March 26, 2018
Semi-Finals – Cariboo and Fraser Valley advance
The Cariboo Cougars and Fraser Valley Thunderbirds will meet in the BCMML Championship series this coming weekend in Prince George.
The #2 seeded Cougars advanced with two straight wins over the visiting North East Chiefs, who came in as the #8 seed after shocking #1 Valley West in the quarter-finals last weekend.
The Cougars handled the Chiefs 5-2 in the opener, and then battled to a 4-3 OT win in game two.
The #3 seeded Fraser Valley Thunderbirds hosted the #5 North West Giants at the George Preston in Langley, and after losing the opener, 4-3, on Friday night, advanced on back to back wins Saturday and Sunday.
The T-birds won game two, 5-1, and then dominated in game three, 8-2, after the Giants got into some serious penalty problems after leading 2-0.
#2 Cougars down #8 North East Chiefs, 2-0
Game 1 – Cougars 5-2
The Cougars were up 1-0 after one and then 3-0 early in the second before the Chiefs quickly answered less than two minutes in. The Cougars eventually opened a 4-1 lead with 12:07 left in the second.
In the third, the Chiefs again rallied with 5:08 to play, but the Cougars closed it with an empty-netter, 5-2 final.
Five different Cougars scored, with Mason Richey notching 3 assists. Marcus Allen got the win, on 54 minutes of duty.
Game 2 – Cougars 4-3 OT
It was a much tougher battle in game two. The Cougars struck first at the 12:55 mark of the opening period on a goal from Mason Richey. Less than twenty seconds later Jackson Murphy-Johnson answered and the period closed out 1-1.
The Cougars scored the lone goal in the second, about half way through the frame on an unassisted goal from Grady Thomas, 2-1.
The Chiefs tied it up with 9:48 to go in the third on a goal from Ryan Denney, also unassisted. Each team scored again – with the Cougars scoring first and the Chiefs answering less than a minute later – to set up the OT.
Again it was Mason Richey scoring on an assist from Craig MacDonald, that clinched the games for the Cougars. MacDonald finished with 3A.
Ryan Buchan got the win, while Michael Harroch took the loss.
#3 Thunderbirds down the #5 NW Giants, 2-1
Game 1 – NW Giants 4-3
In the opening game, each team scored a goal in the first and a goal in the second, to make it 2-2 heading into the final period.
The Giants’ Christian Buono quickly put the Giants ahead, scoring just 19 seconds into the third. But the lead didn’t hold for long – just 52 seconds, as Gage Goncalves answered for the T-Birds.
Buono’s second goal, with 7:18 left sealed it. Buono was 2G-1A to lead the Giants. Nic Hoem got the win.
Carter Anderson got the first two for T-Birds. Dawson Pelletier took the loss.
Penalties were 8 minutes each, with the Giants getting six in the first period.
Game 2 – T-Birds, 5-1
After a scoreless first, the T-Birds opened a 3-1 lead in the second, and then scored early in the third to open a 4-1 lead. The Giants were unable to find the back of the net, and Matthew Konrad’s second goal, with just under five minutes left, ended the scoring at 5-1.
Konrad was 2G-2A to lead the Birds, while Goncalves was 1G-3A – all their points coming on the same scoring plays. Alex Rolfe got the win.
Alex Sukunda got the lone NW Giants goal.
Penalties were 43 minutes against the T-Birds, 8 against the Giants.
Game 3 – T-Birds, 8-2
In the must win game three, the Giants jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first, on goals from Jacob Fournier and Buono.
But things quickly unravelled in the second, as the Giants were assessed 10 penalties, including four in the first four minutes. The T-Birds capitalized 5 on 4 on the second penalty, to make it 2-1, and then again on the second one to tie it up 2-2 with 15:38 left in the period.
The Birds quickly followed up with two full strength goals at 10:10 and 8:47, then added two more power play goals, at 6:21 and with 59 seconds left, to take a 6-2 lead into the third.
The Giants penalty parade continued into the third, which ended up totaling 25 minutes, vs none against the T-Birds.
The Birds added two more in the third, one full strength and another powerplay goal to finish it at 8-2.
Travis Halliday was 2G-2A, Gage Goncalves 2G-1A and Mathew Konrad and Justin Plett were 1G-3A to lead the Birds.
Dawson Pelletier got the win on 45 minutes of duty.
The Championship series gets underway Friday, March 30 at 7:15 at the Kin Arena in Prince George.
Game two goes 7:15 Saturday, and game three, if required, goes 10:15 on Sunday.
The Cougars are defending Champions, defeating GVC last season, in three games. In 2015-2016, the Valley West Hawks downed the Cougars in two straight.