On their first attempt to clinch a berth in the Herder Memorial Trophy final the CeeBee Stars failed.
In the unfriendly confines of the Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium on March 1, the CeeBees struggled from the opening faceoff against the Grand Falls Windsor Cataracts.
The team appeared to never get on track en route to a lop-sided 7-2 loss to the top ranked Cataracts.
Coach Ian Moores said there was “no excuses” for his teams play in Game 5.
“They came with the intensity, in the second period for sure, and we never matched it,” he said.
The Cataracts scored three times in the second period to put the CeeBees in a hole that they could not climb out of.
With each goal, the raucous Grand Falls crowd got even wilder. Sirens blared and the decibel levels rose to new heights.
Although they appeared nervous at times, the CeeBees were given a golden opportunity in the first period when the Grand Falls were hindered by six straight minutes of penalty time.
The Cataracts killed off the five-on-3 advantage as the CeeBees never seemed to get settled. The Cats drew from that and used that energy to drive their game the rest of the period.
The home team opened up the scoring late in the first period when Luke Gallant fired a shot through a Wes Welcher screen and beat CeeBees’ starter Mark Yetman. Andre Gill and Andrew Pearcey picked up the helpers.
The play was up and down for the rest of the period, but when the buzzer sounded the Cataracts were up.
The second period is when things started to fall apart for the CeeBees.
Cataracts captain Mike Brent got things started when he got behind the defence and hit the back of the net over the glove hand of Yetman. Greg Hoffe and Tim Greene had the helpers.
Pearcey was the next to strike for the Cataracts. He picked a spot above the blocker of Yetman and buried the pick just under the 10 minute mark of the second period.
Next up was Brandon Nicholas, who slide a rebound past Yetman off of the stick of Gill to make the score 4-0. Martin LaPointe had the other assist.
It could have been worse for the CeeBees. A fifth Cataracts goal was called off after Welcher kicked the puck in the net.
Things also got heated between the two clubs. With just under five minutes remaining in the second period, Hoffe made his way over to the CeeBees bench. With the officials tangled up with a scrum at centre ice, Hoffe mocked Daniel Sparkes, enticing him to jump the boards and engage Hoffe in a fight.
However, in a lack of sportsmanship, Hoffe did not wait for Sparkes to touch the ice before engaging.
Both were given major penalties.
The third period started much of the same, with Doug O’Brien engaging in a fight with Ryan Graham.
The Cataracts got on the board first as Welcher buried a rebound behind Yetman. LaPointe and Chris Peach had the helpers.
The goal marked the end of Yetman’s night, as he was pulled in favour of Freddie Diamond.
Yetman stopped 14 of the 21 shots he faced.
The move seemed to spark the CeeBees. With Travis Champion in the box, Mike Dyke blasted a shot over the shoulder of Cataracts starter A.J. Whiffen. Jordan Escott and Nick Theriault had the assists.
Three minutes later, Keith Delaney finished an end-to-end rush by handcuffing Whiffen. A couple of shifts after that, Ray Dalton tipped a puck just over the Cataracts net.
Welcher ended any thoughts of comeback when he banged in a loose puck to push the score to 5-2.
The Cataracts would score the next two, one by Gill and another by Welcher, before the end of the period.
“Our goal was to win the period, we never. “said Moores.
With the win, the Cataracts have pulled the series to 3-2 in the best-of-seven Herder Memorial Trophy semifinal series.
“We’re heading home … we’ve been on the losing end of big games and comeback to win at home,” said Moores.
The Cataracts still need to beat the CeeBees two more times in order to move on.
“Going home up 3-2, we like it. Obviously, we have to be ready tomorrow night and we will be,” said Moores.
Game 6 goes 8 p.m. at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace.