BY PETER JAMES
The Cariboo Cougars are a win away from a third straight berth in the BC Major Midget League final after taking Game 1 of a best-of-three semifinal series against the Vancouver Northwest Giants 7-1 at Kin 1 on Friday afternoon.
Reid Perepeluk scored twice and Jeremy Gervais had a goal and three assists.
Mason Richey, Devin Sutton, Trey Thomas and Tyler Maser also scored the goals for the Cougars as they crashed the net to capitalize on rebound opportunities.
Marcus van der Made replied for the Cougars.
Marcus Allen made 22 saves for the win, including a series of nice stops with the Cougars holding a one-goal lead early in the second period. Jesse Makaj and Aiden Taylor combined for 31 saves for Vancouver Northwest.
Cariboo set the tone early against their longtime rivals, scoring twice in the first four minutes.
Richey buried a rebound at 2:37 of the first period to get things going. Jeremy Gervais and Daine Dubois got the assists.
Sutton collected another rebound at 3:49, cleaning up after Makaj stopped a Joel Patsey blast. Ty Kolle also got an assist on the power-play tally.
Van der Made got the Giants back within one at 12:13, set up by Jacob Fournier. Matteo Pecchia also got an assist.
After surviving a Giants’ flurry early in the second the Cougars steadily added to their lead the rest of the game.
Gervais made it 3-1 at 8:37 of the middle period, scoring after the Cougars peppered Makaj with shots for an entire shift. After making a couple of saves Makaj was still getting back in position when Gervais’ point shot went in off a body.
Perepeluk made it 4-1 shortly after, once again taking advantage of a rebound opportunity as he had a couple of chances at the side of the net.
Thomas added one more before the period was out, taking a pass from Daine Dubois on a two on one and beating Makaj with five seconds left in the second. Gervais also got an assist.
The onslaught continued in the third with Maser adding to the lead at 8:07, redirecting a perfectly placed pass from Gervais
Perepeluk closed out the scoring at 9:51 of the third, with assists from Jarin Sutton and Riley Krane.
Game 2 is set for Saturday at 3:15 p.m. and if necessary Game 3 is slated for 9:45 a.m. on Sunday. All games are at Kin 1.