Caribous stay alive in Herder final

Kenn Oliver
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The Clarenville Caribous' Keith Delaney scores a power play goal in the second period of Game 4 of the Telegram Herder Memorial Trophy Championship Series Saturday night at the Clarenville Events Centre. The goal stood as the winner as the Herd defeated the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts 5-2. At left are Cataracts' defencemen Sam Hounsell and Luke Gallant and goaltender AJ Whiffen. The Cataracts still lead the best-of-seven series 3-1 and can clinch the title in Game 5 Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock in Clarenville.

Clarenville pulls out 5-2 win over Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts in Game 4

Desperation can sometimes be the best motivator.
For the Clarenville Caribous, desperation earned them a 5-2 win over the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts in Game 4 of the Telegram Herder Memorial Trophy Championship Series Saturday night.
Whether the spirited victory will lend itself to the Caribous coming all the way back from what is now a 3-1 deficit in the best-of-seven series remains to be seen.

“It was just one game,” Caribous coach Ivan Hapgood told the Telegram. “We’ve got nothing done yet. What we set out to do tonight worked to a T, but it’s a new day tomorrow.”

The win snapped a seven-game Herder-losing streak that began with a sweep by the C.B.N. CeeBee Stars in last year’s provincial senior A final.

“Who knows, we could win four in a row,” said Hapgood.

That begins in Game 5 Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock in Clarenville, a game in which Brad Crann insists he and his Caribous teammate recognize their “backs are to the wall” once again.

“We’re just going to worry about one shift, one period and one game at a time,” said Crann, who opened the scoring in the first period. “It’s a relief that we’re at home, but we’ve got to come back with the same drive and same intensity as tonight.”

Crann and linemates Dustin Russell and Mitch Oake had the unenviable task of containing the Cataracts’ top line of Andrew Brennan, Cam Fergus and regular season leading scorer Rob Hennigar on Saturday.

“I thought we did a great job by just keeping up with them and playing smart hockey.”

Hapgood added that the defensive pairing of David Victory, back in the lineup after missing Friday’s Game 3 for work, and Nick Croft played a big part in restricting the Cats’ high scoring unit.

“Croft and Vic back on the point kept those guys’ heads up. They were careful coming into our end.”

Grand Falls-Windsor coach Shane Lukinchuk said his team “had too many guys who were invisible… they certainly know who they are and it hurt us.

“We’re only as good as our weakest link and we had too many weak links tonight.”

It didn’t help that the Cataracts spent the better part of the second period killing off penalties. Of the 17 called against them by referees Colin Abbott and Stephen Orr, nine came in the second period and one resulted in a Keith Delaney power play goal that ended up being the winner.

“Five-on-five, we’re a pretty strong team — we’ve got a lot of weapons and a lot of speed — but we didn’t give ourselves a chance to win tonight because of the amount of time we spent in the box,” Lukinchuk explained, noting there were key players who spent upwards to 12 minutes of the game sitting in the penalty box. At game’s end, Cats’ blueliner Rodi Short had served six minor penalties, four of which came in the middle stanza.

“It’s not a question of the officiating, we put ourselves in those positions and it’s up to us to figure it out, deal with it, and hopefully learn and be better from it.”

Lukinchuk did express some displeasure with the final call of the game, one that has implications that could be felt in Game 5 on Sunday.

With mere seconds remaining, and the Caribous on their way to a 5-2 win, Clarenville’s Terry Ryan attempted to get Cataracts captain Michael Brent to drop the gloves. Brent wasn’t a willing participant, and kept his gloves on in an attempt to avoid earning the major in the final 10 minutes of the game, an infraction that carries with it an automatic suspension in the next game.

“I’m frustrated with how they decided to call that,” Lukinchuck conceded. “Our captain wasn’t out there to stir up any trouble, he kept his gloves on the entire time and that’s tough for him. He’s pretty disappointed.”

For his part, Hapgood says he didn’t send Ryan out with the intention to goad Brent or anyone into a fight, but simply because the veteran senior hockey player hadn’t seen a shift the entire game.

“They were upset over there, but what (Ryan) did was no different than what (Greg) Hoffe did last night knowing full well he wouldn’t be here tonight when he jumped Mitch Oake,” Hapgood said of the late third period scuffle in Game 3 that didn’t earn match penalties for either.

“Sometimes you sew your own seed. Hoffe knew he was gone today, he knew what he was up to. That wasn’t the reason for (Ryan) going out, but it worked out good.”

The Cataracts said they will look into getting Brent’s suspension overturned, but are prepared to “adjust and adapt” if he has to sit.

Chad Earle, Dale Sullivan and Andrew Sweetland into an empty net, also scored for the Caribous. Jason Churchill turned aside 31 of 33 shots against.

For the Cats, Andrew Pearcey and Cam Fergus lit the lamp, both on first-period power plays. AJ Whiffen faced 36 shots in the loss.

If the Caribous pull out a win in Game 5, the series moves back to the Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium in Grand Falls-Windsor for Game 6, and, if necessary, Game 7.

Twitter: @telykenn

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Recent comments

  • dexter baggs
    March 30, 2014 - 11:04

    Ask Short who did the spray effect last night . Do he think that just because he played over in Europe last year that he is better than the reffs in the NSHL ..Bit of a hotdog if you ask me... Looked good on him

    • darrell
      March 30, 2014 - 11:56

      Sorry big guy….Short's boys are up 3-1 on your Bous. Looks like the Cats will be the star provincial team at your Allan Cup next year. I know if must hurt your second rate organization. We're still trying to decide if we want to parade around your rink today with the Herder or bring it back home to let our fans see us win. Hee haw.

  • jack robbie
    March 30, 2014 - 08:47

    Way to go... best team has to win!

    • darrell
      March 30, 2014 - 12:00

      They will. Not sure if we want to parade around your rink today or bring it back home next weekend for our own fans to see us win.

  • darrell
    March 30, 2014 - 08:14

    At least the Bous gave a workout last night.