Cats keep Herder at home

Winning at home is special says Gill

Published on March 8, 2015
Cats herder

Published on 08 March 2015

The Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts won 3-2 in overtime Sunday afternoon to claim their second straight Herder Memorial Trophy at home.

Photos by Kevin Higgins photo

gill

Published on 08 March 2015

Andre Gill signs a jersey for young fan Drew Whalen during on ice celebrations following the Cataracts Herder victory.

Photos by Randy Edison photo

whiffen

Published on 08 March 2015

<p>Cats’ defenceman Rudi Short watches as netminder AJ Whiffen makes one of his 49 saves during game four of the Herder Trophy finals Sunday in Grand Falls-Windsor.</p>

Photos by Kevin Higgins photo

net

Published on 08 March 2015

<p>Cats’ defenceman Greg Hoffe, left, tries to clear Royals’ forward Brandon Nicholas from in front of netminder AJ Whiffen during game four of the Herder Trophy finals Sunday in Grand Falls-Windsor.</p>

Photos by Kevin Higgins photo

cats 2

Published on 08 March 2015

<p>Royals’ forward Brandon Nicholas tries to find an opening on Cats’ netminder AJ Whiffen during game four of the Herder Trophy finals Sunday in Grand Falls-Windsor.</p>

Photos by Kevin Higgins photo

penney

Published on 08 March 2015

<p>Cats’ netminder AJ Whiffen stays calm under pressure as Royals’ forward Ryan Penney closes in looking for a loose puck during game four of the Herder Trophy finals Sunday in Grand Falls-Windsor.</p>

Photos by Kevin Higgins photo

Gillis

Published on 08 March 2015

<p>Royals’ netminder Bryan Gillis, despite making 63 saves, couldn’t hide his disappointment when shot 66 found the back of the net to give the Cats the decisive goal in its 3-2 overtime victory. The win also gave the Cats a four-game sweep of the Royals and its back-to-back Herder Trophy championships.</p>

Photos by Kevin Higgins photo

Fergus

Published on 08 March 2015

<p>Cam Fergus celebrated with several Cats’ teammates after potting the Herder Trophy-winning goal in overtime against the Royals on Sunday.</p>

Photos by Kevin Higgins photo

goalies

Published on 08 March 2015

<p>It was an epic battle between Cats’ netminder AJ Whiffen, left, and Royals’ goaltender Bryan Gillis, as the goalies combine for 112 saves Sunday. The combatants congratulated the other following the contest.</p>

Photos by Kevin Higgins photo

herder

Published on 08 March 2015

<p>Taking part in the Herder Trophy presentation were: (from left) Cats’ assistant captain Luke Gallant, HNL representative Jared Butler, HNL representative Gary Gale, HNL representative Murray Roberts, tc• Media representative Kitty Dean, Cats’ captain Mike Brent, Cats’ assistant captain Sam Hounsell, and Cats’ assistant captain Cam Fergus.</p>

Photos by Kevin Higgins photo

celebrate

Published on 08 March 2015

<p>Cats’ netminder AJ Whiffen celebrates with the Herder Trophy.</p>

Photos by Kevin Higgins photo

He’s now been a part of four finals and three Herder Memorial Trophy wins in six years as a member of the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts, but “winning never gets old,” says Andre Gill after raising the province’s top senior hockey prize again at the Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium this afternoon.

“It’s awesome to win this at home,” said the Botwood native in between autographing jerseys for young fans during the on-ice celebration.

“We have three Botwood boys here playing together and that helps make it special,” he told the Advertiser. “The locals around here love the hockey, and I always like winning at home in front of them.”

The Cats edged the Corner Brook Royals on a goal from the slot by Cam Fergus with 5:31 left to play in overtime to claim their second straight title.

Fergus, who was named the winner of the Cliff Gorman Memorial Award as the playoff most valuable player said scoring this championship winner is “way up there” on his list of thrills as a hockey player.

“I’ve been part of lots of championships (including one last year with the Cataracts) but this is my first real championship goal … it’s pretty awesome.”

The win is particularly sweet with this team, he noted.

“We’ve got a special group of players here, especially when you think that we only get to come together on the weekends.”

The Cataracts franchise may be approaching dynasty status with today’s Herder win making it two in a row and three wins in the last five.  

The victory makes it 13 in total for Grand Falls-Windsor including the Andcos who won five from 1955-59.

The Herder was first awarded in 1935.

 

Eight straight

 

“Wow, who would have thought that?” asked Cats head coach Shane Lukinchuk about the team’s eight straight playoff victories on their way to the championship.

They swept the Clarenville Caribous in their semifinal tilt.

“We made it look easy, but it wasn’t,” he continued. “Every game was a battle and I think we just did the little things a little more consistently than the opposition.”

The experience in the dressing room was key as well, the coach added.

“When we looked around the room we realized that three quarters of the guys in there had been in this position before – not only with a chance to win a championship but also being up in a series like this.

“The fourth win is always the toughest and we leaned on that experience.”

The coach said their ability to roll fourth lines through most of the series was also critical.

“We try and get all the guys involved as much as we can, and that shows in games like this.”

Now it’s on to the Allen Cup playdowns in Clarenville in April to try and add a national championship to the provincial crown.

“We’re going to enjoy this now and try and stay in the moment,” said Lukinchuk “But, the Allen Cup was always in the backs of our minds. At the beginning of the season we wanted to stay playing as long as we could and we’re not done yet.”

 

Scoring

 

The two teams battled through a long scoreless section of today’s game.

Andrew Brennan opened the scoring at 3:21 of the first on an assist from Nick Croft.

Mike Sibley upped the lead to 2-0 with a marker at 7:52 of the first, assisted by Alex Dalley and Chris Sparkes.

Dane Marshall drew the Royals to within one before the end of the first period off an assist from Brandon Nicholas.

Ryan Penney knotted the score at 5:04 of the second, with help from Matthew Thomey.

Andre Gill and Greg Hoffe set up the championship winner by Fergus.

Cataracts goalie AJ Whiffen faced 51 shots while Bryan Gillis of the Royals faced 66.

Check out the next edition of the Advertiser print edition for more photos and reaction to the victory.

“It’s awesome to win this at home,” said the Botwood native in between autographing jerseys for young fans during the on-ice celebration.

“We have three Botwood boys here playing together and that helps make it special,” he told the Advertiser. “The locals around here love the hockey, and I always like winning at home in front of them.”

The Cats edged the Corner Brook Royals on a goal from the slot by Cam Fergus with 5:31 left to play in overtime to claim their second straight title.

Fergus, who was named the winner of the Cliff Gorman Memorial Award as the playoff most valuable player said scoring this championship winner is “way up there” on his list of thrills as a hockey player.

“I’ve been part of lots of championships (including one last year with the Cataracts) but this is my first real championship goal … it’s pretty awesome.”

The win is particularly sweet with this team, he noted.

“We’ve got a special group of players here, especially when you think that we only get to come together on the weekends.”

The Cataracts franchise may be approaching dynasty status with today’s Herder win making it two in a row and three wins in the last five.  

The victory makes it 13 in total for Grand Falls-Windsor including the Andcos who won five from 1955-59.

The Herder was first awarded in 1935.

 

Eight straight

 

“Wow, who would have thought that?” asked Cats head coach Shane Lukinchuk about the team’s eight straight playoff victories on their way to the championship.

They swept the Clarenville Caribous in their semifinal tilt.

“We made it look easy, but it wasn’t,” he continued. “Every game was a battle and I think we just did the little things a little more consistently than the opposition.”

The experience in the dressing room was key as well, the coach added.

“When we looked around the room we realized that three quarters of the guys in there had been in this position before – not only with a chance to win a championship but also being up in a series like this.

“The fourth win is always the toughest and we leaned on that experience.”

The coach said their ability to roll fourth lines through most of the series was also critical.

“We try and get all the guys involved as much as we can, and that shows in games like this.”

Now it’s on to the Allen Cup playdowns in Clarenville in April to try and add a national championship to the provincial crown.

“We’re going to enjoy this now and try and stay in the moment,” said Lukinchuk “But, the Allen Cup was always in the backs of our minds. At the beginning of the season we wanted to stay playing as long as we could and we’re not done yet.”

 

Scoring

 

The two teams battled through a long scoreless section of today’s game.

Andrew Brennan opened the scoring at 3:21 of the first on an assist from Nick Croft.

Mike Sibley upped the lead to 2-0 with a marker at 7:52 of the first, assisted by Alex Dalley and Chris Sparkes.

Dane Marshall drew the Royals to within one before the end of the first period off an assist from Brandon Nicholas.

Ryan Penney knotted the score at 5:04 of the second, with help from Matthew Thomey.

Andre Gill and Greg Hoffe set up the championship winner by Fergus.

Cataracts goalie AJ Whiffen faced 51 shots while Bryan Gillis of the Royals faced 66.

Check out the next edition of the Advertiser print edition for more photos and reaction to the victory.