Carbous top Blades 4-3 in game one
© Chris Ballard photo
The Clarenville Caribous swarm to contratulate Terry Ryan after his overtime goal to clinch a 4-3 victory over the Mount Pearl Blades in Game One of the NLSHL East Division Finals on Saturday night at the Mount Pearl Glacier.
Terry Ryan perfectly one-timed a Brad Crann pass inside the post below Ryan Mior’s glove hand with 9:36 remaining in overtime as the Clarenville Caribous defeated the Mount Pearl Blades in Game One of the Newfoundland and Labrador Senior Hockey League (NLSHL) East Division finals 4-3 at the Mount Pearl Glacier on Saturday night.
Both teams had traded power play chances early in overtime before Ryan’s slap shot got past Mior.
The game started well for the Caribous, who led 2-0 after the opening 20 minutes thanks to goals from Keith Delaney and Ryan Desrosiers.
The Blades stormed back early in the second frame as Ryan Graham sniped a wrist shot, his first of three points on the night (1G, 2A) past Jason Churchill just 3:25 into the period.
Mount Pearl kept pushing in the second and tied the game on a great effort from Spencer Lezegou to split the defense and muscle the puck behind Churchill with just 1:52 left in the period.
The Blades surged ahead to take a 3-2 lead with 31.5 seconds left on the clock in the second period as Dane Marshall fooled Churchill with a wrist shot, setting up an important third period.
The Blades did a great job holding the Caribous’ offense at bay for the majority of the third period before Dale Sullivan deflected home a Brandon Roach through a maze of bodies in front of Mior to tie the game with 6:28 remaining in the period.
Neither team would find the back of the net for the remainder of the third period, setting up Ryan’s overtime heroics.
Ryan admits he didn’t expect to be the hero and was just trying to get the puck deep into the Mount Pearl zone to set up an offensive-zone faceoff.
“We were joking about it between periods,” Ryan said.
“I didn’t think it would happen. As the game went on, (Mitch) Oake, (Brad) Crann and myself, a solid third line, were just trying to get it in deep to set up the other lines. They were really going. We were taking it to the net and we weren’t having the best of luck. Crann made a great pass and I was just Johnny-on-the-spot.”
Caribous head coach Ivan Hapgood admits that giving up an early two-goal lead wasn’t in his gameplan but he was satisfied with his team’s effort, especially considering they haven’t played a competitive game together in close to three weeks.
“I thought that, considering that we were three weeks removed from competitive hockey, we owned them right from the first period,” Hapgood said.
“In the second period, we took our work boots off. With the skill we have in our room and if we combine our work boots with that, we will come out on the right end of the score 75% of the time. In the third period, we took the puck to them again. In overtime, it was more of the same.”
Hapgood was less than enthused with having allowed three goals in the second period but told his team between periods that hard team play will pay off in the long run.
“It wasn’t a pretty room (after the second period),” he said.
“It was nothing out of the ordinary but just a reminder that skill alone doesn’t do it in this league. The Blades get by on hard work. They have skilled players but they work hard. You can expect that. In the second period, they came out and started playing the body and found success.”
The two teams will head to Clarenville tomorrow for Game Two, scheduled for a late 8:30 p.m. start. Some critics are displeased with such a late starting time but Hapgood is looking forward to giving his team a few extra hours off to prepare for a big game.
“We’re going back home tomorrow,” he said.
“Some people are complaining about an 8:30 start tomorrow night but after not playing a lot of hockey over the last three weeks, I’m glad we have a 24-hour break. The guys will stay home tonight and get a good night’s rest and we’ll be ready to go again.”