For the 8th straight year the Cariboo Cougars have been invited to the Macs Midget AAA Tournament in Calgary, Alberta. The team is looking to build off last years performance making it the farthest the team has ever gone, making it to the quarter finals where they fell in over time to the Czech Republic team Pirati Chumotov. This year the team is working hard to make it past that stage and onto winning the championship. The tournament will be held December 26th to January 1st.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 08:06
Jesse Roach scored the winning goal midway through the third period on Sunday morning at CN Centre as the Cariboo Cougars completed a weekend sweep of the North Island Silvertips with a 5-2 win.
The Cougars over came a two-goal first period deficit to get their third win in four games and leapfrog the South Island Royals in the BCMML standings. At 8-7-1, the Cougars are now three points up on the Silvertips (6-8-2).
Riley Pettitt, Steven Jandric, Cole Morris and Greg Dakus also scored for the Cougars, while Lane Delfs made 25 saves to get the win between the pipes.
With the score tied 2-2 in the third and Silvertips captain Joe Surgenor in the penalty box, the Cougars got their first lead of the game. Isaiah Berra's shot was stopped by John Hawthorne, but Roach was hanging out at the side of the net and squeezed the rebound in for the game winner.
Morris and Dakus added empty net goals in the final minute to ice the victory.
Down 2-0 after 20 minutes, the Cougars rallied to tie the score in the second. First Pettitt faked a pass on a two-on-one break and elected to shoot, beating Hawthorne over the shoulder at 8:50. The goal came moments after defenceman Todd Bredo did a great job breaking up an odd-man rush by the Silvertips.
With less than two minutes to go in the stanza, the Cougars were awarded a two-man advantage and wasted no time taking advantage. Just 17 seconds into the five-on-three, Jandric converted a tic-tac-toe passing play to even the score at 18:36. Bryan Allbee and Dakus were credited with the assists.
The Hunter Findlater, Surgenor, Trent Bell trio did all the damage in the first period for the Silver-tips. Just over three minutes into the game Findlater spun around in the slot and fired a quick shot, Delfs made the save but Surgenor buried the rebound. Bell also picked up an assist.
At 15:56 Findlater found Bell cutting across the crease and Bell slid it home. Surgenor picked up the other assist.
The Silvertips had another great chance late in the period, but Delfs came up big stopping Grady McInnes on a clear-cut breakaway to keep the Cougars within striking distance.
The Cougars finished the night two for four on the power play, while the Silvertips came up empty on three man advantage chances.
Hawthorne made 21 saves in a losing effort.
The Cougars have six straight road games come up, beginning with a two-game set next weekend in Kelowna against the league-leading Okanagan Rockets. The team's next home game is Dec. 14 at 4:15 p.m. at CN Centre when they host the Greater Vancouver Canadians.
Last Updated on Sunday, 17 November 2013 23:37
Chase Dubois scored a hat trick on Saturday afternoon at CN Centre as the Cariboo Cougars opened a weekend set against the North Island Silvertips with a 6-2 win.
The Steven Jandric, Jesse Roach and Isaiah Berra line also combined for three goals and eight points as Cariboo crept back up to the .500 mark with a 7-7-1 record and moved one point ahead of the Silvertips (6-7-2).
With the score tied 2-2 midway through the second, Dubois got his second of the game to put the Cougars in front for good. The play began with Cole Morris streaking down the left wing, but when he went to get a shot away his stick broke in half. Morris kept the play alive with his skates and eventually the puck worked its way in front to Dubois who beat Silvertips starter John Hawthorne with a backhand at 11:11.
Berra found the back of the net just over a minute later to give the Cougars a two-goal lead. The big forward cut in front of the net, got a shot away from the slot, collected his own rebound and beat Hawthorne.
After allowing four goals on 22 shots, Hawthorne made way for Liam Young in the Silvertips net. Young allowed two goals on 16 shots.
Jeremy Matte went the distance for the Cougars making 17 saves - including stopping a partial breakaway from Hunter Findlater and clearcut breakaway by Clayton Peace.
Dubois completed the hat trick on the power play in the third with a shot from the high slotat 5:56, Thomas Webster got the assist. Just over a minute later Jandric made it 6-2, with Roach picking up the assist at 7:25.
Jandric also opened the scoring at 6:42 of the first period when he dug around in the crease, eventually finding the rebound from a Roach shot and sliding it home before the net was knocked off its supports. Berra also picked up an assist on the play.
The goal came after the Cougars dominated the early moments of the first period, getting the first eight shots of the game and buzzing around the Silvertips zone with sustained pressure.
Dubois gave the Cougars a two-goal lead heading into the first intermission when his centering pass on the power play bounced off a body and into the net at 17:04. Scott Cullen got the lone assist.
Findlater scored twice early in the second to draw the Silvertips even. His first goal came on a nice individual effort weaving his way through the Cougars defence and lifting a shot over Matte at 2:15. He found the five-hole for his second of the night at 6:57.
The Cougars finished the night two for 11 on the power play, while the Silvertips failed to score on six man advantage chances.
The teams will complete the weekend set on Sunday at 10:15 a.m. at CN Centre.
Last Updated on Sunday, 17 November 2013 04:23
As one of the few veterans on a team full of rookies, Cariboo Cougars captain Scott Cullen sees his role as helping many of his teammates adjust to life in the B.C. Major Midget League.
"I've just got to show the guys the ropes," the physical blue-liner said when asked to describe the leadership role he's taken on this year. "I'll echo the coaches a lot, they say a lot of good stuff, we just need to drill the coaches' words into the new guys' heads."
Cullen likes to lead by example on the ice and at practice. He values hard work and said his game is predicated on making the right play at the right time. Although he doesn't rack up huge offensive numbers, his consistent play allows coaches to use him in all situations.
The five-foot-nine, 170-pound Prince George product also likes to inject some energy into the game by throwing his weight around. His open-ice hitting ability was on display two weeks ago when the Cougars hosted Kootenay and Cullen separated two Ice players from the puck with clean checks.
With last year's experience under his belt, Cullen is more confident in his own abilities this year which he said has translated into a more comfortable style of play on the ice.
"It's fun to play with that extra year of confidence underneath me," he said.
Cullen admitted it's been a bumpy start for the Cougars who have grown accustomed to being near the top of the standings, but he's been impressed with how the team has grown over the first phase of the season and is looking forward to big things as the year goes on.
"We'll be good by the time the playoffs come, we'll be ready to go," he said.
The Cougars (6-7-1) are back on home ice this weekend as they host the North Island Silvertips for a pair at the CN Centre. The teams open the set on Saturday at 4:15 p.m. and will meet in the rematch on Sunday at 10 a.m.
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 November 2013 06:39
There was more of a silver lining than just the medals around the necks of Cariboo Cougars forward Colton Thomas and general manager Trevor Sprague after last week's Western Canada U16 Canada Cup in Calgary.
The two members of the Cougars helped B.C. win silver at the four-team tournament sponsored by the WHL, and just as importantly learned lessons about what it takes to succeed at an elite level.
"I learned how hard you have to work to be a great player," Thomas said this week after rejoining his B.C. Major Midget team at practice. "It's the best feeling you can have, supporting your province and you have a whole bunch of people supporting you."
Thomas said Team B.C. bonded quickly and became friends on and off the ice. Over the coming months Thomas will see many of his former provincial teammates again in opposition colours as the Cougars continue their BCMML season.
"I made a lot of new friends there, but when game time comes there are no friends when the puck drops," he said, before adding with a smile. "Maybe I know some of their plays."
As head coach of Team B.C., Sprague got to see first hand how Thomas could adjust to the next level. He said the forward improved as the week went on and did all the coaching staff asked of him.
"Coming from Williams Lake, they've done a great job to get him to be here and playing as a Cariboo Cougar and that was a big deal for him," Sprague said of Thomas. "But there's even a big jump when you get into a [provincial] program and play for a team B.C., there's a whole level of talent and skill and accountability on every shift."
Team B.C. won its first two games of the round robin, with wins over Saskatchewan and Manitoba - the latter game was Thomas' tournament highlight - before dropping back-to-back close games to Alberta, including a 4-2 result in the final.
Sprague said the team did a good job coming together in a short amount of time and credited team captain Dante Fabbro for helping to make that happen.
"It was good to be in the final dance, that's where you want to be," he said. "We turned some heads and I think we made it further than a lot of our critics thought we would."
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 November 2013 05:35