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.

If you haven't done so already, check us out on Twitter at for regular updates, exclusive content and even contests!

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!