COUGARS RETURN FROM USPHL NATIONALS AND SEASON IS OVER!
By: Cougars Staff March 10, 2019 The Chicago Cougars returned from USPHL Finals in Boston Monday with a win and two losses to close out the 2018-19 season and so we will review the nationals weekend as we close out the 2018-19 Season.
As the Cougars arrived in Boston for the second straight season they had one goal in mind: advance. They were the #9 seed in the 16 team tournament and therefore would play a schedule against the tournament's #1 seed, Metro Jets (Detroit, MI) #8 seeded Connecticut Nighthawks, and #16 seed Florida Jr. Blades (Ft. Myers, FL).
In game 1, the Cougars faced off against the Connecticut Nighthawks a matchup of 2 division winners this season. The Nighthawks scored first halfway through the first period on a shot from the point that wasn't blocked and Goaltender Ethan St. Pierre was screened on. In the 2nd Tristan Hillebert collected a clear attempt from Jozef Martancik at the far Blueline for a breakaway Goal to tie the game. The Cougars weathered a 3rd Period flurry from the Nighthawks before Jozef Martancik collected a fumbled pass in the Nighthawks zone for a quick strike Goal with :42 left in the game and the Cougars collected the 2-1 win!
Game 2 was against the Metro Jets. The Cougars came out flying in this one earning a breakaway and three 2-on-1 opportunities int he early minutes of the game while only surrendering one Grade A chance to Metro, but the Cougars were unable to capitalize on their opportunities and were cursed by a bad bounce that ended up in their net for a 1-0 deficit after 1. In the 2nd Period, the teams traded chances but Metro capitalized to score 3 times and carry a 4-0 lead through 40 minutes. The 3rd Period saw a good effort from the Cougars scoring a Goal and having another disallowed, before Metro added a late tally for a 5-1 Metro Jets win.
With a 1-1 record the Cougars needed a win in game 3 coupled with a Metro loss to advance to the semi-finals, but the Cougs didn't come to play in the first and got unlucky on a goal scored when the Cougar net was dislodged it was 2-0 Blades after 20 minutes. Despite a growing effort as the game elapsed the Cougars were unable to pass the Blades losing 4-1. Cougars Goal was Kurt LaPak assisted by Tristan Hillebert.
"It was an exciting weekend for us having a chance to advance in our final game of the tournament, but ultimately a sour taste in our mouths with the way this weekend ended up here tonight. I thought we were capable of much more, but we got behind early and it's not easy to crack this Goalie he has been good all season long and tonight was no different." said Coach Brad Stoffers following Sunday's loss to the Florida Jr. Blades.
The Cougars will be back home tomorrow night and close out the 2018-19 season.
About The USPHL
The United States Premier Hockey League of 2022-23 is the nation’s largest junior amateur ice hockey league and the only league to span the continental United States, from Maine to California, and from Florida to Washington State.
The USPHL includes over 100 organizations comprised of 11,000 players spanning the ages of 6 through 20, including Youth and Midget Division teams in the Tier 1 Hockey Federation.
Overall, across all its divisions, the USPHL see more than 3,100 alumni playing college hockey each year and more than 250 playing pro hockey, including in the NHL.
The league’s top level, the Tuition Free Tier II National Collegiate Development Conference, led all North American Tier II leagues with three players selected in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft and has seen more than 200 NCAA Division I commitments since its 2017 inception. The NCDC will also expand to include the NCDC West, with teams in Colorado, Utah and Idaho for 2023-24.
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