The Vankleek Hill Cougars crushed the Metcalfe Jets in a 9-1 victory Saturday Febuary 3, but failed to get their second win of the weekend in a closely fought 5-4 defeat against the Gatineau-Hull Volant at Centre Slush Puppie in Gatineau Sunday Afternoon in their final two games of the regular season.
The Cougars put on a show for the home fans in Vankleek Hill Saturday night, giving no chance to the visiting Jets. Alexander Perry and Andy Lightle-Blais each scored two goals. Other goals came from Joshua Desjardins, Maxime Laliberté, Zachary Bigras and Jacob Crête. The Jet’s only goal came from Simon Gagné.
The Cougars failed to repeat Saturday night’s result against Gatineau, a team that has seemingly been unbeatable this season, on Sunday afternoon.
Shayne Lafleur and Guillaume Durocher scored the first two goals for Gatineau, but Jacob Crête pulled a goal back to make the game 2-1 at the end of the second period.
The Cougars then tied the game early in the second period with a goal from Andy Lightle-Blais. Shayne Lafleur then scored his second of the game to give the lead back to Gatineau.
Zachary Bigras tied the game back up to 3-3 in the early third period, but the Cougars couldn’t get a hold of the lead. Julien Arruda and Samuel Emery scored two back-to-back goals for Gatineau to make the game 5-3. Malcolm gave the Cougars a fighting chance with eight minutes left to play, but Vankleek Hill wasn’t able to tie the game up for a third time. The game finished 5-4.
The Cougars finished third in the league, behind Gatineau Hull-Volant and the Morrisburg Lions, accomplishing both of their regular season goals: to play with a record above 0.500 and to finish in third place. “I’m very happy with the result” said Cougars GM Franky Dopelhamer.
Dopelhamer says the teams’ goal is to reach the finals this year, where the Cougars are likely to face Gatineau Hull-Volant, who has only lost two of their 34 games this season.
But if they want to reach the last round of the playoffs, the Cougars will first have to beat their long-time rivals, the St-Isidore Eagles, in the first round of the playoffs. “It’ll be the first time we face them in the playoff since I’m in the organisation,” said Dopelhamer. “You can feel there’s still a rivalry but a lot of the younger guys weren’t there when it started. I’m excited to see how it plays out.” Although the Cougars finished third in the league, they only finished three points behind the Morrisburg Lions in second place and three points ahead of the Eagles in sixth place, showing how close the race was for the top 3 positions.
However, the Cougars find themselves in an advantageous position to make it to the finals, as they will not have to face an incredibly strong Gatineau team in the second round if they do win the first round, no matter the result in the other playoff series in the league.
The Cougars will play their first playoff game in St-Isidore on Friday February 9 at 8:20 P.M. They will face St-Isidore a second time at home on Saturday February 10 at 7:30 P.M.