Published on December 04, 2013
DROP IT — Gander Flyers’ captain Peter Campbell drops a pass between his legs before heading to the net during Sunday’s provincial senior hockey league action in Gander. The Flyers took three of four points from the CBN Eastlink CeeBee stars with a win on Saturday night, and a shootout loss on Sunday.
Matt Molloy/The Beacon
Published on December 04, 2013
GONE FOR TWO — The referee raises his hand to call a penalty on CBN Eastlink CeeBees Stars’ defenceman Doug O’Brien, who holds Flyers’ forward Grant Donovan as he goes to the net.
Matt Molloy/The Beacon
Flyers take three of four points from CeeBees
The Gander Flyers broke out of its five-game losing skid on Saturday night with a 7-4 win over the Conception Bay North Eastlink CeeBee Stars.
The Flyers took a 3-2 lead into the third period of that game, where they exploded with four goals to secure the win.
Captain Peter Campbell scored twice in the win, while Andrew White, Chad Locke, Grant Donovan, Rob Mignardi, and Steve Brazil added singles. Three of the Flyers’ seven goals came with the man advantage.
“Overall, I think it was our best non-stop effort,” said Flyers’ defenceman, and Gander’s own, James Keough. “Work ethic-wise, we never slacked off…and everyone was going non-stop every shift, so that had a big part to play in why we were successful, I think.”
“We were definitely happy with the effort. It was one of our only games where we had a full squad and a fully team dressed,” said assistant coach Scott Young, who filled in for head coach Dennis Laing, who was out of town over the weekend. “We came out playing the system, and we worked on a few things earlier in the day in regards to our power play and that seemed to work for us. We had a few little lapses, but that happens with any team in any game.”
The Flyers never got out to the same sort of jump in Sunday’s matinee game, but Keough said that changed as the game went on.
He didn’t believe the Flyers were as physical as they could have been, but when the team decided to play more aggressively, things started to happen.
“We came out slow, and we weren’t playing the body enough, but everyone started bearing down on each play making sure we got the puck out of the zone and things like that,” said Keough. “We started battling harder toward the second-half of the game.”
Regulation ended with both teams tied 3-3, which meant a shootout was needed to declare a winner.
CeeBees’ goalie Joey Perricone allowed one shootout goal on four attempts, while the visiting players went a perfect three-for-three on their attempts, giving the CeeBees a 4-3 win.
However, both Keough and Young were happy with the three-point weekend, and believe it will only help build momentum when the Flyers head to Mount Pearl this weekend to play the fourth-place Blades.
“That effort was all you can ask for. To lose in a shootout, what do you do? It’s like a game of chance, but the three points are huge. We needed it. We’re getting close to the halfway point of the season,” said Keough. “Our power play has finally started to click since we came into the league last year, and that gives us even more confidence. We’re looking forward to playing the Blades. We’ve got to keep going and keep playing hard.”
“When you come out of any weekend in this league with three out of four points, no matter who you’re playing, I think it’s a great weekend,” added Young.
The Flyers, however, will have to move forward without the services of one of its top players, import forward Tyler Whitehead, who will miss the remainder of the regular season due to work commitments.
Whitehead leaves the team with 12 points (2G 10A), which ties him for second on the team with another import forward, Rob Mignardi.
The loss is indeed a big one, but Young said it’s something the team can’t dwell on.
“Tyler was playing great hockey for us, and we’re sad to see him go, but we can’t dwell on it. We have to move forward and we have to think positively,” said Young. “Tyler is gone, but someone else will step in and do the job for us. We can’t worry about who we’re losing because we have to focus on what we have moving forward.”
“We’re losing someone who has been a huge part of this team. He puts up a lot of points and he’s a great guy, but you can’t play hockey forever, and he has to take care of his life commitments,” said Keough. “At the same time, it gives someone else a chance to step up, so it’ll be good that way.”
The Flyers have gotten a lot of production from its three big imports — Campbell, Mignardi, and Whitehead — who have combined for 34 points in 10 games this year.
However, Glovertown’s Grant Donovan leads the team with 13 points, while Andrew White of St. John’s has recorded eight points in his last six games.
Young said having players like White and Donovan producing like they are gives the Flyers more options up front, and with Whitehead gone for the rest of the season, more players will have to continue to step up.
“Our imports are playing great hockey for us, and you need the rest of the players to step up. As the weekends go on and as we get more games under our belt, we’ll continue to get better,” he said. “We’re happy with the play were getting from what we have…and basically what you saw over the weekend is what we have. If we get an injury or if something happens, there’s nobody to step in. In this league, that’s a tough way to play. There’s a league draft coming up Dec. 9, and we’re hoping to add a few players so we can have the bodies to call on whenever we need to.”