Bourque still has the magic
Bruins Alumni defeat Ceebees in entertaining affair at Harbour Grace
Last year, the Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars were accused of playing too hard against the Montreal Canadiens Alumni. This year, playing against a team of former Boston Bruins players in Harbour Grace on Oct. 16, it took a few words from a hall of famer to get the CeeBees to play with some attitude.
During the first intermission, 19-time NHL all-star defenceman Ray Bourque, not liking what he saw out of the CeeBees during the first frame, skated alone across the ice surface to the CeeBees’ dressing room. His message? Play harder. “He gave the boys a blast, and said, ‘c’mon boys, you gotta try harder than that,’” CeeBees coach Steve Power said after the game.
Early into the game, it seemed the CeeBees would have an easy time with the Bruins, similar to the team’s 7-3 win over the Canadiens’ Alumni last year.
CeeBees forward Ray Dalton opened the scoring by finishing a pass from Shane Gamberg, putting the home team up 1-0 only seconds into the first period.
But the Bruins responded in fine fashion, led by Bourque, who won a Stanley Cup in hisi final NHL season (2001) while playing for the Colorado Avalanche.
Bourque tied the contest a minute later when he banged in his own rebound past CeeBees tender Freddy Diamond. It was his first of four goals on the afternoon.
Early into the second, the Bruins had pushed the score to 4-1, with Bourque netting a natural hat trick, and Ed Goff also finding the back of the net. Goff is a Carbonear town councillor and longtime fan of the Bruins. He was one
of four local players — Jeff Oates, Paul O’Leary and Chris Crosbie — to suit up with the Bruins.
The CeeBees picked up the intensity later in the second,scoring four times over the last 15 minutes on goals from Brad Sheppard, Chris Sparkes, Mitch Flynn and Dalton to make the score 5-4 in favour of the home team.
But once again, the Bruins stormed back, scoring five times in the final stanza to cap off a 9-6 victory. Goals came from former Bruins’ captain Rick Middleton, Mike Krushelynski, goalie-turnedforward Reggie Lemelin, Mike Sweeney and a fourth by Bourque.
Shane Gamberg scored the only CeeBees tally in the third frame.
Bruins announcer John Horrigan said, “ We knew this was going to be the toughest game of the tour,” which saw the team travel to Lewisporte, Bonavista, Deer Lake, Mount Pearl, Torbay and Harbour Grace.
The Bruins finished the tour with six wins.
Former Bruins’ captain Terry O’Reilly said he thought the CeeBees were holding back in the first period.
“ They picked up the pace a little bit, but we got Ray Bourque back on the blue-line and he can turn on the jets whenever he wants,” O’Reilly said. “It’s a nice little bonus for us.”
O’Reilly said the game was the most competitive game on the tour.
“It was our second game in two nights, and I had nothing left in the tank,” he said.
When asked how it felt beating the CeeBees, where the Canadiens failed to do so a year earlier — the CeeBees won 7-3 — O’Reilly said the Canadiens did not have as deep a line-up as the team from Boston.
“ We had more NHL players, and we had Ray Bourque.”
Town, CeeBees to share losses
Between 500 to 600 people paid to see the event, which was less than anticipated.
The town took a “small loss,” confirmed Harbour Grace Mayor Don Coombs. He said the town and the CeeBees senior team will share the cost of the shortfall.
Coombs said the town will entertain similar events in the future, but acknowledged,” We have to look at why it didn’t work. Why the fans didn’t come out.”