ADDISON, Ill.- In a gritty showdown at Addison Ice Arena, the Chicago Cougars Premier unit found themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard against crosstown rivals, the Chicago Crush. Despite coming off a dominant 6-0 victory the night before, the Cougars couldn't carry the momentum into Saturday's game, ultimately falling 3-2 to their divisional foes.
The game started with the Crush taking an early lead in the first period. Owen Rycerz found the back of the net at the 7:02 mark, assisted by Cyler Brogle, putting the Cougars on the defensive.
The second period saw the Crush extending their lead with two more goals. Jason Castaneda netted one just 1:47 into the period, assisted by Nick Zehelein and Ryan Hammer. Shortly after, Jonathan Wood capitalized on a shorthanded opportunity, giving the Crush a commanding 3-0 lead.
The Cougars faced adversity not only on the scoreboard but also in the penalty box. The game featured a flurry of penalties, with both teams racking up significant penalty minutes. The most notable incident occurred in the second period when Dante Zaffarano of the Cougars and Ryan Hammer of the Crush received game misconduct penalties for a face mask altercation.
Down by three goals heading into the final frame, the Cougars showcased resilience. Frank Kula sparked a comeback with a goal at 12:35, assisted by Aidan Canady and Gerdas Paulauskas. The momentum continued, and with just 2:20 left in the game, TJ Haas tallied another goal for the Cougars, assisted by Arthur Pawlik and Dmitrii Musalimov.
Despite a late surge, the Cougars couldn't find the equalizer, and the Crush held on for a 3-2 victory. Goaltender Bennett Pieters faced 23 shots, making 20 saves in the losing effort.
This game marked a departure from the Cougars' impressive Friday night win over the Crush, and the team will undoubtedly regroup to address the challenges they faced. The penalty-filled contest showcased the intensity of the crosstown rivalry, setting the stage for future matchups between these two competitive teams.
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