Dalton smooth skater for CeeBees
Through the month of November, it was hard to miss the plethora of moustaches gracing the upper lips of males young and old. Members of the Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars have been no exception, with multiple players participating in what’s known as Movember, an effort to raise funds for prostate cancer research.
Speaking after his team’s 9-4 homeice win Nov. 20 against the Bell Island Blues, Ray Dalton gave his take on the various moustaches in his dressing room. He says bruiser Mike Druken has crafted the best one of the bunch.
Meanwhile, CeeBees captain Matthew Thomey seems to be keeping in step with his youthful visage.
“ Thomey’s got a little baby-face there, so I don’t think he is going to have much of a chance to get one,” laughs Dalton.
Dalton himself was sporting a pretty good ‘stache on the Saturday night in question, and it didn’t seem to impede his hockey skills. He put on an offensive showcase against the Blues, snapping two shots for goals past netminder Mark Yetman and drawing a pair of assists on goals by Paul Brown and Sean Wadden.
Brown finished the night with one goal and three assists, while Wadden added a pair of assists to go with his goal, and Chris Bartlett scored a pair and assisted on another. Scott Brophy, Ryan Delaney, and Steven Greeley scored the remaining goals for the CeeBees.
This effort gave Dalton the team lead in goals and points after seven games of Avalon East Senior Hockey League play. His eight goals and 14 points should hardly come as a surprise to fans that saw the skilled winger play last season with the nowdefunct Southern Shore Breakers. He finished third in league scoring behind Thomey and fellow CeeBee Chris Sparkes with 24 goals in as many games played and 43 points.
“I think I’m fitting in well here,” says Dalton, who prior to joining the Breakers spent eight years playing with the Deer Lake Red Wings in the West Coast Senior Hockey League.
“ I knew a lot of the boys before I came here, so I didn’t expect it to be too hard of a transition. Things are even going a bit better than I thought they would go.”
His play is certainly aided by linemates Keith Delaney and Wadden. Delaney leads the CeeBees in assists with nine, with three coming in the game against Bell Island. Many of Delaney’s assists have come on goals by Dalton.
“ Delaney is probably one of the most talented guys ever to play senior hockey,” says Dalton, a native of Harbour Main. “Sean Wadden is just a natural goal scorer, so it’s not hard to play with those guys at all.”
The fact he gets to suit-up for the CeeBees at all stems from the surprise announcement in September that the Breakers would not be back this year. The CeeBees selected Dalton in a dispersal draft.
“I was very surprised,” says Dalton of the Breakers’ decision to fold. “ We were one goal away from going to the Herder ( final) last year, and thought we were going to be stronger this year.”
But the move to the CeeBees appears to be mutually beneficial. The team had won its last five games heading into an important Nov. 26 date with the Mount Pearl Blades, who were undefeated through seven games.
Dalton says the team’s intensity is not yet where it should be, and the addition of so many new players means it needed to find a way to gel together.
“ We’re making a few little mistakes on the blueline, but overall, I think we’re going to come together when it counts,” he says. “Our main goal is to win a Herder, and anything else would be a failure.”
Assistant coach Eddie Bartlett says the team still has to work on minimizing turnovers in the CeeBees’ defensive zone, which was made appare n t i n t he more sloppy moments of the Nov. 20 contest. Despite being a winless team with fewer big names in the line-up, the Blues still managed to pepper CeeBees goalie Fred Diamond with 41 shots.
“ We had a few turnovers there, and they jumped on them pretty quick ... we’ve got to tighten up in our own zone, tighten up defensively and not give up those odd-man rushes.”
Doing so may become more of a challenge with the loss of veteran defenceman Matthew French, who has left the team due to work and family commitments.