The series is shaping up to be a real nail-biter so far, with both games being won by single-goal margins. The Volant took the first game 6-5 at home in overtime on Friday, but the Cougars bounced back to win 2-1 in front of their fans on Saturday.
Alexandre Saul scored two goals in a losing cause at Gatineau on Friday, Justin Chaumont scored a goal and a helper, Jérémy Marcotte had two assists, Brenden Easterbrook and Simon Levac scored a goal apiece and Zachary Bigras, Thomas Kelly, Zack Labbé and Jake Lalonde each scored assists for the Cougars.
The following day, Saul had another big game with a goal and a helper for the home team. Marcotte notched the other goal for the Cougars and Bigras, Easterbrook and Andy Lightle-Blais scored assists to help Vankleek Hill tie the series 1-1.
Cougars’ Head Coach Franky Dopelhamer is very proud of what his team accomplished over the weekend:
“We were trailing 3-0 after 10 minutes on Friday, so things weren’t looking great for us. But we kept our composure and we came back from behind three times in that game. We even pulled our goalie at the end to force overtime.”
The Cougars were disappointed after the loss, but were able to build on what they accomplished during their comeback to take the next game and tie the series 1-1:
“We should have won that game,” said Coach Dopelhamer. “The only reason we lost is that we made three or four costly mistakes, and the other team able to capitalize every single time. But coming back from behind the way we did on Friday shows a lot of character, and we were able to use that momentum on Saturday. We’re taking things one period at a time.”
A lot of players stepped their game up in the playoffs, according to Dopelhamer: “Alexandre Saul is playing great hockey right now, it feels like he’s on a mission. But he’s not the only one. Guys like Zach Bigras and Simon Levac are really playing well defensively for us. Chaumont is also playing very well, even though he’s not putting up his usual numbers. It’s only a matter of time before the points start piling up because he’s playing the right way.”
The way Dopelhamer sees it, the Cougars have recaptured the momentum in the series and the pressure is now on the Volant to win in front of their fans next Friday: “The momentum is back on our side. There is a lot of confidence in the locker room after our big win on Saturday, and we know we can beat them. Hockey is a game of mistakes, so if we can limit our mistakes and take advantage when they make mistakes, we’ll be in good shape.”
The Cougars and Volant will play in Gatineau on Friday before returning to Vankleek Hill on Saturday. If a fifth game is required to determine the outcome of the series, it will be played on Sunday in Gatineau.