Johnathon Esposito collected the hat-trick and player-of-the-game honours for the Cougars in what would be their first loss to the Braves all year. Ryan Strange, Evan, Abgrall, and Jake Wilhelm would each get 1 goal and 2 assists in a 7-4 upset of the league leading Cougars who were playing their third game in three days.
Strange would score on the power-play with 8 seconds to go in the 1st to take a 2-1 lead for his Braves and they wouldn’t look back. While the Cougars did lose they actually played much better in this game than the 2 previous games. It was a fast, hard hitting, brutal game where the Referee let basically everything go.
The play-offs are coming up and it is very likely that these two teams will meet in the first round. Cougars are currently sitting in 1st in the South with 3 points and 1 game in hand on the 2nd place Panthers. The Braves are locked into 4th.
The Braves played their best hockey in months and used their home ice advantage to the fullest to grind out a win. Arguably the best 1-2 punch on the blue-line, Wilhelm and Abgrall, were dominant all game.
Is this an anomaly? We will have to wait and see. But the Cougars still have some tough hockey to go. Game four in five days goes against their biggest rivals The Peninsula Panthers. Game time is February 2nd, 330pm at the Arch.Follow the Cougars on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram.