It was a busy weekend for the Conception Bay CeeBees Stars and the Clarenville Caribous as they continued their battle for the Herder.
The battle for the Telegram Herder Memorial Trophy between the Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars and the Clarenville Caribous continued over the weekend at Mile One Stadium in St. John’s.
The results of Saturday’s (game 4) and Sunday’s (game 5) were unavailable to The Compass in time for our editorial deadline.
The third match played Good Friday night saw Clarenville move into a two games to one lead in the series.
More than 6,000 fans - roughly the equivalent of any fair-sized town in Newfoundland and Labrador filled Mile One for the senior hockey finale. All three weekend matches were sold out as fans poured into the city from Conception, Trinity and Bonavista Bays to cheer on their home teams.
In a match that started off slowly, each team went goal for goal, never managing to secure any more than one goal leads throughout the game.
Chris Mooney scored his second game-winning goal in the series late in the third period to give the Clarenville Caribous a 5-4 win and their two games to one lead in the series.
Clarenville opened the storing at 2:41 of the first period with a goal by Travis Chapman.
Just 33 seconds later, CeeBees Captain Matthew Thomey
Evened the score at 3:14 to tie the game 1-1.
Darrin Colbourne scored at 16:53 to put the Caribous ahead 2-1.
With just a minute and 20 seconds remaining in the first, CeeBees’ Mark Tobin responded at 18:34 to tie the match 2-2.
CeeBees’ Paul Brown opened the scoring in the second frame on a penalty shot to move his team ahead of the Caribous for the first time in the game. But the 3-2 lead would be short lived as Ryan Penney scored for Clarenville at 10:07 to tie the game again.
Derek Kent scored for the Caribous with only 10 second on the clock in the period to move the Caribous ahead 4-3.
Matthew Thomey proved the game wasn’t over when he put his team back on the scoreboard again with his second goal at 13:51 of the third period.
Many fans expected it would take overtime to settle the match until Chris Mooney’s game-winning marker at 16:18 of the third frame to clinch the win for the Caribous.
CeeBees tie series in second game
Less than 24 hours after losing a duel with his Clarenville Caribou’ counterpart Jason Churchill, Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars’ goalie Freddy Diamond stole the spotlight in Game 2 of The Telegram Herder Memorial Trophy Championship Series Sunday March 28.
The veteran keeper stopped 41 shots - 25 in the second period alone - as the CeeBees bounced back with a 4-1 win at the Clarenville Events Centre, knotting the best-of-seven provincial senior hockey final at 1-1.
The West Coast Senior Hockey League champion Caribous won 4-2 Saturday, March 27 as the two teams began a reprise of last year’s Herder final, which saw Clarenville defeat C.B.N. in five games.
The series moved to Mile One Centre in St. John’s over the weekend, where the Avalon East champion CeeBees were the home team in all three games Friday, April 2 Saturday, April 3 and Sunday, April 4.
“ We were pretty frustrated with the way last season ended, especially Freddy. He felt he could have played better in the Herder,” CeeBees’ forward Chris Sparkes said.
“ You could see from the first practice we had this year that Freddy Diamond was focused on coming back to the Herder and taking us to the end of the road. We’ve got him back and it’s time for him to take over. “I think he’s going to do that.” Clarenville head coach Randy Pearcey couldn’t help but be impressed with Diamond’s play Sunday, March 28 especially after the Caribous got on the scoreboard with a goal early in the middle frame.
“ We walked all over them for 10 minutes, but he barred the door,” said Pearcey.
Diamond’s play was part of what appears to be a marked improvement in the CeeBees’ play in this year’s final. That includes the ability to keep pace with a quick Caribous team.
“ We lost 11 bodies from last year, a lot of the older guys,” explained C.B.N. blueliner Mike Dyke.
“But with the depth of the team last year, we had a lot of guys willing to step in there this season. We have a lot of young legs and on the big ice especially, that shows. “ We’re all in great shape.” Pearcey gives the CeeBees full credit for limiting the Caribous’ ability to generate offence in the second game March 28.
“ They forechecked us to death and played a little trap in the neutral zone,” he said. “ We had way too much difficulty getting the puck out of our zone.”
Down the stretch and holding on to a two-goal lead, the CeeBees were able to generate a number of oddman rushes, a by-product of the Caribous trying too hard to generate offence while sacrificing defence, according to Pearcey.
A gruelling first period saw both teams heavily penalized, meaning that for much of the opening 20 minutes, one side or another was either working the power play or penalty kill - with a few instances of four-on-three play and several minutes of four-on-four action scattered throughout.
All that special teams play took a toll on some of the Caribous’ top players, said Pearcey.
“If you log too much ice time early in the game, it’ll come back to bite you in the ass late in the game,” he said.
“ You want to get everyone on your bench into the game. The same guys we use on the PP, we use on the PK. You don’t want to burn them out halfway through the first period.”
The CeeBees’ David Duffett opened the scoring, finishing off a Paul Brown rebound. Steve Greeley made it 2-0 with one minute remaining in the opening frame.
The Caribous got their lone goal a couple of minutes into the second when Grant Kenny’s wrister from the hash marks to the right of Diamond found its way into the net.
Near the midway point of the period, Daniel Sparkes restored the CeeBees’ two-goal lead with a shot from the boards, that seemed to surprise Churchill, the all-star goalie and West Coast league’s MVP.
After applying pressure to start the third, Sparkes got the CeeBees’ fourth marker.
“After the loss (March 27) we had one thing on our mind and that was to get the split,” Dyke said following the game.
“ We feel we played well enough to have two games this weekend, but we’re definitely OK with the split and going to our home ice at Mile One.”
Clarenville 4, C.B.N. 2 (Saturday March 27)
At Clarenville, Chris Mooney scored twice and Churchill turned aside 36 shots to lead the Caribous to a Game 1 win.
Import Ryan Lauzon scored once and set up another for the Caribous. Blueliner Fred Earle had the other goal for the home side.
For the CeeBees, Mark Tobin and Matthew Thomey each had a goal and a helper. Chris Sparkes assisted on both C.B.N. goals.
Diamond turned aside 26 shots in the loss.
The game turned ugly with five minutes to play resulting in a handful of penalties to both sides and a pair of fights, including a bout between heavyweights Graham Jackman from C.B.N. and Clarenville’s Richard Paul, after which fans littered the ice with a hundred or more “Go Caribous Go” signs.
Pearcey commented on the end of the opening game following Game 2.
“ When they got behind a couple of goals and saw they couldn’t do anything about it, there were some hacks and whacks that weren’t necessary,” he said of slashes on Lauzon and Andrew Pearcey.
“If I’ve got five minutes left in the game and I’m down by two, I’m still thinking I can come back. They (the CeeBees) didn’t do that and instead targeted certain players.”