Ceebee Stars be­gin home por­tion of play­off se­ries

The Compass - - PORTHTE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

It is of­ten said builds char­ac­ter.

If this sea­son is any in­di­ca­tion, the CeeBee Stars will en­ter the play­offs with char­ac­ter in spades.

From two sep­a­rate pro­longed los­ing skids, to hav­ing to play the top ranked Grand Falls-Wind­sor Cataracts with­out the ser­vices of its head coach — Corey Crocker — who was sud­denly let go on Feb. 11, the CeeBees have gone through enough ad­ver­sity than mul­ti­ple fran­chises would be able to en­dure.

But, as the team gets set to wel­come the Cataracts to the S.W. Moores Me­mo­rial Sta­dium in Har­bour Grace for Games 3 and 4 this week­end, that is all in the past.

“Now’s the time to move for­ward,” said cap­tain Keith De­laney.

With a record of 20 wins, three losses and one over­time loss, the Cataracts record speaks for it­self.

“We don’t think that record is by fluke. They’re a good team,” said De­laney. “But, at the same time we look at our record … we think we’re bet­ter than our record.”

Although the Cataracts won the sea­son se­ries 5-1, the CeeBees headed into the se­ries’ first two games (re­sults un­avail­able) with an en­hanced sense of con­fi­dence af­ter the team bested the Cats in the fi­nal meet­ing be­tween the two with a 6-5 shootout win.

Com­bine this with the play­of­f­clinch­ing 5-3 vic­tory over the Gan-

that ad­ver­sity der Fly­ers, which saw the CeeBees dom­i­nate at both ends of the ice, and the team is rolling at the right moment.

“The whole team is feel­ing pretty good,” said De­laney.

Like any team trav­el­ling to open a play­off se­ries, the cap­tain said his team was “fo­cus­ing on one game at a time” and will carry that same men­tal­ity into Har­bour Grace this week­end.

Ide­ally, De­laney said the plan is to come out of Grand Falls with a split and shift­ing home-ice ad­van­tage to the CeeBees.

For the CeeBees, it will be key to con­tinue to play their own game.

Grand Falls likes to play a speed game, and the CeeBees are go­ing to look to keep the puck deep in the of­fen­sive zone.

“The more time we can spend in their zone, the less time we’ll spend in our zone.

“We know that if we aren’t de­fen­sively sound against Grand Falls, it’ll be over pretty quickly, so we have to take care of our own zone first.”

Game 3 is set for Satur­day (Feb. 23) with puck drop at 7:30 p.m., while game time is 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 24.

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

CeeBee Stars cap­tain Keith De­laney moves the puck into the Gan­der Fly­ers zone dur­ing the fi­nal game of the reg­u­lar sea­son for both teams on Feb. 10. De­laney and the CeeBees are pre­par­ing to wel­come the Grand Falls-Wind­sor Cataracts for Games 3 and 4 of the Herder Me­mo­rial Tro­phy semi­fi­nal se­ries.

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