by Peter James
(ISN) – The Cariboo Cougars ended the first half of their BC Major Midget League season on a high, completing a weekend sweep against the defending league champion Okanagan Rockets with a 3-0 win at Kin 1.
Austin Gray, Keith Redden and Chase DuBois scored for the Cougars, while Dorrin Luding made 23 saves to get the shutout between the pipes.
The Cougars further cemented their position in first place with the win and move to 17-2-1 on the year. The third-place Rockets are 13-6-1.
Gray opened the scoring at 12:44 of the second, burying a low shot past Rockets goalie Cole Demers on a short-handed breakaway. Joel Patsey set up the play with a lob clearance that served as the breakaway pass. Alex Hanson also picked up an assist.
Gray’s goal came minutes after DuBois almost scored on his own short-handed break. DuBois was in alone, but clanged one off the post.
The short-handed chances were a necessity as the Cougars spent the better part of the period a man down. Luding made some great stops to keep the Rockets off the scoresheet in the middle frame, including showing great reflexes to block a Marcus Mitchell tip shot in tight.
Redden’s one-timer at 8:52 of the third gave the Cougars a two-goal cushion. Hanson and Wesley Shipton set up the pretty goal with some tic-tac-toe passing.
With the Cougars on a two-man advantage late in the third DuBois made it 3-0. He took a feed in the high slot, took a moment to settle himself, and then fired a laser of a shot off the post and in. Patsey and Justin Almeida got the assists.
There were plenty of scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes as both teams generated odd-man rushes. Steven Jandric, Austin Gray and Colton Thomas broke in on a three-on-one for the Cougars, but defenceman Connor Bowey stymied them with a great defensive play.
Moments later it was Cougars’ defenceman Jesse Pomeroy who came up big, knocking down a pass as the Rockets broke in two-on-one.
Demers had 26 saves in a losing effort for the Rockets.
The Cougars are back on home ice next weekend when the Thompson Blazers visit Kin 1. Game times are 7:15 p.m. on Saturday and 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.