Eastlink CeeBee Stars down 2-0 in playoff series with Mount Pearl

Nicholas Mercer
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The Eastlink CeeBee Stars have a fight ahead of them if the team wants to repeat last year’s playoff performance.

 

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This is after the CeeBees dropped the first two games of the club’s best-of-5 Newfoundland Senior Hockey League eastern division semifinal series with the Mount Pearl Blades over the weekend.

The weekend sweep puts the Harbour Grace-based club in a dogfight to stay alive and keeps its repeat hopes going.

It has been just under a year since the CeeBees went on a tear in the NLSHL playoffs to clinch the Herder Memorial Trophy. During that run the club downed the mighty Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts four games to one, before sweeping the Clarenville Caribous in the championship round.

Now the series shifts back to the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace for Game 3 and Game 4 if necessary, before shifting back to the Glacier in Mount Pearl for Game 5 if the series reaches that far.

However, it will be a daunting task for the CeeBees as the Blades have had the team’s number all season.

Harbour Grace posted a regular season record of 1-4-1 versus Mount Pearl. Including the two playoff games, the CeeBees have dropped their last six to the Blades, earning only one point in a Dec. 14 shootout.

However the CeeBees may have an advantage in one area. The S.W. Moores is not a friendly place for the opponent during the playoffs.

The small ice, combined with what is sure to be a packed house make things uncomfortable for the opposition. The CeeBees are also on a bit of a roll at home, having won four of the its last five at its venerable home arena, commonly referred to as ‘the old barn.’

 

The games

Weather played some havoc with imports for both teams early in the weekend, as key players on both sides were absent for Game 1 on Friday (Feb. 14).

In the wake of that, the Blades and CeeBees skated to a dramatic 4-3 final.

The CeeBees were up a goal heading into the final period, but the Blades surged back with just over six minutes gone in the third.

Steve Yetman beat goaltender Roger Kennedy for his second of the game to notch things at three.

It was not longer after that ex-CeeBee Mark Tobin put the Blades up 4-3 for good.

Over the next 11 minutes, the teams traded chances put it was Mount Pearl who would take the victory.

Colin Feehan, Matt Quinn and Chris Sparkes scored for the CeeBees, while Chris Mooney had the other goal for Mount Pearl.

Both teams were at full strength for the crucial Game 2, and it was the Blades who go on the board first.

Cory Blackmore beat Kennedy in the first period to set the score at 1-0. Feehan replied for the CeeBees in the second frame to set up a tight third period.

Mount Pearl would score three straight in the first eight minutes of the final stanza to make it 4-1 and put the game out of reach.

Doug O’Brien would score to make it 4-2, but Ryan Graham added another for the Blades to seal the win.

The CeeBees and Blades are set for Game 3 at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace on Feb. 21. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m.. with Game 4 set to go the next night (Feb. 22) at 8 p.m.

 

nmercer@cbncompass.ca

Organizations: Newfoundland Senior Hockey League

Geographic location: Mount Pearl, S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium

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