If you were looking for a turning point in Sunday’s (Dec. 2) afternoon tilt between the Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars and the Gander Flyers, you had to look no further than a play that happened with just over the five minutes left to play in regulation.
With the score 5-5, CeeBees’ defenceman Grant Kenny belted Flyers’ forward Steve Pearson into the boards and received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for his troubles.
Moments later, Ray Dalton picked up a questionable hooking call to give the Flyers a two-man advantage with five minutes to play. With only :30 seconds left in Kenny’s penalty, the puck came out front to David Chubb and he beat CeeBees’ goaltender Mark Yetman, making the score 6-5 for the Flyers. However, that did not mark the end of the game.
With :20 seconds remaining and the CeeBees on the attack, a loose puck landed on the stick of Dalton in front of the Flyers’ goal. Having already scored in the game, Dalton was looking for his second, and fired it five-hole on Flyers’ starter Patty O’Brien.
“Just get in front of it. Push out, and hope for the best,” the goaltender said on what he was thinking as the play unfolded. O’Brien stopped Dalton, and ended the CeeBees’ hopes of a last-ditch miracle goal.
Like they did Saturday (Dec. 1) night, the Flyers struck first in the second game of the weekend series. Jordan Scott deposited a puck past Yetman with just over six minutes to play in the first period. Sean Wadden and Pearson assisted on the play.
The CeeBees would not reply until just under a minute into the second period, when Jason Hedges, on one knee, slide a puck to Jamie Tobin. Tobin made no mistake in beating O’Brien. Keith Delaney also assisted on the play.
But, the Flyers had answer. While on the powerplay, Chad Lock banged his own rebound past Yetman to put the Flyers up 2-1. Shane Boland and Tyler Whitehead assisted.
The CeeBees struck next on the powerplay. Delaney one-timed a pass from Jordan Escott into the back of the Flyers’ goal to even it up. Mike Dyke also picked up a helper.
The teams would trade goals before the end of the second to make the score 3-3 heading into the third period. Fred Earle scored for the CeeBees,and Tyler Whitehead for the Flyers.
In the third, Gander got on the board first when Scott took advantage of an over-exuberant CeeBees’ forecheck and deposited a pass from David Chubb under the bar and over the glove hand of Yetman.
With the team in dire need of a spark, and down 5-4 to the Flyers, Robert Slaney fire a rocket over the shoulder of O’Brien to tie the score up at five and setting the stage for the final five minutes of drama.
CeeBees’ interim head coach Ian Moores said the team did not meet its goal of grabbing four points from the visiting Flyers.
“We’re not happy about losing at home,” he said. “That’s three losses in four games (at home), but there are no championships won in November or December.”
Even with that, Moores said the team recognizes the need to be better on home ice.
“We have to be better at home and our fans deserve better,” he said.
Yetman, who was making his second start with his new club, stopped 22 the of 28 shots he faced tonight. While he was not spectacular, Yetman held his team in the game at times, including a six-minute penalty kill in the second period.
“It’s tough when you get two five-on-threes, especially when one is late in the game,” he said.
Yetman said he was happy with his performance over the weekend.
“I haven’t really played this hockey since last year ,” he said. “Obviously, six goals today isn’t what you want to give up, but overall, I’m happy.”
O’Brien, who was spectacular all game, said Sunday’s victory was “huge” for his club.
“We’re hunting for a playoff spot and this is the team that we’re in the dogfight with, so to come in here and get two points is big.”
With the win, the Flyers pushed their record to three wins, seven losses and two overtime losses, while the CeeBees drop to five wins and seven losses.