The Eastlink CeeBee Stars are backing into the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League playoffs after a lopsided 7-3 defeat at the hands of the Mount Pearl Blades on Feb. 8.
After the league handed the CeeBees two points earlier in the week, the team had a glorious opportunity to position themselves for home ice in its matchup with the Blades at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace.
On Thursday (Feb. 6) the much debated final two periods of the CeeBees Jan. 19 postponed matchup with the Western Royals was officially cancelled and those two points awarded to the Harbour Grace-based club.
This placed the CeeBees just a single point behind the Blades for second place in the eastern division behind the Clarenville Caribous. More importantly, a victory on Feb. 8 would give Harbour Grace coveted home-ice advantage.
However, Mount Pearl had other plans.
The Blades would score twice in the first, three times in the second and get two more in the third to put the CeeBees away.
With only 13 skaters dressed, the CeeBees got on the board first with Matt Quinn picking up the goal with captain Mike Dyke had the assist. It was the only time Mount Pearl would trail in the game.
A little over a minute later Cory Blackmore tied to game up and four minutes after that Ryan Graham put Mount Pearl ahead 2-1.
From that point, the Blades were not looking back.
Just over a minute into the second frame, ex-CeeBee Mark Tobin notched his fifth of the season for the Blades
Blake Gallagher notched the next Mount Pearl tally, followed by a Daniel Sparkes goal for the CeeBees.
With the score 4-2 for the Blades, Graham picked up his second of the game before the end of the period.
Trailing 5-2 heading into the third, Mount Pearl got goals from Steve Tilley and a third from Ryan Graham to extend its lead to 7-2. Chris Sparkes would score for the CeeBees to make the final 7-3.
It was the CeeBees first home loss in four games.
Harbour Grace has been woeful against the Blades this season.
The loss gives them four regulation defeats at the hands of Mount Pearl this season versus a single victory in the CeeBees favour.
If there was one positive to take from the latest downfall to the Blades, it was the play of goaltender Roger Kennedy.
Kennedy was pelted with 56 shots, stopping 49 of them.
The CeeBees mustered 48 shot on Blades starter Ryan Mior, but could not beat the keeper.
The two teams will match up again when the best-of-5 eastern semifinal series gets underway this weekend (Feb. 14-16), although game times are still not known.