Good Friday turned into a great Friday for the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts.
The Cataracts collected a third straight Herder Memorial Trophy provincial senior championship Friday night, routing the St. John’s Toyota Plaza Caps 10-1 at Jack Byrne Arena in Torbay in Game 3 of the best-of-five affair.
Grand Falls began the series sweep by winning the first two games on home ice last weekend, downing St. John’s 6-0 in the series opener, then 7-3 in Game 2.
Cats in control
On Friday, Rodi Short led the Cataracts with four goals, fellow defenceman and series MVP Luke Gallant potted a pair, and A.J. Whiffen was solid in net, stopping 38 of 39 shots faced.
Despite the goal-scoring bonanza, it was he Caps who opened the scoring five minutes into the game on a power play. With the Cats’ Greg Hoffe sitting two for tripping, Jeremy Nicholas, a pickup from the Southern Shore Breakers, bested Whiffen.
St. John’s only lead of the game lasted seven minutes until the Cataracts’ drew even on the first of Short’s markers, a clapper from the faceoff circle to the left of Caps’ netminder Kyle Downer.
Not long after that, Short, from almost the same spot, wristed a laser beam of a shot past Downer to give the Cataracts the lead that they never surrendered.
A minute later, Hoffe took a pass in the slot and made no mistake, beating Downer.
Before the first period expired, Steve Yetman staked the Cataracts to a 4-1 lead.
After a sleepy opening 10 minutes of the second period, during which Grand Falls-Windsor fired 12 shots on net, Short completed his hat trick with another bomb that beat a well-screened Downer blocker side.
Short picked up his fourth tally a few minutes later with the Cataracts on the power play, taking a nifty feed from Steve Yetman and beating Downer from nearly the same spot as his first two markers and sending the Cataracts into the second intermission with a comfortable 6-1 lead.
Luke Gallant potted back-to-back goals minutes apart in the early stages of the third.
Kyle McGuirk made it 9-1 on a two-on-one, firing it over Downer on the short side and Danny Wicks put the final nail in the coffin late in the frame, taking a one-timer pass from Cam Fergus shelving it over the Caps’ goalie.
Downer faced finished with 37 saves on 47 shots against.
The Cataracts’ season is not over. They are back at it next weekend when they play host to New Brunswick’s Lamèque Au P'tit Mousse in a best-of-three playdown for the 2016 Allan Cup national senior men’s hockey championship.
Games are Friday, Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday at the Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium in Grand Falls-Windsor.
The Herder Memorial Championships are presented by The Telegram.