FRASER, Mich.- In another hard-fought battle at Big Boy Arena in Fraser, Michigan, the Chicago Cougars Elite squad were unable to complete the three-game sweep against their divisional rivals, the Motor City Gamblers. The Cougars suffered a 5-2 road loss on Thursday, despite a valiant effort on the ice.
The first period saw the Motor City Gamblers strike first with a power-play goal at the 14:17 mark. Easton Plater, assisted by Mark Bonnay and Jack Squire, found the back of the net to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
In the second period, the Cougars fought back as Gabe Tourtillott leveled the score at 1-1 with a goal at 5:24, assisted by Nolan Machala. However, the Gamblers responded with two more goals from Cody Adams and Isaac Bunk, taking a 3-1 lead by the end of the period.
The third period witnessed the Gamblers extending their lead with goals from Samuel Shaul and Cameron Kitts, securing a 5-1 advantage. Despite a late goal from Jack Gardner for the Cougars at 19:35, assisted by Justin Morrissey and Rocco Bifano, it wasn't enough to mount a comeback.
The game was not short on intensity, with both teams engaging in physical play as evidenced by the penalties incurred. The Cougars had four power-play opportunities but failed to capitalize on any, finishing 0/4 on the man advantage. The Motor City Gamblers, on the other hand, converted one of their two power-play opportunities.
In back to back starts, Jared Ablack manned the net for the Cougars, facing 48 shots and making 43 saves, but the offensive onslaught from the Gamblers proved too much to handle. Braedyn Sullivan stood tall between the pipes for the Gamblers, making 36 saves on 38 shots.
The top scorers for the Cougars, including Rocco Bifano, Gabe Tourtillott, and Justin Morrissey, couldn't find a way to break through the Gamblers' defense on a consistent basis today. Despite the road loss, the Chicago Cougars maintain a strong season record of 16-13-2-1. As the Cougars look ahead, this game sets the stage for an exciting remainder of the USPHL as they make their final push to improve upon their playoff position.
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