For the second straight day a second period scoring outburst paced the Cariboo Cougars in a win over the Thompson Blazers in BC Major Midget League action.
The Cougars overcame an early deficit to beat the Blazers 6-3 on Sunday at CN Centre for their third win in four games since the calendar flipped over to 2014. The win moves them to 13-15-2 on the year, good for sixth in the league.
Steven Jandric, affiliate player Darren Hards and Isaiah Berra all scored in the decisive second period on Sunday as the Cougars followed up on Saturday's 8-3 win over the Blazers with another victory.
Jandric, with his second of the game and third of the weekend, Riley Pettitt and Mitch Williams also scored for the Cougars. Jacob Faraday, Josh Pilon and Gordon Keaton replied for the Blazers, who fall to 4-20-6.
Down one heading into the second, Jandric erased that deficit less than a minute into the frame, sliding home a goal set up by Pettitt and Greg Dakus.
Hards put the Cougars up for good, poking a wraparound past Blazers starter Bailey De Palma, assisted by Colton Thomas and Carson Stephen.
Berra potted his third off the weekend on the power play to make it 4-2. With the Blazers down two men, the Cougars patiently worked the puck around until Jandric found Berra in front and he fired it home. Bryan Allbee also got an assist.
Pettitt added an insurance marker in the third when he wrapped one in from behind the net, set up by Brendan Moore with less than six to play
Less than a minute later Jandric deflected in his second of the game, set up by Jesse Roach and Berra.
The Blazers got one back late Faraday capitalized on a broken play in the Cougars end. Cole Clifford and Cole Perison got the assists.
Despite controlling the play for much of the first period, the Cougars found themselves down 2-1 after 20 minutes.
Williams opened the scoring for the home side on the power play when he took a long cross-ice pass from Scott Cullen and deposited it behind De Palma. Carson Stephen also picked up an assist.
The Blazers, who had just one shot on goal in the first half of the period, came on strong in the latter stages. Pilon struck first finishing off a passing play set up by Dante Caillier and Alex Winters. Gordon Keaton put the visitors ahead when he scored off the rush, firing a shot mid-stride past Matte. Nii Noi Tetteh and Cody Allen got the assists.
Jeremy Matte got the win for the second straight day, making 20 saves. De Palma blocked 22 pucks.
The Cougars hit the road next weekend with a trip to Cranbrook to play the Kootenay Ice. Cariboo returns home on Feb. 8 to play the South Island Royals at 1 p.m. at CN Centre.
Last Updated on Sunday, 26 January 2014 20:38
The Cariboo Cougars rode a quartet of power-play goals to an 8-3 win over the Thompson Blazers on Saturday at CN Centre.
Jesse Roach, Scott Cullen and Isaiah Berra all scored second-period goals as the Cougars capitalized on three straight power plays to take control of the game and improve to 12-15-2 on the year. Thomas Webster added the fourth power-play goal late in the third.
Chase Dubois, Greg Dakus, Steven Jandric and Berra got the other goals for the Cougars, who controlled the game from start to finish. Colton Thomas had three assists.
After failing to generate any goals on their first three power play chances of the game, the Cougars got things going midway through the second in large part thanks to the work of those manning the points. Already leading 2-1, the three goals broke the game open.
First it was Thomas who rung a long-range shot off the post and after the puck bounced off Blazers starting goalie Daniel Toews, Roach poked it home. Then it was Cullen's turn and his point shot beat a screened Toews, with Brendan Moore picking up the lone assist.
The Blazers switched goalies, sending in Bailey De Palma, but the Cougars still converted their next power play chance. Once again it was a Thomas shot that got things started. His point blast was wide of the mark, but Berra collected the rebound off the end boards and scored. Bryan Allbee also got an assist as the Cougars took a 5-1 lead into the third period.
The Blazers made a game of it in the third as Gordon Keaton scored right off a face-off and then set up a Nii Noi Tettah goal a minute later to cut the Cougars' lead in half.
The Cariboo defence tightened up after that and the Cougars restored their big advantage. First Thomas set up Dubois, with Allbee getting an assist, then Dakus tipped home a Riley Pettitt shot.
Webster rounded out the scoring with a shot from the high slot.
The loss dropped the Blazers to 4-19-6 on the year.
The Cougars top offensive line generated both Cariboo goals in the first period. Less than three minutes into the game Roach did the heavy lifting getting the puck into the Blazers zone and slid it front. In the ensuing scramble Berra buried it past Toews.
After the Blazers tied it midway through the period when Zander Buchanon tipped home an Alex Astasiewicz point shot, the Cougars took the lead a second time.
Jandric was the beneficiary of a beautiful passing play. Roach fed Berra in front and rather than shoot he passed off to Jandric at the side of the net. All Jandric had to was tap the puck into the open net.
Jeremy Matte made 16 saves for the Cougars - 13 of those in the third period. Toews had 19 saves for the Blazers and De Palma blocked seven pucks.
The two teams complete the weekend set back at the CN Centre on Sunday at 10 a.m.
Last Updated on Sunday, 26 January 2014 02:55
The Cariboo Cougars have played just two league games in the past month, but that's about to change as they begin the stretch drive in the B.C. Major Midget League this weekend with a pair of games against the Thompson Blazers.
Cougars head coach Bryan MacLean said the light schedule to start 2014 has given the team a chance to rest injured players and regroup in advance of the playoff push.
"It's been a good month, we've been at home and we've been able to rest and relax and get our heads in the right space," he said.
The break between games has also given the coaches a chance to work on a few things they feel need to be improved during the closing weeks of the regular season.
First up are the Blazers who are near the bottom of the BCMML standings with a 4-18-6 record, 10 points behind the 11-15-2 Cougars. But MacLean knows they can't take the visitors lightly as the Blazers have been playing better in recent weeks.
"They've won three games in the last little while, including one against the [Vancouver] Chiefs last weekend," the coach said. "They're doing things the right way right now and playing spoiler a little bit."
The Cougars enter the weekend in seventh place in the standings, but are just one point behind the North Island Silvertips with two games in hand.
Over the next four weeks the Cougars will play eight games against teams in the bottom half of the standings. Win those and they'll have a chance to climb the ladder, but stumbling could cost them a playoff spot.
As the Cougars play teams for a second time this year, MacLean and the coaching staff can use the video they shot earlier in the season to get players ready for what to expect. And MacLean thinks his team is ready to put those lessons into action this weekend as the teams meet twice at the CN Centre. Saturday's game is set for 4:15 p.m. and the rematch on Sunday is scheduled for 10 a.m.
"If we play the way we want to play the way we want to play and get to it early and do it for 120 minutes, I think we're going to like where we're at, at the end of the day," he said.
Last Updated on Friday, 24 January 2014 08:05
Four members of the Cariboo Cougars participated in the annual BC Major Midget All-star game Friday night. Forward Jesse Roach and General Manager Trevor Sprague were a part of Team Blue. Steven Jandric and Bryan Allbee suited up for Team White. While Jandric was the only one to get on the score sheet with an assist. Team Blue would prevail 8-6. The Cats are off this weekend, but will return to action next weekend when they host the Thompson Blazers.
Last Updated on Saturday, 18 January 2014 06:05
Heading into the season, Cariboo Cougars forward Jesse Roach wasn't quite sure how his game would adjust to the B.C. Major Midget League.
As it turns out, the big forward from Quesnel had nothing to worry about. Not only does he lead the Cougars in scoring this year, Roach is also one of four Cariboo representatives who will be heading to Langley on Friday night for the league's annual all-star game.
"It's definitely a privilege, it was one of the goals I set for myself at the start of the year," Roach said of the all-star appearance.
He'll be joined on the ice by linemate Steven Jandric and defenceman Bryan Allbee. General manger Trevor Sprague rounds out the Cariboo contingent and will be making his seventh straight appearance at the game in a coaching or managerial role.
Roach will be wearing Team Blue's colours when the puck drops and will be up against both Jandric and Allbee who have been selected for Team White.
"It will definitely be fun to play against some of the guys on the team," Roach said.
He's looking forward to the game and maybe picking up a few things from his all-star teammates that he can apply to his game with the Cougars.
At six-foot-four and 191 pounds, Roach is one of the more imposing players on the Cariboo roster. He said he aims to play a power forward style game to go along with his finishing ability around the net. In 28 games this season he has 15 goals and 22 assists.
Many of those points have come playing alongside fellow all-star Jandric.
"He's definitely a great player and fun to play with," he said. "I know he can put the puck in the net."
While there may have been some uncertainty joining his new team this year, Roach said making the jump to major midget this year was made a little bit easier thanks to his Western Hockey League training camp experience.
"I thought it would be a lot more difficult to adjust to the league, but going to Vancouver's training camp this summer really helped me," he said.
Roach's play has picked up and he proved that by being named the Cariboo Cougars player of the month for December and was a runner up for the BC Major Midget Player of the Month. He hopes to keep up his solid all-star play the rest of the season.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:07