CORNER BROOK The Red Rock Bullets finally got the monkey off their backs, but there's still the issue of the gorilla.
After being shut out in their opening two games of the Corner Brook Molson Men's Ball Hockey League season, the Bullets broke through with a goal on Thursday night — three of them to be exact — but they're still searching for their first win of the year after falling 7-3 to the South Shore Luxury Limos Rangers.
Robbie Greene (2), Adam Tilley (2), Dewy Lovell, Josh Hackett and Jeff Cammie scored in the winning effort for the Rangers.
Greg Park, Ron Hancock and Zack Greene responded for the Bullets.
The fact the Bullets hadn't scored prior to Thursday night's game wasn't lost on the Rangers, who expected a strong push from their opponents.
"We knew they were going to come hard," Cammie said. "I watched their other two games and it's just a matter of time before they get their first win. Their goalie (Rick Lushman) is awesome every night."
After scoring early to go up 1-0, the Rangers then fell victim to some undisciplined play that led to a 5-on-3 power-play for the Bullets, which they took advantage of to hatch the goose egg. Another goal followed, while they were still enjoying a man advantage, and suddenly everything seemed to be going their way.
"They had all the momentum there," Cammie acknowledged.
Greene's first of the night, with just over three minutes remaining in the first, changed all that and triggered an epic turnaround for the Rangers in the second half.
"It's huge when you can tie it up late like that," said Cammie. "We spent a lot of the first period on the PK, but we managed to keep our composure and come back on them. Once you grab that momentum going into the second, you don't look back, you just keep pressing."
Although the Bullets tied it up again briefly at the start of the second, the Rangers went ahead again almost immediately, keeping their foot on the gas the rest of the way, with five unanswered goals to end the game.
"We had a good first period," Cammie said. "But we played a real good second period."
Cammie wasn't surprised how hard his team had to work to earn the victory, however. It's just to be expected with the league's new four-team format. Every club has solid players to work with and nobody is a pushover anymore.
"It's ridiculous the way the league is, actually," Cammie said. "Every team is after getting better ... our pickups are huge and I'm sure every other team would say the same."
For the Bullets, there were certainly more positives to take out of this game than their previous two — specifically the lack of a zero on their side of the scoreboard.
"It was a big boost," Park said of his goal. "Our main focus was to score on that power play, so at least it gave us a bit of hope. We knew we had to try to get that done and over with."
With a crew of new players that haven't had time to really gel together yet, Park is aware of the growing pains that lie ahead, but he's hopeful everything will be running much more smoothly as the season progresses.
"It's a brand new team," he said. "All the lines need a lot of work on defence and offence, but we'll get better as it goes along.
"We're lucky our goaltending is standing on his head for us."
The following is a summary of the other league game on Thursday night:
Sumptin' Fishy at the Gate 4, Oceanex 2
Brandon Hynes scored the game-winner late in the second half, while Andrew Smith, Jeremy Bishop and Steve Day also lit the lamp as the fishermen handed the ocean crew their first loss of the young season.
Paul McDonald and Adam Gardner replied in the losing effort.
Adam Hicks earned the goaltending win over Dave King.
After Thursday night's action, the Rangers and fishermen are tied for first place at 2-0-1, while Oceanex is now in second with a 2-1-0 record. The Bullets bring up the rear with an 0-3 mark thus far.