The finish of Game 4 between the Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars and the Clarenville Caribous is one that will be debated amongst those in attendance at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace Saturday night.
With the CeeBees threatening to tie the game with mere seconds remaining, the home team thought they had it knotted at 3-3, and after some debate referees Iain Hollett and Steve Orr called the goal off, giving the Caribous the 3-2 victory and a 3-1 series lead in the best-of-seven Newfoundland Senior Hockey League semifinal.
Much like Game 3, CeeBees' goaltender Doug Jewer seemed shaky to start and the Caribous captialized.Brian Duffett opened the scoring for the Caribous at 4:22 in the first period, jamming a loose puck past Jewer. Mitch Bragg and Andrew Sweetland picked up the assists.
The Caribous would score again before the end of the period when Steve Yetman buried a puck in the CeeBees' goal. Jeff Caron and former CeeBee Mike Stevens had the helpers
.The CeeBees' couldn't muster much offence in the first two periods, falling behind 3-0 after 40 minutes of play. Ryan Desrosiers had the third goal for the Caribous at 18:03 of the second frame. Chris Hulit had the assist.
The third period saw the CeeBees seemingly sleep walk through the first 15 minutes before finally awakening in the last five minutes.First, seldom used Chris Sparkes jammed a puck behind Caribous' starter Jason Churchill at 13:40. Matthew Thomey and Keith Delaney had the helpers.
With 1:44 remaining in the game, Mike Dyke pulled the CeeBees within one. Thomey and Delaney again picked up the assists. But that would be all the offence the home team could muster.
"It took us 50 plus minutes before we decided we really wanted to win and play hockey," said Thomey. "If we play with that urgency all game, I think we come out of it with a win ... we really wanted that last one, but was a second too late."
The CeeBees now face the daunting task of heading too Clarenville in a two-game hole.
"We just got get over it (the game), we can't dwell on it," said the CeeBees' captain.
Thomey said it will be key to lean on the experience in the dressing room going forward.
"No one in that room is new to the situation, so as long as we stay focused ... and take it game by game," he said. "We can't look past Friday night."
Caribous' coach Ivan Hapgood knows the series is not over yet, despite his team having a two-game advantage.
"You've got two even hockey teams," he said. "They won't rollover and die and we've gotta go back to our barn next Friday night.
"Anytime, you've got your back to the wall, you're going to bring your best."
Game Five goes Friday night, March 16, at the Clarenville Event Centre at 8 p.m. where the Caribous will be looking to close out the CeeBees and earn themselves another trip to the Herder Memorial Trophy finals.