© Photo by Nicholas Mercer/The Compass
Clarenville Caribous' goaltender Jason Churchill shifts to stop CeeBees' captain Keith Delaney. Chruchill and the Caribous beat the CeeBees 4-2.
Home ice at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace has not been kind to the Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars.
Heading into tonight’s (Dec. 8) matchup with the Clarenville Caribous, the Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars had won just once in four previous games in Harbour Grace.
That trend continued after a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Caribous. The loss dropped the CeeBees' home record to one win and four losses.
“We want to play well at home and we know how important home games are too us. We know how important it is to show our fans and the community all of the hard work we’ve been doing,” said captain Keith Delaney.
The CeeBees’ games at home have all featured the same story line, save for the lone victory. The team has been one step behind its opponents, have turned on the heat towards the end, but end up falling short when the final buzzer sounds.
The CeeBees have been in all of the four losses, but have been unable to get over the hump and pull out the victory.
“Tonight, I think, could’ve went either way,” said Delaney.
He made the point that his club has to started “making better decisions” at both bluelines and keep things “simple” and get pucks to the net.
“When you’re in a slump, I guess, you just have to throw it at the net and get something working,” said Delaney. “It’s all about maintaining a positive attitude.”
The Caribous got things started with an early first period marker. With just under two minutes gone in the first, Brad Crann positioned himself in front of the CeeBees’ goal, took a pass from Mark Roebothan and slammed the puck through the legs of starter Mark Yetman. Paul Roebothan also assisted on the play.
Former-Caribou Chris Hulit was making his debut with the CeeBees and wasted no time in making his presence felt against his former team. A minute after Crann scored, Hulit took a pass from Jordan Escott, streaked down the left side and fired a laser, far side, over the left should of keeper Jason Churchill. Nick Theriault had the other assist.
The Caribous would score again before the end of the first when former-CeeBee Brandon Roach put a puck past Yetman. Matt Bragg and Dustin Russell assisted on Roach’s third of the season.
The two teams skated to a scoreless second period that saw numerous chances for both teams but both Yetman and Churchill were up to the challenge.
It was not until Mike Dyke took a pass from Terry Ryan and blew a shot through Churchill with just under 15 minutes to play in the final frame that scoring resumed.
Again, the Caribous had an answer. Just under two minutes after the Dyke goal, Ryan Desrosiers took a pass from Stephen Oates and deeked Yetman for the third Clarenville goal.
For the remainder of the contest, the two teams battled each other. The CeeBees threatened to tie the score on a couple of different occasions, but Churchill stood tall and refused to let the game slip away.
“Churchill is a good goaltender and that’s what he does. When his team is down … he makes those big saves,” said CeeBees’ head coach Corey Crocker.
Matt Bragg added an empty net goal to seal it for the Caribous.
Crocker said his team played well in spots during tonight’s contest, but failed to pull out the victory.
“Overall, Clarenville wanted it more than we did,” he said.
Crocker said the CeeBees’ players have to return to playing a gritty, in-your-face brand of hockey, especially at home.
“They have to have a mindset that they are going to outwork and out-battle teams on a daily basis,” he said. “The CeeBees have been famous for a lot of years for playing well at home, playing to the size of the rink and playing that hard working, tough hockey. We have to get back to that.”
Roach said every time he returns to Harbour Grace he takes “personal pride” in facing his former club.
“The CeeBees always give you a good game and seems like every time we play it is always neck and neck. The games could go either way,” he said. “It’s big this time of year for us to take this win.”