Mac’s tournament: Cougars win gold

The Prince George Cougars won the Mac’s AAA Midget Tournament title in a thrilling double-overtime match.

The B.C. Major Midget Hockey League leading Prince George Cougars won the coveted Mac’s AAA Midget Tournament title beating the Regina Pat Canadians 2-1 in a thrilling double-overtime match at ScotiaBank Place in Calgary on New Years Day.

“This one has been a long time coming,” Cougars GM  and co-coach Trevor Sprague told the Prince George Citizen Friday. “As a whole organization and the people who supported us is pretty special.”

At last year’s tournament the Cats were winless going 0-4, but this year proved a different story. The Cats lost only one game en route to the championship, a 4-2 loss to the Calgary Northstars in their five-team round-robin pool. They then knocked off Germany’s under-17 national team 5-1 in a quarterfinal tilt Wednesday morning. Justin Almeida then scored the overtime winner to edge the Calgary Buffalos 5-4 in the semifinal match to advance to the final on Thursday.

The Pat Canadians held off the BCMMHL Vancouver Northwest Giants 3-2 in the other semifinal to reach the title game.

Chase Dubois scored the winner for the Cougars 1:23 into double overtime while goaltender Griffen Outhouse stopped 40 of 41 shots to earn the win in net.

“We didn’t know anything about Regina except when they beat the Giants,” said Sprague. “I thought both teams played a similar game. It was a fast, physical and had good goaltending. It was an evenly-matched game. We got the first goal and the last goal and that’s what counts.”

Conor MacEachern was named the tournament’s top defenceman and Outhouse earned top goaltender.

The Cougars sit atop the BCMMHL with a stellar 22-3-1 record and have a nine-point cushion over the second-place 17-7-2 Okanagan Rockets.

“Now, every team is going to want to beat us and they’ll be ready for us,” said Sprague. “We’re going to have to be even more prepared than everybody else. If we put the same amount of work in, we’re going to have success.”

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