Cougars against the wall in PJHL first round playoffs

February 7, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Jake Courtepatte

A late-game collapse spoiled what could have tied the series for the Schomberg Cougars against the Alliston Hornets on Friday. The Cougars now find themselves in a three-game hole in the first round of the Provincial Junior Hockey League playoffs.
On the back of a 5-1 opening loss to the Hornets in game one of the best-of-seven series, the Cougars visited New Tec Rec on Friday night in what turned out to be a game for the ages.
Kyle Challis, who has been an offensive juggernaut for the Cougars since joining the team late in the season, opened the scoring for the road team on just the first shot of the game.
It was on an extended five-on-three power play that Challis then doubled the lead late in the first period, sending a wrister over the shoulder of Alliston goalie Parker Simpson after a nice cross-ice feed from Derek Neilly.
Tensions boiled over in a chippy end to the first period, between two rival squads who have never been fond of each other, packing into the penalty box like sardines to start the second.
It was Neilly who gave the Cougars a 3-0 lead early in the middle frame, sending a laser beam past Simpson and chasing him from the net.
The change in goaltending seemed to spark the shocked Hornets, who rebounded with two quick goals past Adriano Mamone. A missed penalty shot late in the frame for the Hornets left the Cougars hanging onto a 3-2 lead heading into the third.
A two-minute five-on-three penalty kill met the Cougars in the third, where Neilly, Owen Heilemann, and James Floyd went to work to kill it off and maintain the slim lead.
The tying goal came for the Hornets with under three minutes to play, a scramble in front of the Schomberg net that left little chance for Mamone.
Alliston notched their fourth in a row with just 28 seconds left on the clock, completing the comeback and earning the 4-3 win.
The Cougars moved to the brink of elimination with another road loss in Alliston on Monday night, giving up an early 1-0 lead to eventually fall 4-2.
Brandon Cohen and Vince DeCastro found the back of the net for the Cougars, while Mamone was forced to contend with 31 shots in the contest.
The teams return to the Trisan Centre on Thursday night with the Cougars looking to extend the series, while game five will return to Alliston on Sunday if needed.
Puck drop Thursday is set for 7:30 p.m.
Elsewhere in the Carruthers division, the first-place Stayner Siskins have taken a 2-0 lead on the Orillia Terriers, the Huntsville Otters lead the Caledon Golden Hawks 1-0, and the Midland Flyers and Penetang Kings are tied at a game apiece.
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