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Chicago Cougars skate to dominant victories over Decatur, Ducks

By Anne Tokarski, 12/05/21, 7:00PM CST

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It was a wonderful weekend to be a Chicago Cougars fan as the team skated to three wins in three days. On Friday, an evening match-up against the Blaze proved to be the narrowest margin of victory by a final score of 4-3, while Saturday and Sunday’s matinee match-ups against the Decatur Blaze were much more decisive. 

Game 1 of the weekend vs. the Decatur Blaze: Friday, December 3, 2021

Though it would end much differently, the weekend’s slate of games got started on the wrong foot as the Cougars conceded the first goal to the Blaze in a scramble at the end of the first. With a bad taste in their mouths going into the first intermission, the Cougars were determined to right their wrongs — and came out firing in the middle frame.

Joe Gulino got Chicago on the board early in the second period. While the Cougars would allow another goal, it was Jake McDonald who answered right back not thirty seconds after the Decatur tally to tie things up at two apiece. Gulino would add his second of the game and Peter Drake his third of the season before time expired on the second frame.

The third period was mostly quiet, with the Blaze getting one back at the twelve minute mark to make it a one-goal game. It ultimately wouldn’t be enough for Decatur, though, as Ian Young stood tall in the blue paint despite the extra skater on the ice. 

The Cougars would finish on Friday with a 4-3 win. 

Scoring events:

Joe Gulino (Mike Sliwinski, George Boos)
Jake McDonald (Kyle Lamphere, Matt Hagerstrom)
Joe Gulino (Kyle Lamphere, Daniel Danko) (PP)
Peter Drake (TJ Haas, Daniel Danko)

Game 2 of the weekend vs. the Dells Ducks: Saturday, December 4, 2021

Saturday’s game started much like Friday’s, with the opponent tallying the first goal of the match-up. Luckily for the Cougars, the energy shifted almost immediately, as not a minute after the Ducks hit the back of the net, Gerdas Paulauskas would get the tip on Kevin Kost’s rocket of a shot and tie things up at one apiece. 

Five and a half minutes into the first period, TJ Haas got a breakaway and shot down the ice to go five-hole on Ducks net minder Anthony Falzone, giving the Cougars the lead and kick starting a very productive campaign for himself. More on him later.

Before the first period could expire, Joe Gulino would add to the Cougars’ lead off a feed from Andreas Zorn, and Chicago took a 3-1 lead into the first break.

Zorn would get on the scoresheet himself in the second period when a slashing call against the Ducks gave the Cougars an opportunity with the skater advantage. He rocketed one home from the top of the far circle to give the team a 4-1 advantage. 

From there, it was TJ Haas’ world and the rest of us were just living in it. The Wisconsin native got another breakaway in the second period and wasted no time burying the puck to extend the Cougars’ lead to four goals, then tucked one in behind the Ducks’ goaltender four minutes later to complete the hat trick. 

The Cougars would win by a score of 7-2, and newcomer Jack Coleman would get his first win in net for Chicago. 

Scoring events: 

Gerdas Paulauskas (Kevin Kost, Lukas Theodosopoulos)
TJ Haas (Jake McDonald, Andreas Zorn)
Joe Gulino (Andreas Zorn, Mike Sliwinski)
Andreas Zorn (Mike Sliwinski) (PP)
TJ Haas (Daniel Danko, Kasmier Moncheck)
Kyle Lamphere (Gerdas Paulauskas, Lukas Theodosopoulos)
TJ Haas (Jake McDonald)

Game three of the weekend vs. the Dells Ducks: Sunday, December 5, 2021

What a weekend for TJ Haas as the forward opened the scoring on Sunday — after recording his first hat trick as a Cougar on Saturday — with another goal, this one a snipe from the near side circle that beat the Ducks goaltender cleanly.

It was a momentous weekend for more than just Haas, though, as new(ish)comer Lukas Theodosopoulos got his first goal as a member of the Cougars off a feed from John Heffernan, who would also register his first point as a member of the green and gold with the apple on Theodosopoulos’ goal. 

A holding call against the Ducks just past the midway point of the period would give the Cougars an opportunity with the skater advantage. Their first demonstration of their division-leading power play proved fruitful when Gerdas Paulauskas was fed by Haas right on the doorstep to make it a 3-0 game. Paulauskas would make it 4-0 Cougars before the end of the first period with a back door shot that beat Ducks goaltender Drew Moseley cleanly. 

The second period opened with Joe Gulino making a drop pass to Mike Sliwinski and the latter going top shelf to extend Chicago’s lead to five. From there, it was a deluge, as a high-sticking minor against the Ducks gave the Cougars another chance with the skater advantage, a chance Trent Carter was not reluctant to convert upon. 

Right off the face-off five and a half minutes into the second period, Kyle Lamphere fed Joe Gulino a beautiful pass and Gulino wasted no time in going top shelf himself. From there, Haas took it away with a net front tap-in, then a scramble in front of the net delivered Kevin Kost his sixth of the season. Francesco Addante would make it double digits just before the end of the second period, and Chicago skated into the second intermission with a dominant 10-0 lead. 

While the first ten minutes of the third were relatively quiet, it seemed like the tides might be turning against Chicago when Addante was called for a tripping minor. Kyle Lamphere was not content to let that happen, though, as the forward tucked a shorthanded goal behind the sprawling form of the Ducks net minder. Lamphere would light the lamp one more time before time expired to help the Cougars to a 12-0 win.

Goaltender Mike Lenhart made eighteen saves on eighteen shots to earn his first shutout of the season.

Scoring events: 

TJ Haas (George Boos, Jake McDonald)
Lukas Theodosopoulous (John Heffernan, Gerdas Paulauskas)
Gerdas Paulauskas (Cody Lourenco, TJ Haas) (PP)
Gerdas Paulauskas (Joe Gulino, Danny Determann)
Mike Sliwinski (Joe Gulino, Kyle Lamphere)
Trent Carter (Joe Gulino, Kasmier Moncheck) (PP)
Joe Gulino (Kyle Lamphere, Mike Sliwinski)
TJ Haas (Andreas Zorn, Gerdas Paulauskas) (PP)
Kevin Kost (Francesco Addante, Alexander Arquilla)
Francesco Addante (Peter Drake, Alexander Arquilla)
Kyle Lamphere (Kevin Kost, Matt Hagerstrom (SH)
Kyle Lamphere (Lukas Theodosopoulos, Gerdas Paulauskas)