Cougars edge Canadians

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Allan Bristowe, Media Director

December 14, 2013, Fort St. James (ISN) – The Cariboo Cougars got a warm welcome in Fort St. James on Saturday night and didn’t disappoint the crowd with a thrilling 3-2 win against the Greater Vancouver Canadians.

Jesse Roach scored twice, including the winner with just 1:17 to go in the third. Colton Thomas aslo scored for the Cougars as the BC Major Midget League team moved its home game up Highway 27 to the Fort Forum due to a city labour dispute in Prince George.

Braeden Gurney and Scott Munro replied for the Canadians.

With the game knotted 2-2, Roach won a face-off in the Cougars end and three Cariboo players quickly broke out on a 3-on-1 break. Steven Jandric drew a defender to him and then fed Roach who beat Canadians goalie Tyler Shugrue.

For the Cougars (9-12-2) the victory snaps a six-game winless streak dating back to mid-November.

The Cougars never trailed and held a 2-0 lead heading into the final stanza.

The Canadians (11-11-1) scored twice early in the third to tie the score, first Gurney scored after some miscommunication in front of the Cougars net then Munro was johnny on the spot when the puck took an unexpected bounce off the end boards.

Jeremy Matte preserved the points for the Cougars stopping Owen Siedel on a breakaway and then making another big save as the Canadians had a 3-on-1 rush with two minutes to play.

Roach opened the scoring just over 11 minutes into the first when he converted right off a face-off in the Canadians end. His unassisted tally came mere seconds after the Cougars were given their third power play of the period.

Earlier in the frame Cariboo had a two-man advantage for 1:28, but the Canadians successfully killed that one off.

Thomas extended the Cougars lead to 2-0 late in the second when he banged a rebound past Shagrue.

Jeremy Matte came up big in net in the second, his biggest save coming off the stick of Kyle Uy from point blank range. Joshua Murphy had the best opportunity for the visitors when a bounce off the end boards fooled Matte, but with the Cougars goalie out of position, the Canadians forward as unable to convert.

Greg Dakus had a great chance for the Cougars midway through the second, but Shagrue got his pad over in time to make a toe save at the side of the net.

The Cougars and Canadians are two of six teams separated by just five points in the tight middle section of the BCMML standings. Heading into the weekend the Canadians led that group with 23 points, good for fourth overall. The Cougars, sitting on 18 points were in eighth place.

The Cougars closed that gap on Saturday and will look to bring the two teams even closer on Sunday morning.

The two teams will be back in Prince George on Sunday to conclude the weekend set at 10 a.m. at CN Centre.

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