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Cariboo Cougars stay in playoff hunt at Mac’s

John Herrington scored the game-winning goal with 31 seconds left on the clock and the Cariboo Cougars stayed in the playoff hunt at the Mac’s AAA Midget Hockey Tournament.

Herrington’s late marker lifted the Cougars to a 3-2 victory over the St. Albert Nektar Raiders on Sunday night in Calgary and gave the Cats a final record of 3-1 in pool play. They will now wait to see how Monday’s games unfold. The top team in each of the five Mac’s pools advances to playoffs, while the three clubs with the next-best records will also qualify.

In Sunday’s nailbiter, the Cougars took a 2-1 lead when Aiden Reeves scored in the latter half of the third period. But, with 4:48 left on the clock, the Raiders answered back and then had a chance to win the game when Carter Yarish was sent to the penalty box for a hook with 2:44 to play. The Cats successfully killed the penalty and that set the stage for Herrington’s heroics.

Earlier in the third period, the Cougars killed off a double-minor to Herrington, who was assessed the penalty for a hit to the head.

The teams were tied 1-1 after the first period and the second was scoreless. In the opening 20 minutes, Fischer O’Brien connected for the Cougars.

Jordan Fairlie was the winning goaltender for the Cougars, who outshot the Raiders 26-25.

The Cats started the tournament with a 7-2 win against the Airdrie CFR Bisons, then fell 3-2 to the Moose Jaw Warriors and bounced back with a 5-1 victory over the Calgary Royals.

The Warriors (3-0) and Raiders (2-1) will go head-to-head on Monday.

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