A dou­ble dose of De­laney

Roaches’ Line broth­ers com­bin­ing for a lethal com­bi­na­tion

The Compass - - PORTHTE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

Broth­ers Keith and Ryan De­laney have been play­ing some of their best hockey dur­ing the early part of the 2011-12 New­found­land Se­nior Hockey League Sea­son.

Head­ing into ac­tion this past week­end, Keith was sit­ting in a tie atop the points race with 17 points ( four goals and 13 as­sists), while Ryan was tied for fifth with 11 points (three goals and eight as­sists).

What’s the se­cret to their early sea­son suc­cess? Was it some­thing they did in the off- sea­son? Not ac­cord­ing to Keith.

“I haven’t changed any­thing,” Keith told The Com­pass last week.

Keith has been do­ing the same rou­tine since he left the prov­ince to play hockey in On­tario at the ten­der age of 15.

What has changed is the league they are play­ing in. For the first time in many years, there’s now a provin­cial se­nior hockey league, and the cal­i­bre of play is at the high­est it’s been in some time. That seems to be bring­ing out the best in the De­laney boys.

“I don’t know if it was wa­tered down last year, but it seems to have el­e­vated his game and my game,” Keith said.

Ryan, 28, said he “re­ally en­joys the close com­pet­i­tive games.”

“I find, my­self, I fin­ish bet­ter in a tight com­pet­i­tive game rather than a low tempo recre­ational game,” he said.

Keith, 32, echoed the same sen­ti­ment.

“I don’t even re­ally, en­joy play­ing a game of shinny that much any­more,” he said.

Keith is at the point in his ca­reer where the com­pet­i­tive­ness is what drives him to put on the gear ev­ery night.

He said he en­joys the com­pet­i­tive part of it and plans to play com­pet­i­tive hockey for as long as he can.

“I re­ally en­joy the com­pet­i­tive na­ture of the new league and I like to think it brings the best out of me,” said Keith.

Cee­bees’ as­sis­tant coach Peter Ge­orge said the play of the two broth­ers has been “in­cred­i­ble.”

“They are just feed­ing off each other’s hard work day in and day out,” he said.

Ge­orge said the broth­ers have stepped up their game this year, cit­ing a tough loss in last sea­son’s Herder Me­mo­rial Tro­phy fi­nal as one of the rea­sons be­hind their dom­i­nat­ing play in the new league. Game rec­og­nizes game If they were play­ing on dif­fer­ent lines, each De­laney would be a hand­ful for any team in the league to han­dle, but they don’t.

Both play on the same line — Keith at cen­tre and Ryan play­ing the right side.

This sea­son, the com­bi­na­tion has been dy­na­mite in the of­fen­sive end of the ice.

“This has been one of our best years,” said Ryan. “We’ve re­ally come to­gether.”

There have been ro­tat­ing wingers on the left side, with Sean Wad­den and Mor­gan War­ren tak­ing up the po­si­tion at dif­fer­ent times.

A big part of their suc­cess as line­mates re­volves around their com­ple­men­tary, yet com­pletely dif­fer­ent games.

Keith de­scribes Ryan as “more of a crasher and a banger.”

“He likes to get dirty in the cor­ners and bat­tle for the puck,” he said.

Keith said he has com­plete con­fi­dence that once the puck is dumped into the op­pos­ing team’s zone, Ryan will be the player com­ing out with the puck.

Keith De­laney

Ryan De­laney

Ryan sees Keith’s game as the op­po­site of his.

“Keith has the abil­ity to carry the puck through the neu­tral zone, pretty much when­ever he wants,” he said.

Keith is more of open ice player, while Ryan likes to play along the boards.

Some ob­servers say the De­laney boys have el­e­vated their play to a level not seen in the years they’ve played se­nior hockey in the prov­ince. Blood­lines For Keith, the way the two have been con­nect­ing on the ice has noth­ing to do with the blood­lines shared be­tween them.

“I don’t see it in that re­spect,” he said.

They play two dif­fer­ent styles of game, noted Keith.

“Fam­ily or not, when you cre­ate a line, I think it is like a puz­zle and ev­ery­one brings a dif­fer­ent piece to make it fit,” he said. “What we bring to the ta­ble is a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent and we com­ple­ment each other.”

Ryan and Keith have won two Herder Me­mo­rial ti­tles to­gether.

“It is great when you can share it with your brother,” said Ryan. “It is some­thing nice to look back on.”

Keith (left) and Ryan De­laney cel­e­brate a goal by Keith dur­ing New­found­land Se­nior League Hockey ac­tion this sea­son.

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