The Vankleek Hill Junior “C” Cougars didn’t get off to the start they wanted in their season-opener this weekend, as they posted a 5-2 loss to the Cumberland Bandits.

For the launch of the 2017-2018 campaign, the Cougars travelled to Gatineau’s Robert Guertin Arena to participate in the season-opening event on Saturday, which saw all 12 teams play their first games at the same arena, on the same day.

In their game against Cumberland, the Cougars kept things close for the first two periods. Trailing 2-1 heading into the final frame, the Cougars had the game within grasp; however, the Bandits would take over in the third, scoring three goals to close out the contest with a final score of 5-2.

“It was a close game—closer than the score showed. I think we probably had as many, or more, chances than them,” said head coach Norm Sauvé about the loss. “We made a couple of bad mistakes at their blue line and it cost us. But there’s a lot of new guys on the team and, well, everyone’s got to learn [from the mistakes].”

Hugo Blanchard and Charles Doyon scored for the Cougars, while Riley Sauvé, Tyler Doppelhammer, and Tyler Druce each picked up an assist in the defeat.

The Cougars will look to put the loss behind them ahead of their home-opener against the St-Isidore Eagles this Saturday, September 30. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Vankleek Hill Community Centre.