© Kathy Gosse photo
Caribous’ goaltender Devin O’Brien faced a bottleneck of players in front of his net during first period action against the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts Sunday afternoon at the Clarenville Events Centre.
As the clock ticked down the final seconds of Sunday's game, Caribou fans at the Clarenville Events Centre began chanting, "We're number one. We're number one."
After dropping Saturday night's game to the visiting Grand Falls-
Windsor Cataracts 6-3 the Clarenville Caribous rebounded for a convincing 6-1.
Setting up between the pipes in Sunday's contest was backup goaltender Devin O'Brien. O'Brien was playing in his seventh game, filling in for Jason Churchill, in the Caribous final game of the regular season.
The win for O'Brien was his sixth of the season and also put the Caribous in first place for the regular season in the Newfoundland and Labrador Senior Hockey League.
O'Brien turned away 39 of the 40 shots he faced in the game.
The opening period belonged to the goaltenders as O'Brien and Cataracts netminder turned away every shot they faced. The Cats had the shot advantage in the opening period with 15 while the Caribous managed nine shots on Yetman.
The Caribous capitalized on a powerplay advantage at the start of the second period. Just 50 seconds into the period Brandon Roach fired the puck past Cataracts netminder Mark Yetman. Ryan Desrosiers and Steve Yetman picked up assists.
The lead was short-lived as the Cataracts replied with a goal by Chris Peach 20 seconds later. David Philpott and Tyler Whitehead picked up the assists.
The teams remained tied until 4:44 of the second when Caribous forward Mitch Bragg picked up a pass from the Steve Oates and fired past Cataracts Yetman to give the Caribous a 2-1 lead.
The Caribous added to their lead lead when Ryan Desrosiers tipped the puck into the goal on a pass from behind the net from Chris Hulit.
Shots on net after two periods of play were Caribous 25 and the Cataracts with 24.
The Caribous kept pressing on offence and with five and a half minutes gone in the third period Andrew Sweetland streaked down the right win and got off a shot that skipped through the crease. However, Cataracts goaltender managed to reach out and corral the puck before it slipped over the goal line.
Another rush led by Caribous Ryan Desrosiers saw the forward fired a hard wrist shot. But Yetman stood his ground in net for the Cataracts.
At 8:42 of the third frame Jordan Smith let go a blast from just inside the blue line that Chris Hulit redirected into the back of the net to lift the Caribous into a 4-1 lead.
Sweetland gave the home team a 5-1 lead when he picked up an errant Cataracts pass deep in the Cataracts zone. Sweetland moved into the slot and fired a wrist shot into the back of he net.
With 8:35 remaining to play in the third things got a little testy on the Grand Falls-Windsor bench. The team was assessed a two minute bench minor and then a second two minute bench minor after someone threw a water bottle onto the ice.
The Caribous put the game out of reach after Hulit scored on a pass from Yetman and Desrosiers at 13:04 of the period.
The Caribous have this weekend off as they wait for the remaining four teams to finish out their regular season games.
As for whom they will play in the playoffs has yet to be decided.
This weekend the Mount Pearl Blades host the Cataracts in their final two games of regular season play while the Corner Brook Royals host the Conception Bay North Stars in their final games of regular season play.