Rematch redemption was not in the cards for the Cariboo Cougars on New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31).
Eight months after being swept in the best-of-three Pacific Regional Championship and eliminated from a potential Telus Cup spot in 2019, the Major Midget Cats were ousted by the Calgary Buffaloes 6-2 in the semi-finals of the 2020 Mac’s Invitational Tournament.
The Prince George club mustered a 2-1 lead over the 11-minute mark of the second period before the Buffs scored five unanswered goals for the remainder of the contest.
Jaydon Merritt and Brennan Bott were the goal-scorers in the semis for Cariboo.
John Herrington was named a First Team All-Star at the annual international showcase as he was awarded the Mac’s Top Scorer.
Captain John Herrington was our @MacsTournament Top Scorer as well as 1st Team All-Star! Congrats Johnny! #DefendTheNorth #CaribooHockey @BCHockey_Source @ckpgnews @PGMatters @mypgnow @Hartley_Miller @BCHockey_MML @PGCitizen pic.twitter.com/hKOWqdsz8q— Cariboo Cougars (@cariboocougars) January 1, 2020
The Cougars captain nabbed nine points in four round-robin games including five goals and four assists, leading his team to a 3-1 record and a second-place finish in Pool 4.
As a result of their exit, Cariboo ends up tied for third with the Saskatoon Blazers.
There’s no bronze medal game on the Mac’s Tournament schedule, meaning the Calgary Buffaloes and Moose Jaw AAA Warriors will play for the trophy this afternoon (Jan. 1) at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
They outscored their group stage opponents 17-8, starting with a 7-2 beating over Airdrie, a close 3-2 loss to Moose Jaw, rolled over the Calgary Royals 5-1 and stunned the current Alberta midget league-leading St. Albert Nektar Raiders 3-2.
Cariboo Cougars Player of the Game goes to our @CC_MinorMidget call-up Scott Cousins! Congratulations Scotty, well deserved! #DefendTheNorth #CaribooCougars @MacsTournament @PGMatters @ckpgnews @mypgnow @Hartley_Miller @Kelowna_Rockets pic.twitter.com/UWTNOewyuR— Cariboo Cougars (@cariboocougars) January 1, 2020
After getting into the playoff round as a wild-card, the Cats immediately bounced to a 4-3 quarter-final win over B.C.-rival Okanagan Rockets.
The Cougars won the title back in 2015 in a 2-1 double-overtime win over Regina (SMAAAHL).
The Cats return to our province to start the 2020 portion of the regular season, beginning on the road against Okanagan Jan. 11 and 12.
The following weekend will see Cariboo compete outdoors at Ernie Sam Memorial Arena in Fort St. James on Saturday, Jan. 18 for the second annual B.C. Winter Classic against the Vancouver North West Hawks.