DEER LAKE — It was by no means pretty or intense, but the boys from Harbour Grace were tickled pink to pick up a single point on the road.
The Eastlink CeeBee Stars moved into a tie for the fourth and final playoff berth with the Gander Flyers after claiming one point in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Western Royals Sunday afternoon. The Royals, who won Saturday night’s tilt by a 3-2 spread with import puckstopper Bryan Gillis outduelling CeeBee Stars No. 1 Mark Yetman, erased a two-goal deficit Sunday to force the extra period.
Yetman and counterpart Brad Dyke of the Royals, in his first start since the Royals acquired Gillis, were the most impressive performers for their respective clubs with Dyke keeping his team in the game with an impressive 45-save performance.
Yetman only faced 27 shots from the Royals, but a handful of those scoring chances were from in close and he too had moments of brilliance in what resembled a game of pond hockey with errant passes and turnovers the norm for both sides in a lacklustre Newfoundland Senior Hockey League matinee.
Cory Blackmore, Scott Doody, Ryan Sparling and Darren Langdon scored for the Royals, who trailed 3-2 after 40 minutes, in regulation time at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex.
Colin Feehan, Ray Dalton, Jordan Escott and Grant Kenny supplied the goals for the CeeBee Stars.The Royals looked to be content to settle for a weekend split knowing third place in the standings is where they will end up when the dust is settled, but the Royals put the pressure on in the later stages and got rewarded with a couple of markers to set the stage for the overtime.
Sparling brought the Royals within one goal with a wrist shot that trickled past Yetman after Langdon knocked the puck off a CeeBee Stars defender and it ended up on the stick of the Royals forward in the slot.
Langdon, who missed Saturday’s game because he had to serve a one-game suspension, got the equalizer with under five minutes to go when he slid a loose rebound across the goal line past Yetman during a frenzy in front of the crease.
Dyke stopped all five CeeBee Stars shooters in the shootout, but Yetman couldn’t match the effort, giving up a goal to Chad Earle who snapped a wrist shot under the crossbar over the glove hand of Yetman before Justin Barbour deked Yetman to the glove side and lifted a backhander over his shoulder to send the fans to the exits.
Royals 3, Cee Bee Stars 2
On Saturday night, Mark Tobin had a goal and an assist to lead the charge for the Royals.
Justin Barbour and Michael Hynes also scored, while Ryan Sparling picked up two assists in a game that helped the Royals secure third place in the standings and a matchup with the Caribous in the first round of the playoffs.
League action resumes this weekend with the Flyers tangling with the Caribous at the Clarenville Events Centre and the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts heading to Harbour Grace for a huge matchup with the CeeBee Stars. The Royals, who will face the Caribous in the first round of the playoffs and will also start the series at home because icetime wasn’t available in Clarenville, are idle this weekend.
The Royals will wrap up the regular season with a two-game road trip Feb. 9-10 against the Cataracts at Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium.
The following is a look at how things unfolded between the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts and Clarenville Caribous this past weekend at the Clarenville Events Centre:
Cataracts 6, Caribous 2
Chris Peach, Sam Hounsell, Andrew Pearcey, Cody Roach and Andrew Brennan scored for the Cataracts Sunday afternoon to earn the split at the Clarenville Events Centre.
Steve Yetman and Brandon Roach supplied the goals for the Caribous.
Caribous 6, Cataracts 1
Ryan Desrosiers had a two-goal performance Saturday night as the Caribous handed the Cats only their second loss of the regular season.
Steve Yetman, Brandon Roach, Dale Sullivan and Jordan Smith scored for the second-seed defending champion Caribous.