It was the Gage Goncalves show on Sunday as his five-goal performance paced the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds to a dominant 7-2 victory over the Cariboo Cougars who saw their 13-game unbeaten streak snapped at Kin 1.
The T-Birds blitzed the Cougars and starting netminder Ryan Buchan out of the gate, storming to a 3-0 after the first period thanks to a pair from Goncalves and a single from Nolan Wall.
“The start wasn’t good enough,” says Cougars Associate Coach RJay Berra. “I think right from the get go they wanted it, credit to them they worked really hard and I think from the first period on we didn’t match that and when we did make our adjustments in the second we already dug ourselves a little bit of a hole.”
The second period began the same way the first, only this time Cariboo lost the opening faceoff while on the power-play and gave up a clear-cut breakaway to Will Dow beating Buchan blocker side for a commanding 4-0 lead.
“Up front we didn’t have enough and on the back end we didn’t have enough, we didn’t help Buchan and failed to pay attention to detail. When you do that wrong it snowballs and it ends up in the back of your net,” added Berra.
The Cougars finally cracked the goose egg later in the period thanks to a pair of goals from Brendan Pigeon and Riley Krane finding a way past T-Birds goalie Dawson Pelletier making it a 4-2 game at that point.
The comeback was short-lived however, as Goncalves scored two more of his five later in the period, restoring Fraser Valley sizeable lead to 6-2 after 40 minutes.
The defending BCMML champion Cougars last loss was opening weekend against the Valley Hawks just over two months ago and had been on a tear coming into Sunday’s matchup.
Did the coaching staff see a game like this coming?
“Anytime you have a streak like ours, eventually there is a popping point on your bubble, I think every team hopes when there streak ends it usually happens in a hard-fought overtime loss or a one-goal game where you felt you deserved a better outcome but today we didn’t give ourselves much of a chance.”
Cariboo remains atop of the BCMML standing with a two point edge over the Valley West Hawks.
The Cougars welcome the Vancouver NW Giants next Saturday and Sunday from Kin 1.
Puck drop for both games is 7 PM and 10 AM.