Cougars' season Buffaloed in overtime

The Cariboo Cougars' season is finished.
Jayden Grubbe popped in a rebound 46 seconds into overtime for his second goal of the game to give the Calgary Buffaloes a 3-2 win over the Cougars Saturday night in Calgary to compete a two-game sweep of the B.C. champions in the best-of-three Telus Cup Pacific regional midget hockey championship.
"Xavier (goalie Cannon) made some big saves for us and we got some timely goals to give ourselves a chance and put it into overtime, but they got the job done," " said Cougars head coach Tyler Brough.
"I thought we were kind of chasing the game a little bit tonight. It's a tough one to swallow right now but at the end of the day, like I said to the boys, there's nothing to hang our heads about. I'm extremely proud of this group. Nobody really (expected) us to do what we did except for the guys in that room and the coaching staff.
"They're B.C. champs, they won the league, there's only been a couple of other Cariboo teams that have done it."
The Cougars held a one-goal lead in the first period but were unable to build on it. Booker Daniel got them started midway through the period, connecting with linemates Curtis Hammond and Lane Goodwin. The Cougars followed that with a couple of breakaway chances from Daniel and Alex Ochitwa that were foiled by Buffaloes goalie Gavin Bjorklund.
Grubbe and Braden Plaschewsky hooked up for the tying goal 3:20 into the second period and the deadlock lasted until the 9:34 mark of the third period when Hammond, the Cougars' leading pointgetter in the season, dragged the puck around a Buffaloes defenceman on a 1-on-2 and scored with his low shot through the pads of Bjorklund.
The Buffaloes scored the tying goal with 12:46 left in the third period. Calgary captain Justin Ross beat Cannon with his shot on a left wing rush to force overtime.
"The third (period) was back and forth, they had some opportunities and we had some opportunities, there were some big hits and both teams wanted it bad, so it was kind of fitting we got to overtime but unfortunately we couldn't get to Game 3," said Brough.
The Cougars dethroned the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds two weekends ago in Abbotsford to win their third B.C. Hockey Major Midget League championship since the league formed in 2004.
After winning the league in 2008 they lost to the Buffaloes two games to one in the Pacific championship. As league champions in 2017 they did not play the regional series because Cariboo was the Telus Cup host team.
"It's been uphill for B.C. to get through Alberta since the league started," said Brough. "Only a few teams have made their way through to the Telus Cup through Pacifics. Hats off to Calgary, they're  a tough team that battled all the way to the end and at the end of the day they deserved to move on to the Telus."
The Cougars lost the opener of the Pacific series Friday 5-2 and needed back-to-back wins to advance against the Alberta champions.
“That Cariboo team played hard,” Buffaloes head coach Brent Harrison told the Calgary Sun. “They deserve a lot of credit. They didn’t give us much at all. They were a tough team to play against for both games.
“We were down — we never took the lead until that overtime goal. Our guys kept battling like we’ve done all year. We handled the adversity, and we kept fighting.”
The Buffaloes, who defeated St. Albert 3-0 in the Alberta championship series, are returning to the six-team national championship tournament, April 22-28 in Thunder Bay, Ont., after a 10-year absence.

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