The Cougars were celebrating their 30th anniversary during the game against the Rockets on Saturday, and founders Ian MacRae, Charlie Bernique, Garry Barton and Joe Kelly were in attendance. As a part of the Champlain Township Winter Carnival festivities, the first 50 fans were admitted to the game for free and also received free popcorn.
The teams seemed pretty evenly matched early on, until the Rockets exploded at the end of the first period, scoring three goals in under two minutes. The visiting team then added another four goals in the second period and another in the third to finally beat the Cougars 8-3.
Vankleek Hill did manage to rally and score three goals in the third period to avoid getting shut out. Justin Chaumont scored two goals and Zachary Bigras scored one for the home team, while Brenden Easterbrook, Jérémy Marcotte, Joshua Renaud and Maxim Rozon each scored an assist in the loss.
According to Cougars’ Head Coach Franky Dopelhamer, the team built upon their scoring outburst at the end of the game to carry that momentum into the game against the St-Isidore Eagles on the following day: “That was a tough game for us. We kept making unforced errors and allowing odd-man rushes that often lead to scores. But we had a little more success offensively in the third period, and we were able to build on that success to carry the momentum into the game against the Eagles.”
Vankleek Hill played a perfect game against St-Isidore, scoring two goals and shutting out the home team to secure the win. Nicholas Campbell and Joshua Renaud each scored a goal for the Cougars, with Justin Chaumont, and Nathan Sauvé notching assists in the victory.
The Cougars are playing for .500 this season and currently sit in 5th place in the NCJHL general standings, tied with the Eagles three points behind the Gatineau-Hull Volant. They will face off against the Eagles and the Rockets once again this week, and the result of those games will determine the standings for the playoffs.