CeeBee Stars hold on to beat Western Royals

Nicholas Mercer
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In Matthew Thomey’s return to Harbour Grace, the Eastlink CeeBee Stars (7-10-1) jumped out to a two-goal lead and hung on for a 4-3 victory over the Western Royals (9-7-2) on Jan. 18 at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium.

 

It was a different scene for Thomey, the Harbour Grace native.

The former CeeBees captain, accustom to preparing for the game in the end of the rink reserved for his former team, went through his routine at the other end of the rink.

“It was different, skating down on this end … but I tried not to think about it too much and focus on the game,” said Thomey.

After an opening ceremony that saw Thomey receive an ovation that rivaled that of  any current CeeBee, the home team came out of the gate flying.

The CeeBees jumped all over the Royals in the opening minutes. With a Royal in the box, Colin Feehan finished off a nifty pass from Ben Duffy to put the CeeBees up 1-0. Jordan Escott had the other assist on the powerplay goal.

The Harbour Grace squad kept the pressure on after the first goal.

After Royals’ starter Bryan Gillis made a couple of successive saves, Matt Quinn took a pass from Matt Bragg and beat the import goaltender. Jamie Tobin picked up a helper.

The CeeBees pressed for more, but Gillis was up to the task .

Before the end of the first CeeBees' forward Daniel Sparkes and Royals captain Nathan Saunders engaged in an entertainig fight.

The first period ended with the home team up 2-0.

However, it was a different Royals team that came out for the second period.

“We talked about getting back to the kind of hockey that we were playing last weekend. We had a great weekend keeping it simple and cycling it down low,” said Thomey.

The Royals pressed hard to start the second.

They were beating the CeeBees to the puck and put pressure on goaltender Roger Kennedy.

Michael Hynes jammed a loose puck behind Kennedy just about halfway through the second frame to get the Royals on the board.

Moments later, Ray Dalton slapped a puck from the bottom of the circle that beat Gillis to restore the CeeBees two-goal advantage.

However, it did not take long for the Royals to pull back within one. Chris Peach took a pass from Colin Power and beat Kennedy short side to make the score 3-2.

The Royals kept the pressure on for the rest of the period, but could not find the equalizer.

“The message between the second and third was guys, let’s not let this slip away,” said CeeBees’ coach Ian Moores. “Let’s take care of the defensive side of the puck, and I thought we did that.”

The Royals opened the scoring in the third with Zach Firlotte notching the tally. However, the 3-3 game was short lived, as Matt Bragg jammed home a loose puck to put the CeeBees ahead, this time for good.

The CeeBees hunkered down for the rest of the period and hung on for the 4-3 victory.

“We were able to get that fourth goal … and the boys were able to play sound defensively and hold on,” said Moores.

The coach said it was a well-earned victory for his team.

“The Western Royals have a great team and to beat them at home, or anywhere, is definitely a good night,” said Moores. “The boys came out tonight with a purpose ... the boys were hungry and they meant business for sure.”

The Royals and CeeBees go at it again Sunday (Jan. 19) with puck drop scheduled for 2 p.m.

nmercer@cbncompass.ca

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