The Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts are two-games deep in what promises to be an exciting playoff series against the Corner Brook Royals.
The team kicked off the best four out of seven series at home this past weekend on home ice in front of capacity crowds.
Despite a short start time delay, Saturday night's game kicked off with an exciting pre-game ceremony for the Cataracts' to honour players that had been given special recognition by the Newfoundland Senior Mens' Hockey League (NLSHL) for their contributions throughout the season.
The Cataracts' Martin Lapointe was given the league's defenceman of the year award, while Mark Yetman was honoured as the NLSHL's top goalie.
The Cataracts organization also gave out two of its own awards on Saturday night. Their most valuable player award and their Bucky Hanniford Memorial Award for the player who showed the most dedication to the Cataracts on and off the ice both went to player Andre Gill.
"All these players I think are very well deserving of their awards. They're (all) valuable players," said Cats coach Brian Casey. "It's a great achievement."
After the formalities were over the game got underway, albeit slightly later than usual.
The Cataracts got off to a promising start when they nabbed the first goal on a power play six minutes into the first. After ten minutes of defending their nets, another goal was scored, this time by the Royals, leaving the game tied 1-1 at the end of the first.
It was all downhill for the hometown team after that; the Royals scored another two goals in the second period, and a third early in the last period.
Cataracts' Mike Brent managed to sink one past Corner Brook's goalie with just over three minutes left to the game, but the Royals scored again with twenty seconds remaining.
The first game of the playoff round went to the Royals, with a score of 5-2.
Sunday night's game also started off looking good for the Cataracts. Matt Quinn got one through the Royals' defence just 16 seconds into game play. The Royals tied it up on a power play eight minutes in.
It wasn't long before the Cataracts took the lead again; they scored two power play goals before the end of the period, sending them into the second with a two goal lead.
The second period was a scoreless one, with both teams fighting neck and neck. Between the first two periods, the Cats racked up six penalties while the Royals had nine calls against them.
The third period saw two goals by the Royals players leaving the game at a 3-3 tie at the end, forcing the game into overtime.
It didn't take long, however, to settle the score; 17 seconds into the five-minute overtime period, Mike Sibley, with an assist by Quinn and David Philpott scored on the Royals, winning the game for the Cataracts.
Despite splitting the series, Casey said he's pleased with the outcome of the weekend and said his team is ready to take on the Royals at the Pepsi Centre for games three and four this weekend.
"I have to give credit to Corner Brook (on Saturday), I thought we played a really good first period, we got the start we wanted but they outworked us through most of the game," said Casey.
He added that he thought their goalie put in an exceptional two games.
"I liked our intensity level in (Sunday's) game. The effort was there; I thought for the most part we played a complete game, and we have to bring that same effort to Corner Brook (next) weekend," Casey said. "You don't want to drop two games at home, I'm glad we came back (on Sunday.) This is, more than anything, a confidence builder for us."