Cougars eliminate Eagles, move to second round of playoffs

Par Antoine Messier
Cougars eliminate Eagles, move to second round of playoffs
Les Cougars de Vankleek Hill ont éliminé les Aigles de St-Isidore au premier tour des séries éliminatoires de la LHJN en cinq parties. (Photo : Antoine Messier)

The Vankleek Hill Cougars eliminated the St-Isidore Eagles in the first round of the NCJHL playoffs, winning the series in five games.

After losing the first game 6-3, the Cougars came back with four back-to-back victories, 4-3, 6-0, 3-1 and 8-6, to defeat their rivals in the first round of the playoffs.

The Cougars played the final game of the series Saturday night, Feb. 24, in front of a crowd of 500 people, completely packing the Vankleek Hill arena.

Vankleek Hill started the game strong with four goals in the first period from Zachary Bigras, Joshua Desjardins and two from Malcolm Séguin, compared to the Eagles one, thanks to Samuel Levesque.

Ethan Holterman made the score 4-2 late in the second period, but Maxime Laliberté and Joshua Desjardins added two more goals to the Cougars tally before the end of the period in a game increasingly out of reach for St-Isidore. But with just 16 seconds left to the period, the Eagles’ Justin Duchesne brought the game back to 6-3, giving a glimmer of hope to the visiting team.

Jacob Levac scored the Eagles fourth goal, bringing the score to 6-4 with eight minutes left in the game. Just one minute later, however, Andy Lightle-Blais scored the Cougars seventh goal of the night.

In a final push to keep their season alive, Tyler Proulx and Maxime Patenaude scored two more goals for the Eagles, bringing the goal difference back to one with a little less than two minutes left to play.

With just fifteen seconds left on the clock, Zachary Bigras scored an empty net goal for the Cougars, spelling the end of St-Isidore’s season.

“We have to be better at keeping our leads” said Cougars general manager Franky Dopelhamer. “But I’m obviously happy with the result in the end.”

Dopelhamer added a bit of praise for the Eagles who never gave up and pushed to the end with their season on the line.

The Cougars will be facing the Morrisburg Lions in the next round of the playoffs. Morrisburg finished second in the league this season, just three points above the Cougars.

“It’s going to be a tough series,” said Dopelhamer. “We’re going there to win, but it’s not going to be easy.”

The first game of the series will be played on Satuday, March 2, at 7:30 PM in Morrisburg. The Cougars will host the Lions on Sunday, March 3, at 4:30 PM in Vankleek Hill.

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