Southwest Cougars are playoff bound

The Southwest Cougars after starting the season with 3 wins and 10 losses turned the season around to finish the season with a record of (26-21-1) for 53 points and seventh place, only 1 point behind Yellowhead in sixth, and 1 point ahead of Central Plains, who clinched the final playoff spot on the final weekend.

The Cougars needed a weekend sweep of the Parkland Rangers to lock down a playoff spot and combined with a Brandon sweep of Pembina Valley, the Cougars moved ahead of the Hawks who were bounced from the playoff race.

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Friday night in Souris, the Cougars took the first step with a 5-1 win and followed up with a 5-2 win over the Rangers on Sunday in Dauphin. Jared McCorrister opened the scoring when he snapped a shot home from Cory King in the sixth minute of the first period. Leighton Holstein stretched the lead with a goal midway through the second from McCorrister and Hunter Andrew. The Rangers got on the board when Kurtis Luke beat Riley Wallace in the final minute of the frame. Landon Roberts banged in a loose puck early in the third from Matthew Ramsey and Tyson Kozak. McCorrister scored a minute later from Jordan Chudley. Tanner Andrew finished the scoring with Holstein and McCorrister picking up the helpers in the seventh minute for the win and one win closer to a playoff spot. The Cougars outshot the Rangers 33-20 on the night with the Cougars going 1 for 3 with the man advantage.

Sunday afternoon the Rangers opened the scoring 8 minutes into the game. Jared McCorrister continued his big weekend with a power play goal from Tanner Andrew and Tyson Kozak. The Rangers scored a shorthanded goal early in the second. McCorrister scored his second marker with the man advantage from Andrew and Kozak at the 7:27 mark. Rylan Gudnason then scored the eventual game winner from Tanner Andrew and Cory King, a minute later. Jared McCorrister bulged the twine for the third time from Kozak and King at the 14:37 with the man advantage. Leighton Holstein finished the scoring late in the third when he hooked up with Kozak and King again.

The Cougars scored four times with the man advantage. They outshot the Rangers 34-20 with Riley Wallace picking up the win.

The Cougars now go on to face the second place Brandon Wheat Kings in a best of 5 series with game 2 in Souris on Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. The Cougars want to congratulate the Southwest AAA Bantam Cougars who captured the Provincial tournament with a win over Eastman in Killarney.

© Melita New Era

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