The Vankleek Hill Cougars kicked off their 2023-2024 National Capital Junior Hockey League (NCJHL) season with a roar last weekend, winning both of their games.

The Cougars stormed back with three unanswered goals in the third period to stun the St-Isidore Eagles for a hard-earned 3-1 road victory on Sunday evening (September 24). The win came less than 24 hours after the Vankleek Hill Junior C squad downed the Metcalfe Jets 4-2 on Saturday (September 23), in the team’s home opener at the freshly-renovated Vankleek Hill Community Centre.

Saturday, September 23 – VKH Cougars 4 Metcalfe Jets 2

Jérémy Marcotte had a goal and an assist, while Alexandre Chenier, Malcolm Seguin and Luka Tomich added singles, as the Cougars topped Metcalfe 4-2 in the team’s season opener at the Vankleek Hill Community Centre.

Alexandria-born rookie goaltender Tristan Paquette, who just turned 16 last month, was outstanding in the victory for the Cougars. Paquette spent the 2022-2023 season with the Seaway Valley Rapids U16 AA squad.

Vankleek Hill rode a strong first period, with Tomich scoring just 4:49 into the game, as the Cougars ended the frame with a 3-1 lead. After a scoreless second period, both teams exchanged goals in the third.

Sunday, September 24 – VKH Cougars 3 St-Isidore Eagles 1

Cougars captain Josh Desjardins fired a goal and added two assists, as the Cougars scored three unanswered goals in the third period for a 3-1 comeback win over the St-Isidore Eagles.

Rookie netminder Brayden Prevost shut the door for Vankleek Hill, allowing only a lone goal by St-Isidore’s Ethan Holterman at 7:48 of the second period. Alexandre Chenier had a goal for the Cougars, while Alexander Perry had a goal and an assist, and Zachary Bigras two assists.

Desjardins cued the Cougars comeback in the third period, scoring just 1:05 into the frame to tie the game at 1-1. Chenier’s goal midway through the period from Desjardins and Bigras, stood up as the winner, with Perry scoring with 7:40 left to stake the Cougars to a 3-1 lead they never relinquished.

Upcoming games

The Cougars are on the road this Friday, September 29, as they travel for a rematch against the Metcalfe Jets. Game time is 8 p.m. at the Fred Barrett Arena in Metcalfe.

On Saturday, October 7, the Cougars are back home to face the Gatineau-Hull Volant at the Vankleek Hill Arena. Vankleek Hill will travel to Cumberland to play the Castors on Sunday, October 8, at the Ray Friel Recreation Complex.

Cunning notches assist in Cougars debut

My nephew Garrett Cunning, an ’06 forward prospect from Vankleek Hill, made his debut on Saturday evening for the Cougars. He played great and had an assist on the team’s first goal of the season!

Garrett played the 2022-2023 season with the Eastern Ontario Cobras U18AA team, scoring eight goals and nine assists in 29 games. He also played five games with the Hawkesbury Hawks U18 AAA squad, recording one point for the team.

I am so proud of you Garrett!

Thrilled to be back as Cougars’ statistician

I am very excited and happy to be back with the Cougars as Team Statistician for the 2023-2024 season.

Saturday night’s season opening home game in Vankleek Hill marked a number of first-time experiences for me. It was my first time working as Cougars’ statistician in my hometown arena and second with the team; first time doing a lot of different categories of statistics in my long statistician career (penalty minutes, turnovers, shots that missed the net, hits, keeping track of power plays and penalty kill).

I love my Cougars family!

Photo Gallery – Cougars vs. Metcalfe Jets, Saturday, September 23. Click on any photo to see it in full size. Photos by Sylvain Lauwers