© Geraldine Brophy
Michael Hynes is seen in this Star file photo from February 2012.
DEER LAKE Michael Hynes makes no bones about his team‚Äôs desire to have another kick at the cat.
The cat in this case refers to the Cataracts ‚ÄĒ the high-octane green machine atop the standings in the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League that provides the opposition for Hynes and the Western Royals this weekend at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex.
The Cataracts, with a record of nine wins and only one defeat, lead the six-team league with 18 points, while the Royals, with a 6-3-1 record are tied for second overall with the Clarenville Caribous.
The Royals opened the season with a two-game showdown with the Cataracts at Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium and the central squad swept the series. It was the first time the Royals skated as a group, while the Cataracts had two exhibition games against the Gander Flyers before starting the season.
‚ÄúThis is the weekend we had our sights set on since opening weekend,‚ÄĚ‚ÄąHynes said Tuesday. ‚ÄúThe whole team is looking forward to this weekend.‚ÄĚ
The Royals have played some impressive hockey since being outplayed by the Cataracts on opening weekend. The Royals had a six-game winning streak broken with a 5-3 loss to the Mount Pearl Blades last Sunday since losing two in a row to the Cats.
Looking back on the first meeting of the two teams, Hynes ‚ÄĒ a second-year civil engineering student at College of the North Atlantic in Corner Brook ‚ÄĒ believes the Royals have come a long way since then and should be ready to battle against a team he sees as the team to beat in the rematch.
‚ÄúWe know they got a lot of firepower up front so we got to try to shut them down. We got to limit their top guys from putting the puck in the net,‚ÄĚ‚Äąhe said. ‚ÄúI know our lines are going to be able to put some goals on the board and (Bryan) Gillis is going to stand tall in net so I think it‚Äôs going to be a good weekend.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs going to be a good challenge for us and hopefully we can come out on the better end of it.‚ÄĚ
Hynes, nine goals and 17 assists for 16 points, and linemate Justin Barbour enter the weekend tied for second spot in league scoring with Andre Gill of the Cataracts. Rob Hennigar of the Cats is the scoring race leader with three goals and 20 helpers for 23 points in 10 games in his first season with the Cats as an import.
Hynes likes how he‚Äôs been able to be a consistent performer for the Royals, but he credits linemates Barbour and former NHLer Darren Langdon for making things easier by bringing a solid effort to the rink on a consistent basis.
‚ÄúI‚Äôve been fortunate enough to get a few bounces go my way and pucks happen to go in the net,‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄúEverything is just working out well. The whole line is playing well,‚ÄĚ‚Äąhe said.
The Royals clash with the Cataracts Saturday 7:30 p.m. and Sunday 1:30 p.m. at the Hodder. Fans are reminded that the Western Royals will hold its annual Teddy Toss before the game so all fans are encouraged to bring a stuffed teddy bear along to the game.