BY PETER JAMES
Darian Long scored a hat trick as the Cariboo Cougars won their third straight game to open the Mac’s Major Midget Hockey Tournament on Thursday with an 8-3 win over the New York Junior Islanders at Calgary’s Father David Bauer Arena.
Myles Mattila scored twice, with Trey Thomas, Hunter Floris and Daine Dubois adding singles. Marcus Allen made 21 saves.
The 3-0 start is the best ever in franchise history for the Cougars at the Mac’s. The win also clinches first place in Pool 2 and a spot in the quarter-finals.
After the Islanders got on the board in the opening minute of the game, the Cougars responded with three straight goals to take 3-1 lead into the first intermission.
Floris and Joel Patsey set up Thomas on the power play to even the score. Long got the lone assist on Matilla’s first to put the Cougars ahead. Floris scored for the third straight game with help from Devin Sutton and Thomas.
Dubois scored less than five minutes into the second period as the Cougars began to pull away from the Islanders. Ty Kolle and Jonas Harkins collected the assists.
Long took over in the middle stages of the period scoring three times with his natural hat trick bid interrupted by an Islanders goal.
Long’s first was set up by Mattila. His second was assisted by Patsey. His third came on a penalty shot.
The teams exchanged goals in the third, with Mattila scoring for Cariboo with Brennan Malgunas getting the lone assist.
The loss drops the Islanders to 1-2 in Pool 2 action.
The Cougars complete the round robin on Friday morning against Edmonton’s South Side Athletic Club BP Athletics. They will play their quarter-final on Saturday morning against one of the second-place qualifiers.
Finally the team owes a big thank you to the Patsey family who as been providing updates from Calgary so that team can pass those along to the fans.