Joshua Renaud fired home two goals and Charles Paré earned his first National Capital Junior Hockey League shutout, as the Vankleek Hill Cougars continued their recent hot play with a 4-0 road win over the Morrisburg Lions on Sunday, November 28.
Jonathan Campbell and Nathan Sauvé also scored for the Cougars, who took a 1-0 lead in the first period and never looked back. Paré was named player of the game.
“We were strong everywhere,” said Vankleek Hill Head Coach Franky Dopelhamer, on Sunday’s game against the Lions. “Defensively the guys did a good job, and offensively we were fast and our forecheck was on.”
The win against Morrisburg was a confidence booster for the Cougars, who played well, but dropped a 3-2 decision to the first-place Clarence Castors on Saturday evening, November 27, at home in Vankleek Hill. The loss was the third straight this season for the Cougars against the Castors, who lead the National Capital Junior Hockey League (NCJHL) with a record of 13-3-1.
The Castors scored two goals in the first five minutes of the game, as the Cougars struggled to find their legs on home ice against the league’s top team, Vankleek Hill’s players woke up in time to tie the game before the end of the first, with goals by Jonathan Campbell and Nathan Sauvé.
A lucky bounce led to Clarence’s third goal in the second period. Despite outshooting the Castors 19-4 in the final frame, the Cougars were unable to get another goal past Castors netminder Corey Camirand. Frederick Duroucher-Bourdon took the loss in net, despite playing a solid game for the Cougars.
“We started really slow and that was the story of that game,” Dopelhamer said. “You have to give credit to Clarence – they were ready to play and they took advantage of their opportunities.”
“We had chances to win the game. We were happy with the third period because we tried – we just couldn’t put the puck in the net.
The Cougars are back in action this Saturday, December 4, at home against the Almonte Inferno. Game time at the Vankleek Hill Arena is 7:20 p.m.
On Sunday, December 5, the Cougars will be on the road in Gatineau to play the third place Volant at Centre Slush Puppie in an afternoon game that starts at 4 p.m. With a win, the Cougars could tie the Volant for third place in the NCJHL standings.
“We want the two wins – we absolutely need those four points,” Dopelhamer said.
The Cougars made some important hometown additions last week, including the addition of Vankleek Hill’s Mackenzie Hinton to the team’s staff. Hinton will serve as the team’s statistician.
The team also added a local brothers act to the team with the acquisitions of forwards A.J. and Thomas Kelly from the South Grenville Rangers for future considerations. The two are the sons of Joey Kelly, who attended Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute and was a member of the original Cougars team that won the NCJHL championship in its first season.
A.J. and Thomas Kelly played for the Cougars in both games last weekend.