The Vankleek Hill Cougars saw their march up the National Capital Junior Hockey League (NCJHL) standings stall last Sunday, December 5, with a 4-1 road loss to the third place Gatineau-Hull Volant.

Vankleek Hill’s Junior C squad, which sits fifth in the standings, fell four points behind the Volant and fourth-place North Dundas, with a dispirited effort after playing a great game at home the previous night. The Volant jumped out to 1-0 and 3-1 period leads before closing out the 4-1 victory with the only goal of the third period. Vankleek Hill’s lone goal was scored in the second period by Joshua Renaud.

The afternoon game against Gatineau-Hull was the second in less than 24 hours for the Cougars, who played a night game in Vankleek Hill on Saturday, December 4, against the Almonte Inferno.

“We were flatfooted all game – Gatineau was all over us,” said Cougars Head Coach Franky Dopelhamer. “I’m not sure if our game on Saturday took our legs away, but we weren’t skating.”

The game was a complete opposite of Saturday’s night’s contest against Almonte, where the Cougars jumped out to a 4-0 first period lead and never looked back in a 6-2 win.

“We had a really strong start, which we’ve been (lacking) in our games lately,” noted Dopelhamer.

Jéremy Marcotte had two goals for the Cougars in the win, with Justin Chaumont, Mathieu Lévesque, Andy Lightle Blais and Joshua Renaud adding singles. Charles Paré stopped 28 of 32 shots in net.

Vankleek Hill is off this Saturday, so there is no home game, but on Sunday, December 12, the Cougars will travel to Clarence to face off against the league-leading Castors. Vankleek Hill is 0-3 against Clarence this season and Sunday’s game will be the last time they meet before the playoffs.