Dalton scores second overtime winner, CeeBees up 3-1 in series
© Photo by Nicholas Mercer/The Compass
CeeBee Stars overtime hero Ray Dalton salutes the crowd at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace moments after he scored the overtime winner to propel his club to a 2-1 victory. The CeeBees now hold a 3-1 advantage over Grand Falls-Windsor in its best-of-seven Herder Memorial Trophy semifinal series.
Just like Saturday (Feb. 23) night, Sunday’s affair between the CeeBee Stars and the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts needed overtime.
And, just like Saturday night, Ray Dalton scored the OT winner, setting of a frenzy in the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace that had not been seen for some while.
The CeeBees won 2-1 and now hold a three games to one advantage over the Cataracts in the teams best-of-seven Herder Memorial Trophy semifinal series in the province-wide league.
Dalton scooped up a loose puck behind the Cataracts goal, came around and chipped the puck over the outstretched glove of starter A.J. Whiffen. Chris Sparkes and Jamie Tobin had assists on the play.
Skating to centre ice, the hero was mobbed by his teammates.
The extra frame belonged to the CeeBees. After every scoring chance, the team seemed to gain a bit more momentum.
“It gives you more energy and more legs. You want to be to one to be the one to get the next chance,” said Dalton. “I don’t know if they had either one (scoring chance), you could see it coming. Thank God, I was lucky enough to put it in.”
The CeeBees kicked off the scoring with just over two minutes remaining in the first period when Jason Hedges drove hard to goal. Although the initial chance was stopped by Whiffen, Jordan Escott was there to bang in the loose puck.
The Cataracts came out strong in the second frame and it showed, as Ryan Graham hit the back of the net behind CeeBees’ starter Mark Yetman. Brandon Nicholas made a slick pass to Graham, who fired a low shot under the pad of Yetman. Andre Gill had the other assist on the goal.
The goal came just over a minute into the second period, and the next 39 minutes would belong to the goaltenders.
Each team attacked and counterattacked and for every chance produced, Yetman and Whiffen had the answer.
The CeeBees, on numerous occasions, found a seem up the middle of the ice and had quality scoring chances because of the strategy. On numerous occasions, sniper Chris Hulit found himself behind the defence. Once, he struck iron behind Whiffen and another the keeper stayed in the pocket and made a great kick save on the big winger.
Yetman went save for save with Whiffen. Stopping all but one of the 32 shots he faced. Many of those came through traffic, but Yetman maintained composure and stopped the puck.
The final two periods belonged to the CeeBees, as the home side outshot the Cataracts 28-10 over those 40 minutes. Overall, the CeeBees threw 52 pucks at the 2012-13 goaltender of the year.
Dalton said the feeling in the dressing room is one of confidence.
“It seems like every game, someone is stepping up. There’s a lot of energy there and every day is getting more fun,” he said.
Dalton and his teammates know the Cataracts are not going to roll over and let the series slip away.
“We expect a really good game out of them Friday night,” he said. “They had a great season and they’re not going to go down like that. We just have to play solid hockey, worry about our own end and we’ll be alright.”
The series moves back to the Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium in Grand Falls-Windsor for Game 5 on March 1. If necessary, Game 6 is back in Harbour Grace on Saturday (Mar. 2).