Sunday, January 22 – South Grenville 6 Vankleek Hill 5

A shorthanded Vankleek Hill Cougars squad saw its four-game winning streak come to an end, as the league-leading South Grenville Rangers stormed back for a 6-5 home win on Sunday afternoon (January 22).

The two teams were tied at 2-2 after the first period, before the Cougars scored three times in the second frame to take what looked like a fairly comfortable lead into the third. But the Rangers (21-4-2-0) stormed back with four goals in the final frame to earn a 6-5 win in regulation.

Rowan McPherson had two goals in the loss, while Mikael Bissonnette, Maxime Laliberte and Eric Skyba added singles.

Vankleek Hill was missing several players for the trip to face South Grenville at the Cardinal Arena. The team played with only three forward lines – including just two centres – and five defensemen. The team was down to a four-man defense in the third period and only 12 players.

“We were lacking legs in the third period,” Dopelhamer said. “But we deserved a better fate.”

With just four minutes left in the game and the teams tied 5-5, the Rangers scored the winner on a giveaway by Cougars netminder Frederick Duroucher-Bourdon.

“We were coming back and I had a good feeling about going into overtime,” Dopelhamer said. “It was a bad goal, but it happens.”

Duroucher-Bourdon faced 47 shots in the Vankleek Hill net, while the Cougars fired 29 shots at the South Grenville goal.

Friday, January 20 – Vankleek Hill 5 Metcalfe 4 OT

Eric Skyba scored the overtime winner, as the Cougars extended their winning streak to four games with a 5-4 overtime win over the improving Metcalfe Jets (2-26-1-1), in the first contest of a four-game road stretch for Vankleek Hill.

Vankleek Hill trailed 4-2 before mounting the comeback. Cougars Captain Mikael Bissonnette and Assistant Captain Joshua Desjardins each had two goals for Vankleek Hill.

Skyba was the player of the game for Vankleek Hill, notching three assists before scoring the overtime winner. Duroucher-Bourdon earned the win in net.

Edouard Ranger joins shorthanded Cougars to face South Grenville

Facing a shortage of players, the Cougars called up 16-year-old defenseman Edouard Ranger, who hails from nearby Saint-Eugène, to bolster their back end against the South Grenville Rangers on Sunday. With the Cougars having only five defensemen on Sunday, Ranger was called upon to play a big role.

“He played extremely well,” said Cougars Head Coach Franky Dopelhamer, of Ranger’s performance. “He was really good.”

The 5’6”, 139-lb rearguard has been playing the 2022/2023 season with the Cornwall Colts U18AAA team, where he has six assists in 23 games.

“I can’t say enough about Edouard’s performance,” said Dopelhamer. “He really stepped up for us when we needed him.”

Cougars and St-Isidore Eagles battle it out this Sunday

The Cougars will battle it out for fifth place with the St-Isidore Eagles in the NCJHL this coming Sunday (January 29) in St-Isidore.

With their split games on the weekend, Vankleek Hill (14-10-1-2) remains in fifth place in the National Capital Junior Hockey League (NCJHL) standings – one point ahead of St-Isidore (14-9-1-1).

The Eagles also split their two games last weekend, earning a 6-2 home win over the Gatineau-Hull Volant on Sunday, after falling 8-5 to the Clarence Castors in a road game on Saturday evening (January 21).

Neither team can afford to look too far ahead however, as both have games to play on Saturday evening (January 27), before they face off the next day. St-Isidore is on the road to face the North Dundas Rockets in a 7:30 p.m. start at the Chesterville Arena, while the Cougars are in Morrisburg for a 7:30 p.m. contest against the Lions.