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Cariboo Cougars snag three of four possible points on the weekend

The Cariboo Cougars bounced back from the sting of an overtime loss and took three of a possible four points from the Okanagan Rockets during weekend play in the BC Elite Hockey League.

The U18 Cougars beat the Rockets 4-2 on Sunday at Kin 1 after a 5-4 extra-time defeat on Saturday.

On Sunday, Max Sanford’s second goal of the game stood up as the winner. Sanford scored at 5:06 of the second period to give the Cats a 3-1 lead. His goal was timely because it came about four minutes after Okanagan’s Kurtis Kinoshita gave his team a spark by converting on a shorthanded penalty shot. Kinoshita then answered Sanford’s goal with one on the power play but Cariboo’s Tymon Sanikopoulos – also on a man-advantage situation – netted the only goal of the third period.

Sanford, a Williams Lake product and a prospect of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, opened the scoring just one minute after the opening faceoff. Affiliated player Reid Arberry pushed the Cariboo lead to 2-0 at the 5:33 mark of the first period.

The Cougars outshot the Rockets 16-5 in the first and 36-27 overall.

In the nets, Tysen Smith picked up the win and Mason Gatz took the loss.

On Saturday, the Rockets scored a pair of quick goals to start the game and were up 4-2 after the first period. Carter Hesselgrave on a power play and Chase Pacheco got the Cougars back on even terms in the second period. But, after a scoreless third, Ben Strobel gave the Rockets the win 27 seconds into overtime.

 Kinoshita and Ewan Minisofer got the Rockets off to the quick start in the first period. Caleb Poitras (power play) and Zachary Leslie responded for the Cougars but Kaiden Schaupmeyer and Kaslo Ferner (power play) restored Okanagan’s two-goal lead before the period ended.

Damien Knackstedt (Cougars) and Angelo Zol (Rockets) were between the pipes.

In the division standings, the Cougars are now 5-5-1-1, which has them seventh of 10 teams. The Rockets are eighth at 4-6-1-1.

The Cougars will continue their season next weekend in Richmond when they take on the third-place Greater Vancouver Canadians.

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