DEER LAKE — The Western Royals learned a valuable lesson from the defending champions on opening weekend.
Too many turnovers will cost you dearly is what the Royals will have to keep in mind as the team forges ahead in the 2012-2013 Newfoundland Senior Hockey League.
The defending Herder champion Clarenville Caribous took advantage of turnovers from the Royals, particularly in the neutral zone, in both games of the two-game set that saw the Caribous win both games at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex.
Ryan Desrosiers scored a goal and collected three assists to lead the Caribous to a 6-2 victory Sunday afternoon to complete the sweep. The Caribous eked out a 7-5 victory over the hometown Royals in the season opener for both clubs Saturday night in Deer Lake.
David Victor, Andrew Sweetland, Mark Roebothan, Paul Roebothan and Matt Bragg also scored for the Caribous, who received another steady performance from stud puckstopper Jason Churchill.
Darren Langdon and Mark Robinson had a goal and an assist for the Royals, while Michael Hynes picked up the other assist on Langdon’s tally and Steve North provided the other assist on Robinson’s one-timer from the slot.
The Royals had spurts in both games where energy and a physical presence helped them win their share of puck battles, but it was the fleet-footed Caribous who used their speed and familiarity to get the extra step on the much bigger opponent to get the sweep on the road.
Saturday’s season opener provided fans with a much quicker pace and the hometown squad kept taking the body at every opportunity to the delight of the Deer Lake fans.
The Royals took a 2-1 lead into the dressing room after Robinson and Scott Doody threaded the needle for the Royals in the opening stanza.
Dale Sullivan scored for the Caribous at 8:50 of the first period.
Brandon Roach, Desrosiers and Bran Crann scored second-period goals for the Caribous, but Robinson got his second of the game from North and Mark Tobin midway through the stanza to keep the Royals within striking distance.
Bragg gave the Caribous a 5-3 lead when he lit the lamp at 6:14 of the third period, but the Royals stormed back with a gallant effort to put two mores on the board less than five minutes apart — Tobin and Nathan Saunders doing the damage — to bring the hometown fans a ray of hope.
However, on the back end of a two-man advantage Matt Bragg stripped the puck away from Royals import Brett Morrison outside his own blueline and went in all alone to tuck the puck past goaltender Bradley Dyke.
Crann scored for the Caribous at 16:44 of the final stanza for good measure to put the game on ice.
The Caribous make the trek west in two weeks time for another showdown with the Royals at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Centre.
Meanwhile, the Gander Flyers made a return to provincial senior hockey circles, but the Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars won both games at the Gander Community Centre over the weekend.
The CeeBee Stars, on an two-goal game from Ray Dalton, defeated the Flyers 7-4 Sunday afternoon to complete the weekend sweep.
Jordan Escott, Chris Sparkes, Terry Ryan, Ryan Delaney, and Mike Dyke also scored for the Flyers.
The CeeBee Stars won the opening game of the series 4-3 Saturday night with Jordan Escott leading the charge with a two-goal effort for the winners.