(ISN) – The Cariboo Cougars opened the BC Major Midget League playoffs on a winning note Friday evening, defeating the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds 3-1 in the first game of their best-of-three quarter-final at Kin 1.
Steven Jandric had a goal and an assist in the decisive second period. The Cougars scored twice in the second period to build a three-goal lead, but just as importantly killed off a pair of five-on-three disadvantages.
Keith Redden, Justin Almeida also scored for the Cougars. Brett Clayton replied for the Thunderbirds.
Griffin Outhouse made 27 in net, while Paul Tucek stopped 26 pucks for the Thunderbirds.
Jandric got the Cougars off to a hot start just 18 seconds into the second, generating a turnover in huge Thunderbirds end and finding Almeida with a pass with the Cougars short-handed. Almeida was in alone on a Tucek and had time – he used it finishing with a silky deke.
Jandric got a goal of his own at 11:02 banging a cross-ice pass from Chase DuBois into a wide open cage.
At the other end, the Cougars killed off two five-on-threes, one for 17 seconds and the other for 1:10. During the latter penalty kill Outhouse made a great diving save to keep the Thunderbirds off the board.
Midway through the third Outhouse came up big again stopping Zack McKee on a breakaway.
The Thunderbirds finally did get on board at 13:42 of the third as Clayton banged home a shot down low on the power play. Brice Sharp and David Padgham had the helpers.
Outhouse was the star in the first period, making 13 saves – many with a high degree of difficulty. A couple of pad saves in the first minute kept the Thunderbirds at bay as the visitors came out flying. He used his skate to get just enough of the puck to deflect it wide in the final minute of the period. In between Nic Ponak managed to fire a puck past Outhouse, but he hit the post.
Redden scored the lone goal of the opening period, streaking down the left wing and sneaking a shot short side past Tucek. The unassisted tally came at 16:13.
Game 2 is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday at Kin 1. Game 3, if necessary, is Sunday at 10 a.m., also at Kin 1.