After two decisive wins to start their weekend roadtrip, the Cariboo Cougars ran into a speed bump in Kelowna that took the air right out of their tires.
It was their old nemesis, the well-rested Okanagan Rockets, who did the damage, winning Saturday night's B.C. Major Midget Hockey League preseason battle 7-2 over the Cougars.
Fatigue had to play a bit of a role in the outcome. The three-game trip included a stop in Chase, where the Cougars waltzed to a 6-2 win over the Kootenay Ice Friday night and a 7-1 victory Saturday morning over the Thompson Blazers.
The Rockets ended the Cougars' playoff run in the second round last season and they came to rink armed with a quite a few returning players. Having not played at all until they faced the Cougars, the Rockets had a considerable advantage playing at home.
"We played pretty well Friday night and Saturday morning, and there were still quite a few positives that came out of the game Saturday night," said Cougars head coach Bryan MacLean.
"It was our second game of the day and what it came down was we weren't willing to skate like [the Rockets] were. They're a good hockey team and we were chasing them right from the get-go."
Riley Pettit and Cole Morris scored for the Cougars against the Rockets, who were outshot 20-8 by the Cougars in the second period.
"We didn't find a way to bang pucks in and in the third period we kind of ran out of gas," said MacLean.
Jeremy Matte, who beat Kootenay guarding the Cougar nets, lasted until the early stages of the third period before he was replaced by Lane Delfs, who played the whole game against the Blazers. Pettit, a centre from Whitehorse, scored two goals against the Blazers.
Greg Dakus, Brogan O'Brien, Bryan Allbee, and Thomas Webster all scored for the Cats on Friday.
The midget Cougars wrapped up the preseason sporting a 5-2 record. They have this weekend off and will open the 2013-14 season on Saturday, Sept. 28 in Abbotsford against the Greater Vancouver Canadians, their first of a two-game weekend set.