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Chicago Cougars split weekend series with Detroit Fighting Irish

By Anne Tokarski, 10/04/21, 8:00AM CDT

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The Chicago Cougars' second series of the weekend began on Saturday and finished with a series split in Southgate, Michigan, against the Detroit Fighting Irish. Saturday's contest was a dominant 8-1 victory that saw six different Cougars on the scoresheet, while Sunday saw heartbreaking defeat in an overtime loss. 

Game 1 of the series vs. the Detroit Fighting Irish: Saturday, October 2

Chicago Cougars rookie Trent Carter opened the scoring on Saturday with his first career goal, a beautiful top-shelf shot that hit the net just over the right shoulder of Detroit Fighting Irish net minder Derek Antol. 

Though the Fighting Irish would get on the board less than five minutes later (courtesy of Jake Rhoades), the Cougars were quick to reply as Kyle Lamphere and Jake McDonald combined for Lamphere’s first tally of the year and first in the green and gold. It was a gorgeous backhander that no one could have seen coming, but the Cougars congratulate Lamphere on his first career goal!

Just thirty seconds later, Daniel Danko, ever the persistent net-front presence, tapped one behind Antol to give the Cougars a 3-1 lead heading into the first intermission. 

While the squad kept up the scoring pace through periods two and three, notching five more goals over the next forty minutes, there ought to be credit given where credit is due — to top pairing defenders Andreas Zorn and Peter Drake, who logged significant minutes and helped ensure that the Fighting Irish were kept off the board as the game wore on. Carter, Kasmier Moncheck, veteran Jack Parks, and Danny Determann all contributed to the strength of the blue line too.

Danko opened the second period the same way he closed the first: with a gorgeous goal. This one came off a tight-angle backhand shot that beat Antol cleanly and put the Cougars up 4-1.

Just one minute later, Jake McDonald joined the party with his own first goal as a Cougar after a Fighting Irish five minute major gave him the chance to snipe top-shelf. Chicago’s luck would only continue as an additional penalty on the Fighting Irish for roughing gave the Cougars a 5-on-3 advantage...an advantage Mike Sliwinski and Zorn were not going to let slip through their fingers. Sliwinski sent a cross-crease pass to the top-pairing defender and Zorn hammered it home to put the good guys ahead by five goals going into the third period.

Speaking of: the third period was the Mike Sliwinski show, with the veteran forward tallying two goals. His first was a breakaway attempt that saw him put on the jets and enter the zone all alone for a top-shelf snipe, while the second was another backhand combination with Zorn on the 5-on-3 power play.  

Overall, the night of October 2 was one to remember for Cougars players and fans alike, as three players tallied their first career goals and six different members of the squad got on the board in the 8-1 rout of the Fighting Irish. 

Scoring events:

Trent Carter (Peter Drake)
Kyle Lamphere (Jake McDonald)
Daniel Danko (Mike Sliwinski, Joe Gulino)
Daniel Danko (Kevin Kost)
Jake McDonald (Unassisted) (PP)
Andreas Zorn (Mike Sliwinski) (PP)
Mike Sliwinski (Unassisted)
Mike Sliwinski (Andreas Zorn) (PP) 

Game 2 of the series vs. the Detroit Fighting Irish: Sunday, October 3

Sunday’s tilt saw the Fighting Irish set the tone of the game early with a goal from Garrett Benoit just four minutes into the opening frame. 

Neither Cody Lourenco nor Kevin Kost were satisfied with letting the Fighting Irish get away with the lead, and both capitalized before the end of the first period. Lourenco’s goal was a tip in front off of Joe Gulino’s rocket of a shot on the power play, and good for the Winnipeg native’s second goal of the season. Kost got the last touch on a net-front scramble to give the Cougars a 2-1 edge heading into the first intermission.

Midway through the second period, Jake McDonald went off for roughing, giving the Fighting Irish an opportunity on the power play — an opportunity they didn’t squander, as Detroit’s Bryce Iott capitalized. It was a similar story less than two minutes later, with McDonald back in the box for roughing, only this time, Jake Rhoades was the one to capitalize with the skater advantage.

The Cougars’ Gulino was not content to let the Fighting Irish keep a lead for long though, as in the dying minutes of the second frame, he sent a laser of a shot past Detroit goaltender Alex Herman to tie things back up at three apiece. 

The third period witnessed a flurry of action, with both teams scoring three goals each to end regulation tied at 6-6. We got there courtesy of both Kost and Lourenco’s second goals of the game, along with a tally from the veteran Mike Sliwinski.

Kost scored first to open the period just two minutes in, calling for the puck on a zone entry and then sending it right where it belonged: the back of the net. A slashing call against the Fighting Irish would give the Cougars a huge opportunity on the power play, one Lourenco converted on for the second time this weekend. His persistence at the front of the net paid off as the puck found its way into the goal and the Cougars took a 5-3 lead. 

Unfortunately, just five seconds after Lourenco’s tally, Detroit went right back the other way and got one past Ian Young. A high-sticking penalty late in the third period by the Cougars’ Francesco Addante meant that the Fighting Irish got another conversion on the powerplay, tying things up at five apiece with just over three minutes to go.

It appeared as though things were going in the Cougars’ favor towards the end of the game, when a late slashing call to Detroit gave Chicago another chance on the power play. Mike Sliwinski put the puck in the net with a tight-angle shot from just in front of the goal line to give the Cougars an edge as the third wound down.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a game against the Fighting Irish if it wasn’t a scoring race, as Bryce Iott tallied his second of the game with less than three minutes to go in the third period to force overtime.

Overtime was a speedy affair as the Fighting Irish’s Kolin Leduc capitalized on an early breakaway off the face-off just eight seconds in. The Cougars would fall to the Fighting Irish, 7-6, in overtime. 

Scoring events:

Cody Lourenco (Joe Gulino, Mike Sliwinski) (PP)
Kevin Kost (Francesco Addante, Joe Gulino)
Joe Gulino (Kasmier Moncheck)
Kevin Kost (Francesco Addante)
Cody Lourenco (Jake McDonald, Joe Gulino) (PP)
Mike Sliwinski (Andreas Zorn, Jake McDonald) (PP)