Monday, December 21, 2009

(Quick) Dukes Pre-Gamer

The Wellington Dukes roll into town tonight for the last time this season.  Well, regular season anyways.  The way the standings are shaping up it's looking like the Cougars will face the Dukes if they can grab that last playoff spot.  More on that later...

The Dukes are playing a  solid season, sitting atop the Eastern Division for almost the entire season.  They've done this on the strength of consistent special teams (7th ranked PK and PP) and rock solid defensive play.

Dukes Fun Facts: (Well, fun if you're a fan of the Dukes)
- Only one (1) Duke has a minus rating on the season
- Jordan Ruby might as well be a brick wall (1.99 GAA, .940 SV%)
- They have earned 19 of a possible 32 points on the road (Compared to Cobourg's 7 of a possible 38...)

A frustrating string of close losses on the road has put a severe damper on the Cougars' playoff hopes and each addition to the L column is only making life more difficult for the Cougars down the stretch.  Winning home games is a virtual necessity for the Cougars if they want to stay in the race, particularly against Divisional opponents.

And finally, don't forget to scroll down and post some ideas for the Cougars!  I have received some great ideas already that I will post in a few days.  Go ahead!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cougars' Christmas Fan Forum

Eight more sleeps people - Better get on that shopping!

In the spirit of Christmas, and specifically giving, I thought it would be a good idea to give the fans an opportunity to give us their ideas.  So I strongly encourage anybody reading this who has ever said "The Cougars need to *fill in the blank*" or "I'd go to a Cougars game if *fill in the blank*" or "I've always wondered if the Cougars *fill in the blank*" to scroll down and *fill in the blank* in the comments section.  All comments can be posted anonymously so there's no need to fear any retribution.  I only ask that everybody keeps the discussion rational, reasonable and constructive.  I will delete comments that don't make a meaningful contribution to the discussion to make sure that this is a welcoming and positive experience for everybody involved.  That doesn't mean you can't be critical - The Cougars are having a pretty rough season after all - just keep things in the Christmas Spirit.

The Cougars are in a transitional period right now.  New ownership with local connections has taken over the team, there is a new rink on the way, and the team is looking for ways to get the fans really involved in the team and to make the Cougars "Cobourg's Team".  And what better way to reach the fans than to ask for their own opinions?  Team management is very eager to give the community what they want to see and I guarantee that your comments will be seen by the coaches, management and ownership.  So please, if you have any ideas, comments or questions post them below!

Don't be shy!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Right Place, Right Time

Remember my idea to have the Cougars play a low scoring game against Dixie last night?  Yeah, not so much.  The Cougars would overcome some sieve-like goaltending in the first and second periods to overcome a 6-3 deficit to start the third period and win 7-6.

Adam Place scored a hat trick, the third being the eventual game winner, to power the Cougars to a dramatic come from behind victory.  After giving up a 3-2 lead early in the second by allowing four straight goals (on eight shots...) the Cougars potted four straight even strength goals in the third.  As usual, the players did their best to give everybody in the stands a serious case of heart failure throughout the contest.  Thoroughly exciting as always!

It should also be noted that Matt Diminie has been recognized by the CCHL as the East Division Player of the Month for November!  His nine goals and eleven assists in 12 games were tops in the division and good enough to earn him the distinction.  It's nice to have a hometown boy, on a hometown team earn such a noteworthy honour.  Congrats Matt! (Story here.)

Pssst, if you want some free tickets to a Cougars home game click "comment" below and leave a message about the Cougars with your e-mail address so I can contact you.  I will remove the e-mail address from the message if you wish.  I'm trying to stimulate some discussion here!  Let me know what you think about the Cougars, the new rink, music between whistles etc.  Anything!  The team wants to know what you think!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Whistlin' Dixie

No, I'm not talking about this guy.  I'm talking about tonight's game against the Dixie Beehives from the Western division.  The Beehives come into Cobourg for the only time this season sporting a 5-3-1-24 record, good for 20th in the league of 21 teams.

That said, the Cougars should not be taking this game lightly.  They have allowed an average of just under 5 goals per game over their last 6 so instead of playing their usually variety of barnstorming home games, they should take this opportunity against a seemingly beatable opponent to really clamp down and keep things relaxed in their own end.  Heck, I think they should try to win their first 2-goal game of the year!  (Still 10-0 in those.)

Loparco, Demetrius and Gialedakis are the forwards to watch out for tonight but the Cougars really should be able to shut this team down and earn a low-scoring win tonight.

Then again, if I were a betting man (which I'm not) I would definitely take the over on tonight's score.

And now for a quasi-political rant:


Remember him?  He was an integral part of this Cobourg team back in early November when the offense was really hitting its stride.  He has missed the last 12 games or so as a member of the Kitchener Rangers, which is fantastic.  The goal of this league is to provide young players with the experience and skills necessary to climb the hockey ranks.  However, Mr. Morris has been stuck at 9 GP for a while now.  Is he hurt?  Nope.  Suspended?  No again.  Missing?? Still no.

I'm no expert on the intricacies of inter-league player exchanges but I would hazard a guess that a 10th game would require some sort of financial arrangement between the Cougars and Rangers.  The Cougars would be sad to see Branden go, but happy to see him playing in the OHL, and I'm sure Branden would be thrilled to be given that opportunity.  Wasting away in the press box deprives Branden of valuable development and the Cougars of a valuable defenceman.  The Rangers need to make a decision.

Hopefully this is resolved soon, to the satisfaction of all parties involved.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Quick Stouffville Pre-Game

The Cougars are off to the friendly confines of the "Stouffville Arena" tonight.  Their road record (3-1-0-11) has been disastrous this season and it is high time they started to win games away from home ice.

There's no better team to face in that regard than Stouffville as Cobourg is a perfect 3 for 3 against them this season.  Hopefully they can keep this trend going tonight!

One more thing.  This blog is currently 2 hits away from 1000 total hits!  So, if you are reading this there's a chance that you are that hit.  To celebrate I am going to give two tickets free tickets to the first person to make a comment in the space below.  Just include your e-mail or phone number so I can contact you.  The tickets can be used at any home game from now until the end of the regular season.

**Important** All comments are moderated so your comment will not show up right away.  Even if there are no comments at the bottom, somebody might have posted already.  I will remove your contact information before I post the comment if you request it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Rollercoaster Affair

Well last night's game was entertaining.  In typical Cougars home game fashion the score was altogether too high on both sides.  Through 17 home games this year in the Cobourg Memorial Arena the opposing teams combined for nine or more goals on a ridiculous 13 occasions.  In fact, the lowest totals were in 3-2 losses to Seguin and Durham.  Maybe the nets are a little bigger in Cobourg?  In any case, you're virtually guaranteed to see a nail-biting affair at a Cougar's home game.

Despite taking a 5-2 lead early in the second period the Cougars let the lead slip away in the third and eventually lost 6-5 in a shootout to the Liflock Stars.  Through the three games these teams have played against each other thus far both have earned 4 points each and the games are usually pretty close.  They face each other one last time in Peterborough on Friday, January 22nd in a game that will hopefully have some playoff implications.  Road trip anybody?

Early in the second period it looked like the game was as good as over.  Brooks Behling scored a beauty from his knees in the faceoff circle and Place snuck one through the Cormier's 5-hole to score Cobourg's 3rd and 4th goals respectively.  When Couto scored on the PP to make it 5-2 it seemed like we had a rout on our hands but Peterborough buckled down and steadily chipped away at the lead.  Considering the Stars have a very limited supply of firepower the collapse was particularly vexing.

The Cougars have a busy week ahead, playing on Thursday in Stouffville and Friday in Lindsay.  Hopefully they can get some much needed points in those contests.  They face Dixie next Monday, the worst team in the entire CCHL so come prepared for another overwhelming onslaught of offense.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Peterborough Pre-Gamer

Hey Sports Fans!

After a flat 4-0 loss in Bowmanville yesterday, the Cougars have a chance for quick redemption at home against the Liftlock Stars.  The season series between Cobourg and Peterborough has been competitive, and rightly so as they are next to each other in the standings.  Look for both teams to play an energetic game as each side needs to gain some points now before they lose too much ground in the standings.

A quick look at the stats will bear out the fact that the Liftlock stars are absolutely bereft of a go-to guy up front.  Their leading scorer is Jeff Swift with 12 goals and 21 points.  In contrast, the Cougars have 7 players with 20 points or more, one being stalwart defenseman Lawton McCracken, and 4 players with at least 13 goals on the season.  There is no question that Cobourg holds the edge in goal-scoring ability.

This begs the question: How are the Stars 3 points ahead of the Cougars with 3 games in hand?

The Answer(s): Special teams, and two-goal games.

Peterborough's PK operates at an efficient 86%, good for 5th in the league. Cobourg's PK is a mediocre 79.6% although it has improved from a few weeks ago when they were hovering around 75%.

And yes, two-goal games have been Cobourg's Achilles' Heel all year long.  Weird, right?  Well, the Cougars sport a fantastically awful 0-10 record in games decided by 2 goals.  (Poinstreak posts the record as "0-0-0-10" despire the fact that it is impossible to get an extra point in a 2-goal game...)  Meanwhile Peterborough is a respectable 4-3 in similarly tallied tilts.  Is there any significance to this stat?  Not really.  But it sure is odd.

Anyways, come on out to arena tonight!  Same cat-time, same cat-channel! (With apologies to Adam West.)

Go Cougars!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pre-game & New Rink!

OK, new rink first.

As of March 2011 the Cougars will have a brand new ice surface to play on and you can help to determine how the facility will end up.

Go here to take a look at the 5 proposed designs.  There are concept images and layout designs accompanied by a 2-page press release for each of the 5 companies bidding on the project.

I like the look of the Peak design and it has a nice plan for an upstairs atrium with a view of both pads.  However, the Bird design has by far the best seating arrangement as it is the only plan that has seating going all the way around the ice surface.  The other 4 designs propose a style similar to the Belleville Bulls' arena, which is a fine facility, but I like to have seats behind the nets and in the corners.

All 5 companies are going to make a 10 minute presentation about their design proposal tonight at 6pm at the council meeting.

You also have until this Thursday (December 3rd) to fill out the "Design Response Form" found on that page so fill one out and make sure your voice is heard.

Oh right, the pre-game.

The Stouffville Spirit are in town tonight.  You know, that team with the great penalty killing and awful power play?  They're also one of 5 teams within the 27-31 points range in the standings that the Cougars (23 points) need to make up some ground on, so there are two important points on the line.  Come on out and watch!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tough Loss in OT

The Cougars salvaged a point in yet another high-scoring affair but they really should have come away with two points against a team below them in the standings.

The most exciting minute of the game came at the halfway point.  At 10:02 Pickering's Tyler von Engelbrechten scored to put the Panther's up 3-1, which at the time felt like that "next goal" that usually puts a game away.  But Cobourg quickly responded with two goals in the next 55 seconds from Thompson and Couto.  The teams exchanged goals until the end of regulation and both came out flying in the extra period.

There was a controversial moment less than a minute into the OT period when Ramsay and Herrington got tangled up with one another on the way out of Cobourg's zone and Herrington was assessed an interference minor after the Pickering player fell to the ice with a flourish.  The crowd was none too pleased with the call and became even more incensed when Ramsay himself scored the winning goal on a nice cross-crease feed from Jesse Hebscher just before the penalty was due to expire.

Next on the docket is a game in Ajax where the Cougars will attempt to get two very important points and their 4th road win of the season from an Attack team that is certainly beatable, tied for 3rd worst in the goals allowed category.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pickering Panthers Pre-game Primer

Pardon the alliteration.

For the first time in a very long time the Cougars are going to play a team that is actually behind them in the standings.  Small victories people! 

The Panthers have struggled mightily over the past few weeks winning only two of their past nine games and are an abysmal 2-0-10 on the road this season.  The two teams have played each other twice this year, earning one win apiece, making this Cobourg's golden opportunity to take the lead in the season series.

There are only 10 home games left in the season so the Cougars need to start posting some W's on home ice if they want to play some meaningful hockey in January.  Come on out and watch them go for it.

Branden Morris update:
7 GP, 0G, 2A, +3, 7 PIM

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November 18th Pre-Game

Hey there sports fans!  I covered tonight's matchup in my blog the other day but I'll try to give you a bit of a primer here.

Firstly, you should all visit the CCHL website and check out the stats they have there.  Pointstreak does a phenomenal job of compiling statistics and on the day of or day before a matchup you can find a detailed team comparison up in the Scoreboard area. It's seriously like 37 pages of information - no typo.

If you peruse that particular document you'll discover that the Junior Canadiens really know how to score - or at least two of them do.  If the Cougars can shut down the line with Jackson and McDonough they might escape with two points.  If not it could be a long night for Mr. Behling.

In contrast, the Cougars have developed some scoring depth with Matt Diminie, Adam Place, Brandon Couto, James Diminie and, recently, Dylan McMahon all lighting the lamp.  James Diminie has been particularly resurgent of late and you can find a great article about him in today's edition of Northumberland Today.

For those of you who have Twitter but aren't following the Cougars, shame on you.  For those of you who don't have Twitter, go get it!  It's just a simple way to keep track of the things and people you're interested in.  Go here to sign up and HERE to follow the Cougars!

For those of you who do have Twitter and do follow the Cougars, congratulations!  You were fortunate enough to have seen the following stat:

The Cougars have a team +/- of -1, not counting special teams, meaning that the opposition has outscored Cobourg by a total of one goal all year (100 GF, 101 GA).

The Ajax Attack has been outscored 124 - 105 on the year (-19).

Despite this, the Attack sit at 10th overall in CCHL standings while the Cougars sit at 17th.  Frustrated yet?

Come out tonight to watch the Cougars get back to a positive team +/- for the first time since October 5th!  For those of you scoring at home that means they will outscore the Junior Canadiens, thus winning the game and establishing their longest winning streak of the year at four games.

Go Cougars!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Strong Outing by the Cougars

For the first time since that laugher on Hallowe'en the Cougars put on a dominating performance at home, trouncing the visiting Peterborough Liftlock Stars 7-2.

The Stars came in with one of the lowest GAA's in the league but the Cougars unleashed a steady barrage of shots on Zac Fryia, chasing him from the net at the end of the 2nd period.  The backup, Real Cormier, fared no better as he allowed 3 goals on 14 shots in the third.  The Stars lack of scoring punch was evident all night and particularly while their forwards whiffed on a few one-timer opportunities when the game was still somewhat close late in the second.  Behling had to make a few good stops while the Stars had the man advantage but the Cougars gave him a relatively easy night between the pipes.

Cobourg has established two very effective scoring lines up front and have been giving opposing defenses fits when they gain possession down low in the offensive zone.  The line of Couto and the Diminies was prolific, combining for 5 goals and 9 points, which took some pressure of of the Place-Thompson-Foote line, which had been very productive for the past few games.

Things got a little out of hand at the end as Cobourg continued to dent the twine.  Emotions boiled over when Troy Barss dealt a vicious two-hander to Brendan Sims after the whistle had gone.  Sims was the bigger man, skating away and refusing to get involved in the Stars' childish antics.

The Toronto Junior Canadiens come in tomorrow with 15 wins under their belt so they'll present a tough challenge to the Cougars who will need all of the momentum from last night's game to get a win.  On a positive note, Toronto is 5-8 on the road so hopefully Cobourg can capitalize on the Junior Canadiens' struggles away from home ice.  Kelly Jackson and Jason McDonough have been a dynamic duo combining for 30 goals and 77 points so far so it will be important for the Cougar's D-men to shut them down.

Come on out and support the team.  7pm puck drop at the old Barn!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Developing Talent + Peterborough Pre-Game

Hey there sports fans,
  There are currently two Cougars who started the 09/10 season on the Cougars' roster who are now plying their trade in the OHL.  Defenseman Anton Zupancic was drafted by the Kitchener Rangers and then traded to the Sarnia Sting before the season even began.  Branden Morris played 21 games for the Cougars scoring 4 goals and 14 points before also being snatched up by the Kitchener Rangers.
  Anton, who turned 17 this month, played two games with the Sting before getting hurt and has since played 10 games with the Sarnia Legionnaires.  He is an aggressive player who doesn't score much but definitely seeks to intimidate the other team.
  Branden, who turned 17 in March, is a much more offensive-minded player.  In 6 games with the Rangers he has notched 2 assists and has a +2 rating.  Solid numbers for a young player in a brand new league.
  Defense has been the Cougars' Achilles Heel all season so losing these two players has been a huge blow to the Cougars' back-end.  The Cougars lack a consistent goal-scoring presence from the blue line and a tough bruising player who can dish out punishment to the other team's forward and Morris as well as Zupancic would fit the bill perfectly.  However, losing your best players to the next level is business as usual in a league focused on development.  Situations like these are certainly a double-edged sword and they provide a very good reason to come out and watch these guys play hockey.

   Gone are the days of icing squads that simply have the best chance to win.  Teams in the newly formed CCHL share a commitment to developing young players to go on to the next level, whether that level is College, University, the OHL or some other upper echelon league.  The promotions of Morris and Zupancic are proof of this new reality.  The downside is that rosters are composed of younger players who tend to be inconsistent but it also showcases some young players who possess the innate hockey skills to some day become great hockey players and human beings later in life.
  You might point out that every team in the CCHL is in the same boat, so citing the goal of development as the reason for a poor record is inaccurate.  And if you did you'd be right.  The entire management team, from ownership to management to coaches to players, are dissatisfied with the team's slow start and changes are pending or have already been made.

  The Peterborough Liftlock Stars come into town tonight as the least active (19 GP) and 3rd lowest scoring team in the entire CCHL.  None of their forwards have scored more than 7 goals or 13 points - in comparison the Cougars' top scorers are Adam Place (36 points), Matt Diminie (30 points) and Stefan Thompson (29 points).  Clearly, the Cougars hold the edge in just about every offensive category and with three wins in their last five games, one of them against a very good Markham team, the team is showing some signs of life as they look to claw their way out of the basement in the Eastern Division.  Peterborough's strength is in net as Zac Fryia has posted solid stats with a .912 save percentage and a 2.99 GAA.  The Cougars' scorers will have their work cut out for them if the Stars put him between the pipes tonight.

Puck drops at 7 PM.  See you there.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

5-4 Cougars. Awesome.

Well, it wasn't the low-scoring affair I predicted, but the Cougars did indeed manage to beat the 2nd place Markham Waxers 5-4 in overtime last night. The offense was impressive, as scoring 5 goals against a team that came in ranked 5th in total goals allowed on the season is no mean feat. 

The teams traded goals, in typical high-scoring Cougar fashion, making for a scintillating hockey game.  The 250+ fans certainly got their money's worth last night - and a great Remembrance Day ceremony to boot!  Hats off to the Cobourg Pipe and the Veterans who helped to give the ceremony a sense of sincerity and authenticity.

Adam Place continues to be a monster for the team, scoring two goals and assisting on the game winner with 0:44 left in OT.  Foote had a great night for his fantasy owners (kidding..) with the game winning goal, two assists, four penalty minutes and a +1 rating.  Finally, I need to mention Lawton McCracken's incredible work in overtime.  While the Cougars were shorthanded he blocked three shots, one of which was a certain goal with Behling way out of position, and cleared the zone at least twice.  If the Cougars continue to get big games like this from their big players they could start to make a serious push up the standings.

Recently, the club lost Branden Morris to the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL.  Branden was easily one of their best players on the Cougars during their recent run of high-octane hockey.  It's a big loss on the fragile back end but it's a fantastic sign for the CCHL as it is working to become a legitimate developmental league for players to go on to the OHL, College and maybe even the NHL.  Stay tuned for a blog on this in a few days.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Markham Pre-Game

The Markham Waxers come into town tonight to face a gradually improving Cobourg squad.  The Cougars have 4 wins in their last 9 games; not too bad considering their record of 3 and 11 to begin the season.

This improvement can be attributed to a maturing offense that has begun to spread some scoring throughout the roster.  Matt Diminie and Adam Place are tied for 8th in the league in the category of goals scored and Stefan Thompson is a respectable seventh in the assists category.

The stats start to get ugly when you scroll down the list of +/- leaders and notice that there isn't a Cougar until the mid 40's.  This team has to improve it's defensive play if it really wants to start converting the fruits of its emerging offense into victories.

Aside from having one of the greatest team names in the league, the Waxers come in with a very impressive 10-2-3-4 record and some solid players on their roster.  David Titanic (yet another righteous name) leads their team with 15 goals and 25 points while their crease is patrolled by the effective tandem of Dylan Ellis and Franky Palazzese who have both posted impressive numbers to this point.  They have lost 2 of their last 3 games (one to former Cougar Chris Azzano in an impressive 33 save, 1 goal performance!) so this is a Markham team that has looked beatable over the past week or so.

If the Cougars can play a defensive game and find some of the magic in a bottle that they unleashed against Lindsay the other night they should be able to come out of this game with at least one point.  The Waxers are a solid defensive team so goals will be hard to come by.  The key will be for the defense to contain the Titanic, who is the lynchpin in Markham's mediocre offense.  If they can do that the Cougars might actually play in a low-scoring game, certainly a rarity for them.

See you at the game!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Big Win!

It was a romp on All Hallow's Eve in the Jack Heenan Arena on Saturday night.  The Cougars blew out every bulb on the scoreboard en route to a 9-1 thrashing of the Whitby Fury.  The win merely illustrated one of the more frustrating aspects of the Cougars' season so far.

With a team +/- of only -5 through 20 games it seems like the Cougars should deserve a better spot in the standings than last in the East.  Ajax (who plays in Cobourg tonight by the way... get to the arena and watch!) has a team +/- of -7 and yet they sit a full 7 points ahead of Cobourg in the standings!  This curious statistic is a product of two things: close losses and blow-out victories.  Hopefully the Cougars can maintain this scoring touch and get on a winning streak because they need to put up some serious points to get back into the middle of the pack.

See you tonight at the game!  And hey, if you go to a bunch of games do yourself a favour and by a 10-game flex pack for $75.  You'll save 2.50 per game and they can be used at any home game for the rest of the season!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cougarish Thoughts on a Wednesday

Before I get to a recap of the game against the Dukes I think I should let my loyal readers know about some upcoming events in Cougar land.

This Halloween Kris Kelly and Sean Savoy (singers for local band Skin Davey) will be performing the national anthem at our October 31st Halloween special game.  Also, kids dressed in costume will get in for $2!

Look for the Cougars' the Cobourg Santa Claus parade on November 22nd and again in some other events in Cobourg throughout the winter season!

As for the game on Monday the Cougars suffered their third straight loss against the Wellington Dukes.  Aside from the first period, the Cougars played a defensively sound and energetic game.  They showed some great effort on the penalty kill scoring a shorthanded goal in the second and creating a number of additional chances as well.  Unfortunately, a dismal 1st period saw them outshot 17-7 and outscored 3-0.  The puck was in the Cougars' end for such a majority of the frame that they failed to register a shot on Wellington's goalie until the 11th minute and the Zamboni probably could have gotten away with doing half the ice surface between periods.  Cobourg was far better organized in the latter periods but their disastrous beginning would prove to be their undoing.

Their next game is in Bowmanville on Friday night against the 9-1-7 Eagles.  Cobourg has a slight edge offensively but the Eagles are a sound defensive team in front of the goaltending tandem of Tiechroeb and Bierworth.  Next home tilt is against the 7-5-2 Whitby Fury in the Halloween special.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's Finally Over!

They won!  The Cougars won!  The 11-game losing skid was finally snapped with a convincing win over the Stouffville Spirit last night in the first game of a home-and-home.  The addition of two new players and the return of a top scorer were the perfect remedy for what had been ailing the Cougars lo these past few weeks.  Visit for the stats details or read on for a recap.

The Cougars came out guns-a-blazing in the first, potting two quick tallies in the first 8 minutes.  There was a moment of panic when the Spirit scored just 21 second later to make it 2-1.  Past experience dictated that quick goals have a way of deflating the Cougars' ability to stay in games but just the opposite proved to be the case.  Cobourg scored six unanswered goals in a 21 minute span between 10:35 of the first and 9:50 of the second period en route to a safe 8-1 lead entering the third period.

Couto's return was a great boost for the lineup but the addition of two new players, Rob and Brooks Behling, was phenomenal.  When you've lost eleven in a row changes are due and the addition of these two players was a fantastic move by the management.  Rob, a goalie, made a number of good saves in the early going and you could see the players' confidence grow with each stop.  Brooks displayed some considerable skill up front and found some chemistry with Ben Holtom as both would set each other up for their first goals in a Cougar uniform.

It was great to get the monkey off the back with the win and the Cougars will look to keep it going with another win over the Spirit on the road in Stouffville on Thursday night.

Stay tuned for news regarding upcoming events and a look at the Cougars' organization in the community.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Nowhere To Go But Up

Seriously.  The Cougars are dead last in the entire 21 team CCHL.  There's no way to sugarcoat that particular statistic aside from the fact that there is literally nowhere to go but up.  Technically, they are tied with Seguin at 8 points but the Bruins have a game in hand and are also winning the season series thanks to their 3-2 triumph over the Cougars on October 12th.

The game against Wellington was another close one and, as usual, one or two crucial moments were to blame.  The Cougars played the Dukes extremely well in the first and third stanzas but a disastrous middle frame wherein the cats allowed 19 shots and three goals was the primary cause for the 3-2 defeat.

Tonight the Stouffville Spirit comes in and this game might represent the Cougars' best opportunity to snap this winless streak in a few games.  The Spirit have a woeful powerplay, ranked last in the league and operating at a dismal 5%.  On the other hand their penalty kill is ranked second overall so don't expect very much scoring with the man advantage tonight.

Puck drops at 7, seeya there!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ten Straight, That Ain't Great.

Well, the Cougars played an exciting game against the Ajax Attack last night only to lose their tenth in a row.  It may sound strange but the toughest thing about this losing streak has been the absence of blowouts.  When a team gets absolutely obliterated it stings but not as much as a string of close games that were just out of reach.

The Cougars have been competitive in almost every single game this year but they continue to lose close games or watch leads slip away in the third period.  Excluding an 8 - 3 thrashing courtesy of the Lindsay Muskies, the Cougars' margin of defeat has been 1.7 goals over their losing streak.  Essentially, the difference has been a good bounce here and a timely save there but the Cougars have received neither. Additionally, they have outshot their opponents by an average of almost 7 shots per game.  If this team had found just a little bit of puck luck they might be on a winning streak rather than a losing streak but the Hockey Gods can be a fickle bunch.

Back to the subject of last night's game, I can say without hesitation that it was one of the most wild affairs of the season.  The teams were tied 1-1 at the end of the first, 4-4 at the end of the second, and again at 6-6 with under three minutes to play in the third.  The Cougars' line of Diminie, Place and Thompson with Herrington and Morris on the back end potted back to back goals to knot it up late but a fantastic wrister from Jonny Simone went in off the crossbar to put the Attack up 7-6 with just under two minutes to play.

The game saw its fair share of rough stuff too with a total of 48 minutes in penalties being handed out along with three ejections; two for Ajax and one for Cobourg.  Add on a final score of 8-6 with an empty net goal to get one crowd of exhausted fans and one extremely busy scorekeeper.

The question now is how to end this painful slide and it's up to the coaching staff to find an answer.  Brandon Couto has been banged up but should return soon, giving the cats a fourth legitimate scoring threat in addition to the prolific line of Place, Diminie and Thompson who have put up a total of  20 points and 8 goals in the past 5 games.  Something I'd like to see is a line of Couto, Thompson and Place followed by Diminie, McMahon and Murray or Belmonte to provide a second line with scoring punch and some defensive acumen.

The season is still young and there is plenty of time to make up ground.  Thanks to their great start the Cougars are still only 4 points out of the middle of the pack in the East division.  If their goaltending can come up with some timely saves and the goalscorers keep doing what they're doing there is good reason to expect that this team can and will climb its way back up the standings.

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To borrow a page from the book of Mike Wilner, rational and reasonable comments are encouraged.  I might even respond if you're lucky!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What's another loss?

OK, so a loss is a loss.  The Cougars scorching start has turned into a pretty ugly stretch of hockey over the past six games.  Before I get into the grisly details I'd like to go over something else...

If you look up and to the right you'll see a link to the Cougars' site and the CCHL website.  If you arrived here from one of those sites, good show!  If not, go check them out!  There's plenty of handy information on there.  It takes a little while to find your way around the CCHL site but it's worth getting used to.  Pointstreak keeps track of a myriad of statistical trends that help the interested fan to figure out what the heck is going on.  It also helps yours truly come up with fodder for his scribblings.

For instance, did you know that the Cougars' Greg Carey leads the entire CCHL goals and points, with 17 and 23 respectively, in only 9 games!  That's right folks!  Too bad he plays for the Burlington Cougars... but when he did play the Cougars he only managed a measly 4 PIM, no points and an even rating.  That's something for the Cougars of the Cobourg variety to hang their hats on.

The Cougars are back in Durham tonight to play Whitby and will look to get out of the Loss column.  In order to do so they'll need to tighten up defensively.  You can blame the 28 goals that they've allowed in their last 6 for this nasty losing streak of theirs.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Special Teams...

The first 44 minutes of last night's game between Cobourg and Lindsay were terrifically entertaining for the crowd.  By middle of the second period four of the five goals up on the scoreboard had been scored by the shorthanded team and Adam Place would make the score 4-3 for Lindsay with more than 15 minutes to play in the third.  But then the Muskies' Blake Sexton tallied a shorthanded goal at 9:21 of the third - Lindsay's fourth shorty of the night and his third!  Giving up goals while on the power play is a sure way to deflate the energy on the bench, which happened to be much more energetic than usual last night.  From then on the wheels had clearly fallen off with Lindsay scoring three more goals en route to an 8-3 romp over the Cougars.

It's tough to win when you have twelve (!) chances on the PP and your opponent scores four goals to your two.  On the other hand the PK was clicking, shutting down Lindsay on seven of their eight chances and scoring a shorthanded goal of their own.

The chaos on special teams overshadowed some of the bigger game stories.  One minute into the game Lindsay lost their leading scorer, Micha Calvecchia.  He flew down the ice on a breakaway, fired the puck past backup Matt Kaludis, then crashed loudly into the end boards and had to be helped off the ice favouring his left knee.  This was unquestionably a huge loss for the Muskies but their players responded with an impressive game at both ends of the rink.  Sexton and George picked up the slack scoring 9 points between the two of them and were a huge factor in burying the Cougars during a disastrous third period.

Lawton McCracken was one of the best Cougars on the ice, displaying his excellent speed on a few rushes and making some smart passes out of the zone.  The first pass haunted the Cougars all night as the Muskies were forechecking very aggressively in the neutral zone, ruining Cobourg's transition game all night.  The line of Place, Thompson and Couto had some serious issues backchecking and covering the point while putting up a disgusting -9 rating as a unit.  Matt Diminie missed the game with an injury and his presence on that line and on the entire team was sorely missed.  If the Cougars want to break this ugly losing streak they'll need to work hard on their power play and the sooner Diminie returns the better.

Next game is in Pickering where they'll face the Pickering Panthers for the second time this season.  The Panthers were routed by the Cougars in Cobourg on September 14th, the first game for both teams, and Pickering will be looking to avenge that ugly loss in their home barn on Wednesday night.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Lindsay @ Cobourg Pre-Game

Here's a wrap-up from last night a few quick pre-game notes for tonight...

The Cougars couldn't bounce back form an ugly first period in Wellington last night. The cats allowed three goals in the first frame and just couldn't find a way to bounce back. Special teams were a problem all night long, evidenced by the Dukes' 1 for 1 night on the PP and the Cougars' 0 for 5 showing. Credit should be given to the Dukes' Jordan Ruby who was sensational all night, stopping 28 of the 29 shots he faced. Performances like Ruby's are exhibit A in the argument that your best penalty killer needs to be your goaltender.

The Lindsay Muskies comes to town tonight and the Cougars are going to have their hands full again. The fish are coming off a big 4-1 win over Bowmanville and Micha Colavecchia is on a torrid scoring pace with 11 points in the past 5 games so containing him will be crucial if Cobourg wants to get back in the win column. On Cobourg's side of the equation, the Muskies have allowed 3.68 goals a game this season meaning this could be a busy game for the scorekeepers and an exciting one for the fans.

See you there!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Faric's Trick Sinks Cougars

Sometimes I hate being right.

As advertised, the Fury's top line is extremely dangerous and the Cougars would learn this the hard way in a 3-2 loss last night.

Cobourg dominated the majority of what was a clean first period, holding a wide margin in the shots department throughout the frame. However, an ill-timed giveaway at the Cougars' blue line with less than ten seconds remaining in the first allowed Kris Faric to walk in on Azzano and score his first goal of the evening. This momentary lapse in the dying seconds of the first carried over into the second as the Fury quickly scored in the first minute of the second period - again with Faric as the goal scorer.

Cobourg would find some life in the second on the power play. With Whitby's Taylor Law in the box, steady defenceman Lawton McCracken went top shelf with a nice wrister from the point, cutting the deficit to a single tally with half a game left to play. Azzano made a number of impressive glove saves to keep the score close until the middle of the third frame.

Nine minutes into the third the Cougars' Eric McDermott and Whitby's Sean Davey dropped the gloves at center ice. Inexplicably, Davey clung to the back of McDermott's helmet during the initial stages of the bout but the young Cougar managed get free and landed a few solid right hooks before the pugilists fell to the ice. The spirited bout injected some much needed energy into the Cobourg bench, which seemed rather complacent for most of the match up to that point. Not long after the fight, Adam Place would respond by finding the back of Whitby's net, knotting the score at two.

Unfortunately, Whitby's big guns were too much to handle. Less than three minutes after Place's goal yet another defensive collapse in the Cougars' end, this time in the corner to Azzano's right, led to Kris Faric's third goal of the night, which would stand as the eventual game winner.

Despite this game being the Cougars' fourth straight loss after winning three in a row to start the season there were some positives. The pairing of McCracken and Herrington was solid all night and Matt Diminie played an energetic brand of hockey all night, forcing turnovers and creating a few odd-man rushes for the Cougars with his quick passes up the ice. Azzano made some spectacular saves and it should be noted that the first and third goals were scored by Kris Faric, a highly skilled player, all alone in front of the net. If not for the last ten seconds of the first period and first thirty seconds of the second period this might have been a hard fought 2-1 victory.

The Cougars will try to get that elusive fourth win of the season on the road in Wellington next Sunday (October 4th); no easy task to be sure but there will be no love lost between the two squads as they've taken both of their previous matches to a shootout.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

The First Cougars Blog!

Welcome to the Cobourg Cougars official Blog.

This is where you can find regular updates on the status of the team, their latest games, upcoming games and anything else Cougar related. Go ahead and bookmark us so you can find us again some day!

After a hot 3-0 start to the 09/10 season the Cougars have hit a little rough patch losing three straight to fall to 3-2-1 on the season. One of those losses was in a shootout to the Wellington Dukes, a perennial powerhouse in this league, so the competition has been stiff.

Tonight (Monday September 28th) the Cougars are facing the Whitby Fury (2-4-1) for the first time this season and will be looking to get back in the win column. The Fury have some accomplished scorers up front in the line of Law, Feric and Robertson but the Cougars will counter with their top line of Couto, Diminie and Thompson. The Fury are coming off a big 8-3 win over Pickering so look for them to hit the ice running. Or skating. Either way, it should be an exciting game!

See you there!