The Cariboo Cougars notched their first win of the 2017 Telus Cup on Wednesday and moved within a point of first place with a 4-3 victory over the Cape Breton West Islanders at CN Centre
Hunter Floris with a pair, Daine Dubois and Darian Long scored for Cariboo, who survived a parade to the penalty box all night long and a late Cape Breton surge to improve to 1-1-1 in round-robin action.
Keenan Gillis, Sean Stewart and Logan Chisholm scored for the Islanders who fall to 2-1-0, but remain in a first-place tie with Leduc and Mississauga.
Marcus Allen made his third straight start and stopped 27 shots, many of them coming on the 12 Islander power plays.
Colten Ellis made 28 saves for Cape Breton.
With the Cougars up 3-1 heading into the third, the Islanders twice clawed within a goal. First at 9:42 Stewart took a cross ice feed from Calum MacPherson and one-timed a shot from the blue-line past Allen.
But the Cougars came right back to restore the two-goal lead. Riley Krane generated a neutral zone turnover and fed Darian Long, who proceeded to sprint in alone towards the net, finishing the play off through the five hole at 11:42.
Chisholm’s shorthanded goal from Logan Timmons at 18:02 made for an exciting finish and a Cougars’ penalty with 20 seconds on the clock made for some tense moments, but Allen and his teammates shut the door the rest of the way.
For the first time in the tournament the Cougars were the first on the board as Floris lit the lamp at 14:38 of the opening period. Joel Patsey got the play started with a stretch pass to Darian Long at the Islanders’ blue-line. Long beat his man and fired a shot as he drove to the net. Ellis made the first save and after Long poked at the rebound it squirted to Floris and he fired it home.
The first period was a penalty filled affair, with the Cougars coming up empty on three chances and Cape Breton misfiring on all four of their opportunities. More consequentially, the Cougars lost defenceman Joel Patsey for the rest of the game as he was handed a checking from behind minor and a game misconduct.
Floris out did himself with his second of the game at 12:55 of the second. After Trey Thomas picked an Islander pocket in the Cougars’ zone, he fed Floris who proceeded to split the Islanders’ defence, make a move on Ellis and slide it in through the five-hole.
Dubois made it 3-0 at 18:12 of the third, finding the loose puck in front of Ellis after a scramble. Jeremy Gervais and Tyler Maser got the assists on the power play goal.
Cape Breton got one back before the second period was out, converting on an extended five-on-three. Avery Warner fed Keenan Gillis in the high slot and he connected.
The Cougars are back on the ice at 7:30 p.m. Thursday against St. Francois (1-2-0).