Cougars knock off rival Hawks in preseason tourney

September 11, 2019   ·   0 Comments

Schomberg’s Johnathan Calleja (left) chases down a loose puck at Alliston’s New Tecumseth Rec Centre.

By Jake Courtepatte

The Schomberg Cougars are showing glimpses of progress, before the Provincial Junior Hockey League season even begins.
The Junior C club was one of 12 teams taking part in the Alliston Hornets’ annual preseason tournament at the New Tecumseth Rec Centre over the weekend, where fans and team executives alike get their first look at their rosters’ final product.
Despite finishing the tournament with a 1-2 record, the Cougars can hold their heads high in besting the rival Caledon Golden Hawks in a 5-2 victory, after finishing dead last in the PJHL’s Carruthers division last season.
The veteran presence was palpable for the Cougars in the Saturday matinee, where Spencer Ripley potted a pair of goals to kick off his third season with the team. Winger Brendan Cohen, now in his fourth year in a Cougars jersey and coming off a career-best 31 points in 2018-19, also had a single.
A pair of new faces made themselves known, as well. It was 18-year-old Cameron Kokelj who opened the scoring just 10 minutes into the contest, a York Simcoe Express graduate of the Midget AAA program. Will Major, an AP suiting up for the game, buried his first PJHL goal late in the first period.
Newcomer Nicolas Porreta carried the brunt of the workload between the pipes throughout the tournament, sandwiching the win between a pair of losses to the interdivisional Port Perry Mojacks and the Carruthers division’s Midland Flyers.
A 5-1 loss to Port Perry to open the tournament on Friday saw Ripley as the only goal scorer for the Cougars, and should be relied upon heavily to carry a good portion of this year’s offense after a six point performance in the playoffs last season.
The task will also fall to veteran forward Owen Heilemann, who led the team in scoring last year in his second season as a Cougar at a point-per-game pace. He notched the only goal for the Cougars in a Saturday afternoon 4-1 loss to the Flyers.
The Port Hope Panthers bested Midland 5-1 in the tournament’s championship game.
With the pre-season now behind them, Thursday night marks the regular season home opener for the Cougars, when they host the Huntsville Otters at Trisan Centre. Puck drop is set for 8:30 p.m.
They then head to Midland on Friday evening in a rematch with the Flyers.
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