The Vankleek Hill Cougars broke out of their goal-scoring slump in a big way on Sunday evening (January 8), in an 8-1 win over the visiting Morrisburg Lions.

Coming off two straight losses on the weekend in which they outshot their opponents by wide margins, the Cougars (11-9-1-2) made their shots count on Sunday against the Lions (8-14-0-2).

“It was a tough weekend,” commented Cougars Head Coach Franky Dopelhamer, who nevertheless was pleased with the team’s effort on Sunday.

“It was one of our best games of the season all around,” Dopelhamer enthused. “Our goalie, defense and forwards all were key to the game.”

Admitting they have faced excellent goaltending in recent games, the Cougars head coach otherwise said he has no explanation for why the team has not been scoring as expected for the number of shots fired. But he’s hoping Sunday’s outburst was part of the cure and is looking for more consistent play in future games.

“We’re not always the same,” Dopelhamer said. “The goal we want going into the playoffs is that when you play us, it’s always the same – all three periods we’re in your face.”

With Tuesday, January 10, being the trade deadline, Dopelhamer said the Cougars are actively looking to add some final pieces for a second half run.

Vankleek Hill is at home this Saturday to host the Metcalfe Jets at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex in Hawkesbury. Game time is 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, the Cougars are on the road to play the Gatineau-Hull Volant at Centre Slush Puppie in a 4 p.m. afternoon start.

This week’s game results

Sunday, January 8 – Vankleek Hill 8 Morrisburg 1

Joshua Desjardins had a hat trick, while linemate Mikael Bissonnette had two goals and two assists, as the Cougars jumped out quickly to a a 2-0 first period lead and never looked back in an 8-1 pasting of the Morrisburg Lions.

Mathieu Belanger, Alexandre Chenier and Sam Guay added singles, while defensemen Brenden Easterbrook and John Mahoney each had two assists. Cougars netminder Frederick Duroucher-Bourdon played very well after a rough outing against North Dundas the previous night, stopping 41 of 42 shots to earn the win.

Vankleek Hill fired 52 shots at Morrisburg goaltender Andrew Brooks, as they dominated play in front of the home crowd at The Bob.

Saturday, January 7 – North Dundas 6 Vankleek Hill 2

The Cougars fell on the road 6-2 to the first place North Dundas Rockets (19-5-1-0) on Saturday night (January 7), despite firing more than 60 shots on goal over three periods.

Netminder Anton Moshchensky was outstanding in net for North Dundas, making one acrobatic save after another, while the Rockets chased Cougars starting goaltender Jeremie Tessier with three goals in the first period. Joshua Desjardins and Sam Guay were the goal scorers for Vankleek Hill.

Friday, January 6 – Westport 5 Vankleek Hill 4

It was a tough start to begin the second half of the season, as the Cougars fell on the road 5-4 to the Westport Rideaus.

Andy Lightle-Blais had two goals in a losing cause for Vankleek Hill,, while Mikael Bissonnette and Joshua Desjardins added singles. Starting goaltender Frederick Duroucher-Bourdon was pulled after one period with the Cougars trailing 3-1. Netminder Jeremie Tessier held the fort for the second period, as Vankleek Hill tied the game 3-3, before allowing two goals in the final frame to take the loss.

Westport forward Cole Smith had two goals on the night, including scoring the winner with just under five minutes remaining in the third period and the teams tied 4-4.

Vankleek Hill outshot Westport 39-27 on the night.

Vankleek Hill Cougars defenseman Jonathan Paquette (20) tries to slip the puck under Morrisburg Lions netminder Andrew Brooks, during Vankleek Hill’s 8-1 win on Sunday, January 8. Photo Yeon Photography
Andy Lightle-Blais (9) and Alexandre Chenier (24) celebrate a goal in the Cougars’ 8-1 win over the Morrisburg Lions on Sunday, January 8. Photo: Yeon Photography