Alex Ochitwa scored 16 seconds into overtime to cap a 6-5 comeback victory for the Cariboo Cougars on Sunday in Abbotsford against the Valley West Giants.
The Cougars trailed 5-2 half way through the B.C. Hockey Major Midget League game but goals by Jaydon Merritt, Fischer O’Brien and Brennan Bott got them back onto even terms with the Giants. Bott’s tying goal came with 3:45 left on the clock.
Ochitwa’s OT marker was his second goal and fourth point of the contest. He was set up by defenceman Mathew Magrath, who finished with two assists. Bott had two goals and one helper.
The teams were tied 2-2 after the first period. The Giants got on the board first with a shorthanded goal by Jacob Dorohoy five minutes after the opening faceoff. The Cougars responded with a power-play goal by Ochitwa and an even-strength marker by Bott but Brandon Litchfield tied things up with 1:07 left in the period.
The Giants took control with three quick goals in the second. Connor Farren’s power-play strike gave them a 3-2 lead about six minutes into the period. Dorohoy scored less than two minutes later and then Litchfield added to the Valley West total with his second goal of the game. Merritt’s goal, with 5:26 to go in the middle frame, stopped the bleeding and set the Cougars up for the two-goal third period and the eventual winner in extra time.
Goaltender Jordan Fairlie picked up the victory and Merik Erickson took the loss.
For the Cougars, the comeback win completed a two-game weekend sweep of the Giants. On Saturday, the Cats were deadly on the power play in a 4-1 victory.
In that game, the Cougars scored three of their four goals with the man advantage. Bott connected for two of them and Nico Myatovic had the other. The Cats also got a goal from Landon Ingham, while Kellan Brienen chipped in offensively with two assists.
Dakoda Miller was the lone marksman for the Giants. He broke Fairlie’s shutout bid early in the third period.
The Cougars led 2-0 after the first and maintained that advantage through a scoreless second.
After starting the season with an overtime loss to the Thompson Blazers, the Cougars (5-0-0-1) are now on a five-game winning streak.
The Giants slipped to 0-4-1-1.
The Cougars will be back on home ice on Saturday when they welcome the Vancouver Northeast Chiefs to Kin 1. The game (4:30 p.m. start) will be Pink in the Rink Night, the team’s annual fundraiser and awareness campaign in the fight against breast cancer.
The game will be sponsored by Taba and will feature a 50/50 draw that will start at $1,000. There will also be a Chuck A Puck contest with over $400 in prizes.
The Cougars and Chiefs will also play at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.
They started the B.C. Hockey Minor Midget League season with a pair of lopsided losses and then sat out for a bye weekend so the Cariboo Cougars were anxious to get back on the ice to show what they could do.
After two highly-motivated performances against the North Island Silvertips, the Cougars can now say they’re on a two-game winning streak.
This weekend at Kin 1, the Cats skated to 3-0 and 3-2 decisions against the Silvertips.
On Saturday, the Cougars got unbeatable goaltending from Tysen Smith and goals from Brady McIsaac, Linden Makow and Scott Cousins on the way to the victory. McIsaac and Makow scored their goals less than a minute apart late in the second period and Cousins gave the Cats some insurance with 3:42 left in the third. McIsaac also picked up an assist in the contest.
Jacob Hebert was the losing goaltender.
In Sunday’s game, the Cougars built a 3-1 lead and held on for the victory. Decker Mujcin scored what proved to be the game-winner 3:48 into the second period. North Island’s Wyatt Murray had the only goal of the third period but the Silvertips got no closer.
The Cougars gave up the first goal, to Walker Smith midway through the opening period, but Makow tied the score 51 seconds before the first intermission. Cousins then connected 1:46 into the middle frame and that was followed quickly by Mujcin’s goal.
Jasper Tait was the winning goaltender and Ashton Sadauskas took the loss. The last-place Silvertips saw their record drop to 1-5.
The Cougars began the year with 6-2 and 8-0 losses at the hands of the Okanagan Rockets.
Next Saturday and Sunday, the Cats will try to add to their win total when they skate in Kamloops against the Thompson Blazers.