The Greater Vancouver Canadians came away with nothing more than a couple of painful lessons from their regular season home opener series against Cariboo Cougars last weekend.
After seeing a third period rally come up short in a 4-3 loss Saturday to the Prince George squad, the Canadians squandered a late two goal lead 24 hours later in a 6-5 setback. The results leave the regional rep team with a 2-2 record in the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League.
"That was a tough one to lose Saturday after battling back the way we did and then we turned around and handed them the game on Sunday," said Canadians head coach Phil Alalouf. "We didn't play 60 minutes of hockey in either game. The only bright spot is I rather be giving away points at the start of the season, where you are at least learning something from it, than at the end of year."
The Cougars looked to on their way to an easy win in the series opener thanks to a pair of goals in the first and second periods. Ryan Wilkinson finally put the hosts on the board three minutes into the final stanza and Nathan McCarnan struck again just 10 seconds later. Dante Hannoun made it 4-3 with 8:53 remaining but the hosts would get no closer.
The Canadians looked poised to earn a weekend split when Hannoun's goal with 11:41 remaining gave his team a 5-3 lead. However, the Cougars answered just 27 seconds later on a spectacular effort by Brogan O'Brien. Jesse
Roach put his team on even terms less than two minutes later, then beat Sergio Del-Linz for the game winner and his hat trick with 3:11 left.
Up until last weekend, it had been smooth sailing for Greater Vancouver after a perfect pre-season then a pair of wins in Victoria to open league play against the South Island Royals. Now they need to regroup with perennial powerhouse Vancouver Northwest Giants up next including a Sunday morning tilt (10 a.m.) at the Richmond Olympic Oval.
"The way things had been going I think many of these young kids thought they were all that and a ham sandwich," added Alalouf. "You have to remember a lot of them come (from Bantam teams) that basically never lost. This was a real eye opener for them and they are having a hard time reflecting on what happened to them."
Richmond's Owen Seidel had a pair of goals in Sunday's loss. Scott Munro and Sean Gillespie had the others.
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