The Western (formerly Corner Brook) Royals would bend but they would not break Saturday night at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace.
Every time the Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars would push forward, the Royals would push back.
It started in the first period when the Royals muted the capacity crowd with two first period goals. Brett Morrison got the scoring started for Western, beating CeeBees starter Charles Lavigne with a shot along the ice. Next, Penney turned a CeeBees turnover into the Royals’ second goal of the game, beating Lavigne short side.
Lavigne, maybe rattled in his first game in front of the CeeBees home crowd, settled down after the first, making saves to keep his club in the game.
Doug O’Brien got the CeeBees on the board in the second frame, scoring his first with his new club. O’Brien beat former-CeeBee and Royals’ starter Doug Jewer on the powerplay.
The CeeBees pressed for the equalizer, but it was not too be as Morrison potted his second of the game to extend the Royals lead to 3-1. It would stay that way until the third period. Robert Slaney pulled the CeeBees to within one at the beginning of the third with his second of the year.
Again, the Royals had an answer.
And, again, it was a turnover that cost the CeeBees. Ryan Sparling intercepted a Ryan Delaney pass at the blueline, sped down the ice and deeked Lavigne to his left, beating the import goaltender.
“I just got lucky,” he said. “I put my stick in the lane and the puck hit my blade.”
The Royals pushed the lead to 5-2 after a mishap by Lavigne when he attempted to play a loose puck with a Western forward bearing down on him. Royals d-man Mike Lee was the beneficiary of the turnover netting his first of the season.
However, the CeeBees would not just lay over and accept defeat. With just over five minutes to play in the third, the Harbour Grace club stormed back with two goals. The highlight being Slaney’s second goal of the night with 1:45 remaining.
Jewer and the Royals would survive the CeeBees onslaught and prevail with a hard fought 5-4 victory.
CeeBees head coach Corey Crocker said his team “waited too long” to turn up the intensity.
“When you wait that long, nine chances out of 10 it isn’t going to work out for you,” he said. “You can’t question the effort, but you just can’t wait like that to turn it on.”
Crocker said he team needs to “be better prepared” for tomorrow’s game if it hopes to avoid losing its fourth straight contest.
Both teams meet tomorrow in a matinee affair with game time scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace. email@example.com