Dal­ton smooth skater for CeeBees

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON

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.

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