The Volant took a 2-1 lead in the first period before adding two more unanswered goal in the second period to finally beat the Cougars 5-2. Sam Guay and Alexandre Saul scored the two markers for Vankleek Hill, while Brenden Easterbrook notched two assists and Zack Labbé added one of his own.
Cougars’ Head Coach Franky Dopelhamer is pretty disappointed with his team’s performance in the final game: “Honestly, it was not a good game for us. Maybe there was nervousness on our part, but we didn’t show up during the biggest moment and there is no excuse for that. All the other games were nail-biters, but this time we were out-shot and out-played. We may have been a little unlucky – we hit the post like five times – but they were still the better team.”
The way the final game played out made the ending of the Cougars’ playoff run more bitter than bittersweet: “It was a weird season, but it was weird for everybody.” said Dopelhamer, “I was hoping we would play at least a couple of games over .500; I was hoping we would make it through the first round of the playoffs and get to the semi-finals, so I feel like we underperformed.”
But the Cougars are a young team, and the fact that most of the team could be coming back next is a silver lining for the fans: “We are a very young team, especially on defense. We’re only losing 4 21-year-olds next year, so we have a solid foundation to build on if everyone decides to come back.”
As far as the coaching staff, the situation will be re-evaluated during the off-season, according to Dopelhamer: “I can’t guarantee that I’ll be back coaching the Cougars next year. We’ll sit down with management and evaluate the situation to figure out the best way to move forward.” But Dopelhamer would love to see a new generation of talent leading the Cougars eventually: “The owners, we have sons who all love hockey and might be interested in taking over management duties eventually, and we would love to see them carry on the Cougars’ legacy.”