Cariboo Cougars win home opener

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October 5, 2013, TORONTO – The Cariboo Cougars ran their season-opening winning streak to three games on Saturday, defeating the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds 2-1 at CN Centre.

Chase Dubois potted the winner early in the second period as he combined with Jesse Roach and Steven Jandric to generate chances all game long.

The win was the first on home ice this year for the Cats and the third straight one-goal victory.

The Cougars had a few great chances to add an insurance marker, but both Colton Thomas and Jordan Low rang shots off the iron in the third.

On the game winner, Dubois accepted a feed from Roach in the slot, waited just along for Gunnar Neilsen to make the first move and then beat the Thunderbirds goaltender to the short side at 6:40. Jandric also picked up an assist on the play.

The Cougars put their penalty kills skills on display midway through the second when Fraser Valley had a two-man advantage for 51 seconds. During the five-on-three Cariboo not only prevented the Thunderbirds from getting a shot, the visitors were unable to even get sustained possession in the Cougars’ end.

In all, the Cougars killed off all five of the penalties they were assessed. The Cats finished the game zero for three on the power play.

In the opening 20 minutes, the home had more of the territorial edge as the period went on and eventually the Cougars earned themselves a power play. For most of the man advantage the Cougars weren’t able to generate many chances, but the changed on the final rush as they were able to work the puck down low.

As the Thunderbirds’ penalty expired, Thomas was able to find Donovan Law in front and Law banged it past Neilsen.

The Thunderbirds got it right back, as Andrew Stelezki converted a three-on-two down low just over a minute after the Cougars opened the scoring.

Roach had the best chance for the Cougars early in the opening period, taking a feed from Jandric at the hashmarks, but he wasn’t able to settle the bouncing puck and Neilsen got enough of the high shot to knock it over the net.

Cariboo goaltender Jeremy Matte was the busier of the two netminders through two periods, but was solid between the pipes giving the Thunderbirds few second chances. Matte finished with 28 saves, while Nielsen blocked 29 pucks.

The loss dropped the Thunderbirds to 1-4-0.

The two teams will complete the weekend set on Sunday morning at 9:15 at the Coliseum.