-and-home series. The teams play 2 p.m. today in Grand Falls.
Eastlink CeeBee Stars 6, Flyers 1
At Harbour Grace, Ben Duffy scored twice and added an assist in his first NLSHL game as CeeBees downed visiting Gander.
Duffy, a former QMJHL star with the P.E.I. Rocket, was one of a number of new faces in the CeeBees’ lineup, joining fellow import forward and former Flyer Matt Quinn — who also scored Saturday — and goaltender Kennedy, the latter acquired in a trade this week with the Clarenville Caribous, with Chad Earle going the other way.
Ray Dalton, Colin Feehan and Matt Bragg also scored for the winners Saturday, while Steve Brazil was the only Flyer to beat Kennedy.
Before being signed by the CeeBees, Duffy, a 21-year-old from Halifax, had been in the pro ranks this season, splitting time between the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs and ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers. As a junior, he had been a teammate of the CeeBees’ Jordan Escott with the Rocket (now Charlottetown Islanders), for whom Duffy registered 341 points in 266 career games, including a franchise-record 110 points last season.
In corresponding moves, the team released forward Nick Theriault and goaltender Joey Perricone, both imports.
The Flyers and CeeBees meet again in Harbour Grace this afternoon (1:30 p.m.)
Caribous 6, H.J. Bartlett Electric Blades 3
At Clarenville, Ryan Desrosiers scored twice for the Caribous, who built up a 4-1 lead on Mount Pearl after the first period.
The win came on the night the Caribous honoured former Clarenville captain Les Stanley with the retirement of his jersey. The teams square off again today in Clarenville (1:30 p.m.).
Team GP W L OL GF GA Pts
Grand Falls-Windsor 15 12 3 0 73 42 24
Clarenville 15 9 3 3 73 50 21
Western 16 8 6 2 65 64 18
Mount Pearl 15 8 7 0 58 68 16
CeeBees 15 5 9 1 51 76 11
Gander 16 4 9 3 55 78 11
At the Hodder Memorial Complex, Deer Lake
Western 5, Grand Falls-Windsor 3
At the Clarenville Events Centre
Clarenvile 6, Mount Pearl 3
At S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium, Harbour Grace
CeeBees 6, Gander 1
CeeBees vs Gander @ S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium, 1:30 p.m
Clarenville vs Mount Pearl @ The Clarenville Events Centre, 1:30 p.m.
Western vs Grand Falls-Windsor @ Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium, 2 p.m.