The Cougars lost their second game in succession on Friday, as they fell at Brandon Hall by a scoreline of 4-1. The Cougars kept the game close until the end, but the Panthers won comfortably thanks to 2 late goals.
The Cougars started quickly and dominated possession early on. Maria Knezek, Dalton Lantz, Daniel Byman, Tim Mattioli, and Ruslan van Kesteren led the attack. The Cougars earned a few early corners and had several shots that flashed just wide of goal. On the defensive end, Colton Parks, Shane Hendrickson, DJ Donaldson, Elijah Joiner, and Toby Nwokedi held strong against a talented Panthers’ attack. The Panthers were frustrated by the Cougars’ organized and physical defense, and the home side was called for offsides several times early on. As was the case on Wednesday, goalie Aidan Briggs was massive, and more than a few of his 8 saves should have been easy Panther goals.
After surviving another yet another bout of Cougar pressure, the Panthers earned a penalty and converted it, making the score 1-0. Just a few minutes later, the Panthers were awarded another penalty, and they doubled their lead to 2-0. The Cougars continued to fight though, and their effort was rewarded shortly before halftime. After a long throw, Daniel Byman chased down a misplaced Panthers’ header and scored to cut the deficit to a single goal. The Cougars were energized and confident heading into the break.
The second half started similarly to the first, with the Cougars on the front foot and pressing for an equalizer. As the cougars continued to press for a goal, they left themselves more and more exposed defensively. After another near Cougar miss, Brandon Hall broke out on a counterattack and scored their third goal of the contest, pushing their lead back to 2 goals. Paul Altermatt and Liam Walsh helped to reinforce the Cougar defense and offense respectively, and the Cougars did not give up hope. In the end, they were unable to score another goal, and Brandon Hall put away a late goal to make the final 4-1.
The Cougars fought hard in their two GISA matchups this week. Both Brandon Hall and Oak Mountain were forced to work extremely hard to earn their victories, and the coaches are energized by and proud of the effort and improvements they have seen from the Cougars.