Prince George, B.C.
COUGARS COMEBACK FALLS SHORT IN PRELIM FINALE AT TELUS CUP
JASON LA ROSE
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Ty Kolle scored a pair of goals in the third period to tie the game, but the Cariboo Cougars fell a goal short of the semifinals at the 2017 TELUS Cup after a 2-2 draw with the Mississauga Rebels in the preliminary-round finale on Friday night.
The single point pulled the Cougars even with Cape Breton West and Leduc for the fourth and final semifinal spot, but the Islanders had the edge in goal differential in games between the three teams (CBW +2; LED 0; CAR -2), leaving the hosts – and Oil Kings – on the outside looking in.
Cariboo came out gunning against the Rebels, who had already clinched first place. By the 10-minute mark of the first period the Cougars held an 11-1 advantage in shots on goal, but Mississauga goaltender Christian Purboo was up to the task.
Patrick Sebben opened the scoring against the flow of play, getting a shot through from the point that hit both posts and beat Cariboo goaltender Marcus Allen at 12:56.
Evan Benwell doubled the lead less than four minutes later, slipping a shot underneath Allen after finding himself all alone in front of the Cariboo goal.
But that would be it for offence from the Rebels, who managed just 10 shots in the final 40 minutes.
It looked like that would be all they would need, though, with Purboo putting on another clinic between the pipes; he finished the preliminary round with a 4-1 record, 1.60 GAA and .939 save percentage.
With the hometown crowd at the CN Centre willing them on, the Cougars finally solved the Purboo puzzle in the third.
Kolle made it a one-goal game at 6:21, taking the puck to the net and roofing a shot just under the crossbar, and he tied it 2:30 later on the power play, circling out from behind the net before snapping a quick shot past Purboo.
Unfortunately for the hosts, there would be no go-ahead goal. Purboo closed the door over the final 11 minutes, making 11 of his 34 saves in the third period.
The Rebels will take on Cape Breton West in the second semifinal on Saturday afternoon (3:30 p.m. PT), looking to become the fourth-consecutive team from the GTHL to advance to the gold medal game.