The Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars have made the playoffs.
It involved some scratching and clawing but the team managed to squeeze into the final post-season position after picking up a 8-5 victory over the Corner Brook Royals Sunday afternoon at the Pepsi Centre.
The CeeBees (8-10-6) capitalized on a Mount Pearl loss to Grand Falls-Windsor to jump ahead three points for the final playoff spot in the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League.
Heading into the final weekend of the season, the CeeBees were at a disadvantage with Mount Pearl holding the tiebreaker advantage after winning the head-to-head season series
"It's been a bittersweet season. But, we got into the playoffs by the skin of our teeth, so we're more than happy with that," CeeBees' Keith Delaney told Transcontinental Media.
There was a point in the season when making the playoffs was in doubt for the CeeBees.
Sitting in last place for the majority of the season, failing to gel under a new coach and being unable to win a shootout all year could spell disaster for any club.
The CeeBees never lost sight of the goal, according to general manager Kenny Hunt.
"We picked up points in every weekend since Christmas," he said. "It reflects on the changes we've made."
One of those changes was the letting go of Steve Power and replacing him with Corey Crocker.
The Harbour Grace native was brought in to spark a team that was not meeting the standard the team had set for itself.
Crocker quickly turned the team around, producing a record of five wins, three losses and 4 shoot out losses.
What makes that record look more impressive is the fact that the CeeBees did not lose by more than two goals in the three losses since the midseason break.
"The guys bought into the systems that Corey implemented and we're happy to get in (the playoffs)," said Hunt.
The general manager said the entire season "was a dog fight, but we prevailed."
"We feel ecstatic about making the playoffs, and we look forward to trying to keep the tradition alive of an eight straight Herder appearance."
After narrowly getting into the playoffs, the road to the Herder finals does not get any easier for the CeeBees.
Looming on the horizon are the first-place Clarenville Caribous in the best-of-seven semifinal matchup.
The Caribous took the season series from the CeeBees taking four of the six games with one of them going to a shoot out.
"They're a great team, and we face an uphill battle," said Hunt.
Despite losing the season series, Hunt sees positives heading into the playoffs.
"We felt like we competed with them and in a seven game series, anything can happen," he said.
The first two games of the series go this weekend at the Clarenville Event Centre March 3 and 4, before coming back to the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace for games three and four.
"It would be great if we could get two in Clarenville , but it would be huge to get a split heading back to our barn for two," said Hunt.
The series moves back to Clarenville for games five and seven, while game six will be be in Harbour Grace if necessary.
The CeeBees march to the playoffs started in Corner Brook Saturday night.
It was not the result they wanted, but the CeeBees still grabbed one point after a 3-2 shootout loss.
Royals captain Steve North had the winner in the shootout, while Scott Doody and Jake Easton scored in regulation.
Ryan Delaney and Matthew Thomey had the lone goals for the CeeBees.
Across the province, Mount Pearl was dropping a 4-3 decision to the Grad Falls-Windsor Cataracts to set up a dramatic pair of Sunday games.
Mike Dyke led the CeeBees offensive charge for the CeeBees Sunday afternoon, picking up a goal and two assists. Other CeeBees scoring were Thomey, Ryan Delaney, Kyle Doucet, Jamie Tobin, Mark Tobin and Sean Wadden.
Doug O'Brien (2), Brian Barker (2) and Jordan Bonneville replied for the Royals.
The Blades dropped a 5-4 contest to the Cataracts, propelling the CeeBees into the playoffs.
"If the measure of success is a playoff spotm then I guess we've been successful so far," said Delaney.