The Cougars and Panthers have played no other teams aside from each-other since March of this year. Games 5 and 6 of the 10 game cohort series with the Panthers went Thursday and Friday this week. The Cougars entered game 5 coming off a 6-1 thumping of the Panthers at Panorama last Friday. In that game the Cougars went 3/8 on the Power-Play and out-shot the Pens 39-30.
Thursday’s game was wildly different than that 6-1 game. This was a goalie duel at it’s finest. Jonah Chambers for the Cougars and Connor Svienson for the Panthers were both fantastic. The lone blemish in the opening two frames came at the 6:23 mark of the 1st period when Ryan Strange grabbed his fourth goal of the year on the Power-Play. The special teams of the Cougars has been top-notch in the first 4 games of the year with 6 PP goals and 2 SH goals.
The 2nd period didn’t see any offence, but did see plenty of chances. Both goal-tenders slammed the door shut. Spencer Golden did double up the score late in the 3rd period with his 5th of the season. It looked like the Cougars were going to walk away with 2 points. Logan Speirs had other plans. Less than a minute later the Panthers brought the game to within 1 again. The final minutes saw the Panther furiously pound the net with shots to try and tie it up. But the Cougars defence was stifling all night, led by Braden Blace who took home Player-Of-The-Game honours for the Cougars.
Friday’s game 6 in Peninsula was much like last weeks game 4 at Panorama. Hard-hitting. Sometimes quite literally. There were was two massive open ice hits in the 1st period alone. The Panthers took the previous nights loss and used it to come out flying. Logan Speirs got his 3rd goal in 3 games 6:38 into the 1st period. Then with the Panthers on the Power-Play a bad give-away at the Cougars line had Zach Guerra stealing the puck and going in alone Short-Handed. He ripped a wrist shot under the blocker of Carter Johnstone. Then with 20 seconds to go, Bryce Irwin buried a puck bouncing around out-front to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead into the intermission.
It didn’t take Jackson Estey long to extend that lead. Only 36 seconds into the 2nd and the Cougars looked to be taking control. But, the Panthers Power-Play made up for the previous shorty they gave up in the 1st. Denver Maloney, with 2 Cougars in the box, was left alone and buried a shot from the slot. Then in the waining minutes of the period, Jackson Estey got his 2nd of the game on a pretty passing play from McClintick and Guerra.
With the Cougars up 2 heading into the 3rd it looks like a rough hill to climb for the Panthers. Tanner Wort was up for the climb. Breaking out of a mini-slump he got the Panthers to within 1 mid-way through the 3rd. The Cougars were almost able to seal the game late in the 3rd with a fury of shots at the net. One off the crossbar, one off a Panthers player, one just wide, it was constant. The Panthers were able to fight it off and press the other way. The final 2 minutes were all Panthers. Brett Anderson was fantastic, making several acrobatic saves that looked to be sure-goals. The Cougars take this one 4-3 and move to 4-1-1 on the year.
Next up is back at Panorama in 1 week. October 23rd, 730pm.