Brophy hopes to continue his strong play as CeeBees chase another Herder
After Game 2 of the Avalon East Senior Hockey League final, things were looking grim for the Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars.
The team was down two games to the Mount Pearl Blades, leaving CeeBee Stars fans to wonder whether a seventh-straight trip to the Herder final was even possible.
There are a number of factors that contributed to the eventual 42 series win for the CeeBees, but perhaps the most important one stems from a series of line changes that eventually led to Scott Brophy centring veteran wingers Chris Bartlett and Chris Crosbie.
Assigned the tough task of shutting down the Blades’ top line of Mark Chaplin, Grant Kenny and Andrew Pearcey, the CeeBee trio proved more than up to the task. For the rest of the series, those Blades players were unable to put up even-strength points, and with those players neutralized, Conception Bay North was well on its way to the Herder final. They also chipped in offensively, with Bartlett and Brophy providing the game-winning goals in Games 3 and 4, respectively.
It’s a first-time trip to the Herder for Brophy, who was also third in playoff scoring for the Avalon league with 14 points in 11 games. The pride of Mobile is playing his first year of senior hockey after a combined seven seasons playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and at St. Mary’s University.
“ You try to draw on other biggame experiences, but this is my first Herder, so I’m asking questions to some of the more experienced guys who’ve been there before, like the Bartletts and Crosbies.”
After almost five months playing the same three teams in the Avalon league, Brophy and the CeeBees are in for a whole new experience against a Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts team they haven’t faced all year.
“It’s really odd,” says Brophy, who is at least familiar with Cataracts forward Wes Welcher from their days together with the St. John’s Fog Devils. “For the most part, a lot of us throughout minor hockey have played against them or with them, one way or another.”
Brophy expects his line with the two Chrises will once again be counted on to keep the Cataract’s top players off the scoresheet. Ahead of Games 1 and 2, it was anticipated they could face any combination of top forwards Chad Earle and Welcher joined by Matt Quinn, Tyler Whitehead, Brandon Nicholas, or Dave Philpott. It was uncertain whether winger Andrew Brennan, who usually plays on the top line with Earle and Welcher, would dress for the Cataracts. He was rumoured to be nursing a torn leg muscle.
“From what I’ve heard, they have a pretty balanced attack with three solid lines that can hurt you.”
No matter the results of Games 1 and 2, either team will still have a chance to take the series, as the CeeBee Stars showed in its last series after falling behind 2-0.
“Mind you, I wouldn’t want to be put in that position again,” laughs Brophy.
If his line continues to play like it did in the final four games of the Mount Pearl series, the Cataracts will be in for some tough shifts. Some observers may have been surprised the Blades did not shake-up its top-line to give more balance to its offence, but Brophy says Chaplin, Kenny and Pearcey all had their moments.
“ We did a decent job shutting them down, but at the same time, they had their chances too, and ( goalie) Freddy (Diamond) was there. It wasn’t like they were out there doing absolutely nothing.”
The road to the CeeBees was more-or-less put in place in 2006 once Brophy completed his lone campaign with the Fog Devils as an overage junior player. There was interest from teams in the East Coast Hockey League, but Brophy was keen not to lose the scholarship money attached to his QMJHL years. Were he to turn pro, that money would have disappeared.
“I was pretty much satisfied as far as trying to make a hockey career out of it goes,” says Brophy. “I knew when I got to university I was going to try and come home and get settled.”
Brophy majored in finance at St. Mary’s and now works as a policy analyst with the Department of Health and Community Services. He is pleased with where his education has taken him, though he intends to one day obtain a Masters of Business Administration.
As for the hockey, he’s more than happy with how that has worked out.
“It’s funny, because a lot of the guys that I’m playing with, I’ve played with growing up or against. In a lot of cases, they’re the guys from Harbour Grace ( like Matthew Thomey, Daniel Sparkes, and Tom Snow). To get home and be in the same atmosphere and dressing room as these guys, it’s been a really fun year. We’ve got a really close group in there, which makes coming to the rink fun.”
CeeBee Stars centreman Scott Brophy will play an important checking role against the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts’ top offensive threats during the 2011 Herder Memorial Championship series. The series resumes in Grand Falls-Windsor this Friday.