The Carlyle Cougars last win came on November 24th, after back-to-back overtime wins over Yellow Grass. With the Redvers Rockets leading their Big Six best-of-five quarterfinal series 2-0 and game three being played in Redvers, many would have counted out the Cougars before the game even started. But the resolve shown all year by the young group in Carlyle was on display on Thursday night with their season on the line.
Redvers took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission after a powerplay goal by Braden Liboiron with 1:34 remaining. Early in the second period, not only would Carlyle tie the game but they would take their first lead of the series.
A funny bounce in the neutral zone went past a Redvers defender as Cooper Fox picked up the loose puck and fired it past Rockets' goaltender Brodie McColl to even the score at 1-1. Just 25 seconds later, Billy Greenwood fired the puck past McColl's blocker to put Carlyle up 2-1 with 17 minutes left in the second period.
The Rockets would respond with 9:01 left in the middle frame. During a short 4-on-4, Craig Gaudet fired a perfect bounce-pass off the boards to send Remi Lamotte in on a breakaway. Lamotte beat Carlyle netminder Josh Hohn to tie the game at 2-2 heading into the third period.
The first five minutes of the final frame were evenly played until Redvers absolutely took over. The Rockets sent a dozen shots in on Hohn while not allowing a single one themselves for about ten minutes of gameplay. But Hohn and the Cougars would weather the storm and keep the game tied until the final minutes.
Then, with only 2:11 remaining, the Cougars would retake the lead. The Cougars forced a turnover in their own zone as Jordan Fox hit Cooper Fox with a breakout pass. With a man driving towards the net, Fox fired a shot through McColl's five-hole to give Carlyle a 3-2 lead with Fox's second of the game.
Redvers would earn a powerplay with just over 1:30 remaining and pulled the goalie for a 6-on-4 advantage. Despite numerous great chances, Hohn and the Cougars defence would hold the fort and hang on for the thrilling 3-2 victory.
The series now shifts back to Carlyle for game four on Sunday night.