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Cariboo Cougars drop close ones to Northeast Chiefs

The Cariboo Cougars dropped a pair of one-goal games to the Vancouver Northeast Chiefs in Burnaby this weekend and have now lost five of their past six contests in the B.C. Hockey Major Midget League.

The Chiefs beat the Cougars 3-2 on Saturday and 5-4 on Sunday.

In Saturday’s game, the Cats held a 2-1 lead going into the third period but gave up two unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes. Ben Fontaine pulled the Chiefs into a tie with a shorthanded marker at 5:54 of the third period and then netted what proved to be the winner 1:02 before the final buzzer.

The teams played a scoreless first period. Liam Farrell got the Chiefs on the board part way through the second but John Herrington answered back almost immediately for the Cougars. Fischer O’Brien gave the Cats the lead with just 12 seconds left in the frame.

Callum Tung was the winning goaltender and Kenny Gerow took the loss.

On Sunday, the Cougars led 4-2 after a Mathew Magrath power-play goal at 11:07 of the second period but couldn’t hold off their hosts. Dylan Smail and Dante Berrettoni scored before the end of the second and then Jacob Myers gave the Chiefs the lead – one they wouldn’t surrender – when he scored shorthanded with 7:31 to play.

Alex Ochitwa, Brennan Bott and Devan Minard had the other goals for the Cats. Berrettoni finished with two for the Chiefs and Jeremy Hanzel also scored.

Tung and Gerow were the goaltenders of record.

The Cougars now have a season mark of 18-10-1-1 and sit in fifth place in the 11-team league. The fourth-place Chiefs improved to 21-7-0-0.

The recent setbacks for the Cougars have come against some of the top teams in the league, including the first-place Okanagan Rockets (4-1 and 8-5 losses) and the second-place Vancouver Northwest Hawks (2-0 loss, 7-4 win).

Next weekend, the Cougars will be in Kelowna for a BCHMML showcase event. The Cats will skate in a pair of games against the ninth-place South Island Royals (10-21-1-0).

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