(ISN) – The Cariboo Cougars were unable to capitalize on their momentum from their Mac’s Midget AAA Tournament title, dropping a 3-2 decision on Saturday to the visiting Vancouver NE Chiefs at Kin 1.
In their first game since the tournament win in Calgary over the holidays, the Cougars couldn’t generate enough offence in a match up of the two highest-scoring teams in the BC Midget Hockey League.
Alex Hanson and Colton Thomas scored for the Cougars, who fall to 22-4-1 on the year.
Thomas Semple with a pair and Caleb Fantillo tallied for the Chiefs, who improve to 16-8-3.
Semple broke a 2-2 tie with a shorthanded breakaway with seven minutes to play in the third. His shot beat Cougars goalie Griffin Outhouse on the glove side.
The goal capped an offensive flurry in an otherwise defensive game. At 11:10 of the third Thomas deflected a shot over Chiefs goalie Liam McCloskey to even the score. Jeremy Gervais and Mitchell Williams got the assists.
The Chiefs took their second lead of the game at 10:15 when Fantillo scored on the power play, set up by Ziyan Karim and Parker Colley.
The Cougars did have one great chance to tie the game when Brenden Moore was awarded a penalty shot with 2:08 to play after getting hooked on a breakaway. But he wasn’t able to get a great shot away on the solo rush and McCloskey made the save.
Semple got the Chiefs on the board with the lone goal of the opening period. At 10:06 he converted a pass from Colley, lifting a quick shot over Outhouse. Harris Pearce also assisted on the talley.
The goal came shortly after the Cougars had killed off two penalties.
The home team got off to a hot start, generating five shots in the first four minutes and using an aggressive forecheck to generate chances.
Hanson got the Cougars back on even terms at 3:06 of the second. After blocking a Chiefs point shot to start a Cougars’ rush, Moore and Wesley Shipton generated another turnover in the Chiefs end and Hanson finished the play off with a nifty goal.
The Cougars had a great chance to grab the lead late in the second, but were unable to capitalize on a lengthy two-man advantage.
The teams complete the weekend set at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday at Kin 1.