By Jeff Gard/Today’s Northumberland
One game at a time.
That’s the only approach for the Cobourg Cougars, still facing a 3-1 series deficit, but with renewed optimism following a convincing 9-3 victory over the Trenton Golden Hawks in Game 4 of the Ontario Junior Hockey League South/East Conference quarterfinal Friday night at the Cobourg Community Centre.
“It’s do-or-die…so we show up to every game and it’s either give it all or there is no tomorrow,” said Cougars captain George Krotiris, part of the top forward line along with Andy Reist and Trevor Hoskin that combined for seven of the club’s nine goals in Game 4. “Every game’s a statement game now and we’ve just gotta try and climb back and dig ourselves out of the hole.”
Game 5 of the best-of-seven series is Saturday night with puck drop scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Duncan McDonald Memorial Gardens in Trenton. The Cougars will attempt to force a sixth game back in Cobourg on Monday evening.
With five points each, Krotiris and Hoskin led the way offensively for the Cougars with two goals and three assists while Reist had a four-point outing on the strength of a hat trick and one assist.
Cobourg took a 2-1 lead out of the first period on the goals by Krotiris before scoring four times unanswered in the second, including two within the first 30 seconds. Hoskin scored 25 seconds into that middle frame and Jacob Gilbert bolstered the lead to 4-1 at the 1:28 mark before Reist tallied his first two of the night.
While the Golden Hawks answered back twice in the third period, the Cougars tacked on three more to the final score with Reist and Hoskin registering another goal each with Carson Durnin also scoring.
Goaltender Ryan Piros made 27 saves in recording the win in net for the Cougars.
Tempers were flaring in Game 4, especially during the third period with a brawl near the midway mark of the final frame that resulted in a number of penalties to both sides.
Cobourg has been without key players, including Parker Hendsbee, Caleb Thompson and Jesse English. Krotiris said it’s unfortunate to have the players out of the lineup, but that affiliated players have stepped in to help fill the void.
“They’re sticking to the system, they’re playing great and they’re giving it their all,” Krotiris said. “We’ve faced injuries throughout the entire year, though, so all we can really do right now is just…keep playing through it and hope that they get better in time to be able to come back, so just buy them as much time as possible.”
The Cougars had four affiliated players – two forwards and two defencemen – in the lineup Friday night including Cobourg’s Chris Brydges of the Port Hope Panthers and Colborne’s Ryan Turney from the Frankford Huskies.