Kyle McGuirk scored the game-inning goal on a third-period power play as the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts worked their way back from a 3-1 deficit to edge the Southern Shore Puglisevich Breakers 4-3 Saturday night in Torbay in the opening game of the Herder Memorial Trophy provincial senior hockey championship series.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven matchup is 2 p.m. this afternoon at the Jack Byrne Arena in Torbay.
If Saturday’s opening tilt is any indication, goaltending will bea main story line of this Herder final. The Cataracts’ A.J. Whiffen made 42 saves in Game 1, including stopping all 18 shots he faced in the third period. At the other end of the ice, the Breakers’ Mark Yetman registered 49 saves.
Southern Shore, which came out of the East Division after defeating the defending Herder champion Clarenville Caribous and then the Conception Bay Blues, had a good start Saturday. The Breakers owned a 2-0 lead eight minutes into the game on goals by Peter Kavanagh and Daniel Cadigan. Veteran Andre Gill got the Central Division champion Cataracts on the board before the end of the opening frame, but the Breakers re-established their two-goal lead when Cadigan scored again early in the second.
That would be it scoring wise for Southern Shore, but not for Grand Falls-Windsor. Danny Wicks and playing coach Patrick Yetman delivered goals for the Cats before the end of the middle period, setting the stage for the third.
Through 40 minutes, Grand Falls-Windsor had been tagged with three of the four minors that were assessed, but it was the Breakers who got into penalty trouble in the third as they took all three handed out in the period. That included a roughing call that sent Kavanagh to the box, soon followed by a tripping minor to captain Jeremy Nicholas. That gave the Cataracts a five-on-three advantage for over half a minute, and while Southern Shore survived that stretch to get Kavanagh free, McGuirk and the Grand Falls power play got the goal they wanted at 14:28 while Nicholas was still serving his time.
The Breakers had over five minutes left in which to find a tying goal, but couldn’t beat Whiffen, even with Yetrman on the bench for an extra attacker in the game’s final minute.
After today, the Herder final moves Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium in Grand Falls-Windsor, where thee games are scheduled next weekend.
If the series goes beyond five contests, it’s back to Torbay for a game, or games, on the Easter weekend. The Breakers’ normal base is the Southern Shore Arena in Mobile, but the newer, larger Jack Byrne Arena is their home for the Herder final.