CeeBee Stars, Blues find them­selves as ri­vals

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Ev­ery team has a nat­u­ral ri­val. Usu­ally, it’s a team from the next town over or maybe the team from the op­po­site side of the bay.

When you think of nat­u­ral ri­vals in the Avalon East Se­nior Hockey League, your mind drifts to the HGOE CeeBee Stars and the South­ern Shore Break­ers. For years, the two fran­chises gave each other their best and pro­duced clas­sic matchup af­ter clas­sic matchup.

Matchups be­tween the St. John’s Caps and Northeast Ea­gles also come to mind.

Since their re­turn to the AESHL, the CeeBees have re­newed ac­quain­tances with the Break­ers, but things were flat be­tween the two last year. Busi­ness has picked up this year be­tween the two and it ap­pears the ri­valry is back on track af­ter a num­ber of close games in the early stages of the sea­son.

How­ever, a trip to the Danny Cleary Com­mu­nity Cen­tre in Har­bour Grace Nov. 26 would’ve led you to the con­clu­sion that the CeeBees have de­vel­oped an­other ri­val the last cou­ple of years.

That night the team threw down with the Hick­man Chrysler Blues and things were a throw­back to an ear­lier time when the CeeBees wel­comed the Fla­trock Fly­ers to the ven­er­a­ble S.W. Moores Me­mo­rial Sta­dium.

On this Satur­day night, the pair of teams com­bined for 179 penalty min­utes. Sev­eral play­ers had over 10 min­utes in penal­ties, there were five fight­ing ma­jors, 13 mis­con­ducts and a num­ber of smaller of­fenses.

In four games, the two teams have com­bined for a whop­ping 409 penalty min­utes, which av­er­ages out to 102 a game.

For those in at­ten­dance, it prob­a­bly re­sem­bled the sto­ries bat­tles waged by the Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche in the late-1990s when both teams went to war ev­ery time they met.

I think it’s great for the team and for the fans who have some­thing to look for­ward too with a new ri­valry de­vel­op­ing. Peter Ge­orge

For CeeBees brass, the bur­geon­ing Blues ri­valry came out of nowhere. They’re not the first team a fan thinks of when they think of a Har­bour Grace ri­val.

Coach Peter Ge­orge traces the be­gin­nings of it back to last sea­son.

“I think it’s a carry over from last year,” he told The Com­pass last week. “We had a few games that got pretty in­tense. They’re a team that won’t be pushed around and they play to the fi­nal whis­tle.”

This isn’t the first time the two teams have been in the same league, but it’s the first time they’ve been in­volved in this sort of emo­tional run.

In the CeeBees pre­vi­ous run in the AESHL, they rou­tinely blew out the Blues by lop­sided scores. That’s a stark con­trast with re­cent his­tory.

Last sea­son, there were some close games be­tween the two and aside from a 10-2 CeeBees vic­tory last month, this year’s se­ries has been close.

The Blues took the first one in a shootout and the CeeBees have won the last three.

“Just play­ing a team where there’s close games day in and day out, that’s how a ri­valry gets built,” said Ge­orge. “I think it’s great for the team and for the fans who have some­thing to look for­ward to with a new ri­valry de­vel­op­ing.”

The CeeBees are next in ac­tion this Fri­day when they travel to the Jack Byrne Arena in Tor­bay for a tilt with the Northeast Ea­gles. Puck drop is sched­uled for 8 p.m.

Their next home date is Dec. 10 when they wel­come the Break­ers to Har­bour Grace for a 7:30 p.m. show­down.

NI­CHOLAS MERCER/TC ME­DIA

There seems to be a ri­valry brew­ing be­tween the HGOE CeeBee Stars and the Hick­man Chrysler Blues in the Avalon East Se­nior Hockey League.

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