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Chicago Cougars Elite Triumph in Playoff-Bound Showdown Against Chicago Crush


The Chicago Cougars push the puck up ice | Photo by Beverly Buchinger
The Chicago Cougars push the puck up ice | Photo by Beverly Buchinger

ROMEOVILLE, Ill.- In a thrilling final showdown before the upcoming USPHL playoffs, the Chicago Cougars Elite squad showcased their determination, securing a 3-1 victory over crosstown rivals, the Chicago Crush, at Canlan Ice Arena in Romeoville, Illinois, on Tuesday, February 27, 2024.


#36 Forward Rocco Bifano | Photo by Beverly Buchinger
#36 Forward Rocco Bifano | Photo by Beverly Buchinger

The game kicked off with an early offensive statement from the Cougars. Rocco Bifano netted a goal at 5:06, fueled by assists from Joshua Roman and Andrew Engstrom. The intensity on the ice was electric, setting the stage for a playoff-worthy battle. The Cougars dominated the shot count, firing 15 shots on Crush goaltender Tyler Siuda.

A penalty by Kennelly Clinton for roughing at 10:37 tested the Cougars' penalty kill, but the disciplined defensive play, coupled with solid goaltending by Jared Ablack, ensured they escaped unscathed.


As the teams entered the second period, the Crush responded with a short-handed goal from Joseph Coglianese at 18:39. The game tightened, but Ablack's resilience in the net held the Cougars steady. The physicality and strategic play showcased the playoff-ready mentality of both teams.


In the crucial final period, the Cougars elevated their game. Gabe Tourtillott seized the moment with a goal at 2:53, giving the Cougars the lead. The insurance goal came at 10:12, courtesy of Jack Gardner, assisted by Rocco Bifano and Andrew Engstrom.

Despite penalties disrupting the flow, including a critical penalty shot denied by Ablack at 14:14, the Cougars stood firm, securing a 3-1 victory.


#38 Defenseman Jack Gardner | Photo by Beverly Buchinger
#38 Defenseman Jack Gardner | Photo by Beverly Buchinger

Rocco Bifano's offensive contributions and Ablack's outstanding goaltending performance were instrumental in setting the tone for the playoffs.


With this victory, the Chicago Cougars head into the playoffs with confidence and momentum. The team's ability to navigate challenges and capitalize on opportunities bodes well for their postseason campaign.


Next Stop: Playoffs!

The Chicago Cougars look forward to the postseason, eager to make a deep run and potentially hoist the championship trophy. The final game against the Crush served as a playoff preview, and the Cougars are primed for the challenges that lie ahead.


Catch all the Chicago Cougars action live on FloHockey.tv!

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