Cougar’s Big Six home opener a night to remember

The Carlyle Cougars hosted the rival Arcola/Kisbey Combines Friday, Nov. 8 at the Carlyle Sports Arena. The rink was very busy, the community having made every effort to see this night would be a special one.

The home opener was a fundraiser for KidSport and drew over 500 fans. The crowd was treated to a night of various draws and promotions, as well as free admission. Starting at 5 p.m. the kitchen was selling wings which drew a good crowd as a fundraiser for minor hockey.

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Both teams took to the ice for warm-ups, readying for the 8 p.m. puck drop.

Coaching the Combines are: Gary Goudy Sr. and Gary Goudy Jr. This year’s team will have six new faces and Gary Sr. stated they are “looking for a good season”.

The Cougars are coached by Tim Lequyer and Alan Fleck. Team manager Dean Lequyer tells me they have five new faces on the team and “expects the league to be stronger this year”.

The Combines came into this game with a record of 1-0, having lost to Bienfait by a score of 7-5, but were given the victory when Bienfait was forced to forefeit the game.

The Cougars also lost to Bienfait, 9-6 and were 0-1 to start the season.

The league is one division this year, with each team playing a home and away games with each other, and then each team will play an extra game against one team to round out the schedule. Fans can check the Big Six website for game results, schedules and scoring stats.

The teams lined up at their respective blue lines for the singing of “O Canada” and the crowd was ready for the opening faceoff . . . one moment please.

Tyler Fahrenbach stepped onto the ice with microphone in hand and calls Kelly Currie from the stands. Kelly, who retired from the Big Six in the off-season joined Tyler at the centre red line, unaware of the surprise ceremony. Tyler spoke of Kelly’s contribution to the Cougar hockey team, as well as to the community and at this time announces that Kelly’s jersey number 9 will be retired. Congratulations Kelly!

Kelly has played 13 seasons with the Cougars, and has won the scoring title on three different Big Six teams, the only player to accomplish that. He played college hockey in Bemidji State University, Minnesota with the Beavers, and his minor hockey in Wawota.

The game got off to a fast start as Cooper Fox opened the scoring at 00:07 assisted by Ben Johnstone. The Cougars added to their lead with goals by Dakota Rose, Devon McGonigal, and Ben Johnstone. It was then Mitchell Morrison’s turn, firing home a shot from the faceoff circle, for his first of the year, which proved to be the game winning goal. Jesse Matthewson scored late in the period building a 6-0 lead to end the first frame.

The Combines pushed back with Brayden Rowley opening the second period scoring with a wrister, going top shelf from high in the slot. Dakota Rose and Brett Turgeon then replied before Duane Hislop netted the Combines’ second goal. Cougar Mark Shaw scored his first of the season and Dakota Rose completed the hat trick and added his fourth of the game, putting Carlyle up 11-2 at the end of the second.

The Combines came out hard again in the third with goals by Jared Taylor and Haydon Cutler chipping away at the Cougar lead. Jesse Matthewson ended the scoring for the Cougars, jumping on a loose puck high in the slot drilling it home to end the scoring making it an 12-4 final for the home squad.

The 50/50 draw raised $1,593.75 for KidSport and was won by Janessa Wilson, who generously donated half of her winnings back to KidSport. Also winning on the 50/50 draw, donated by the Office Bar & Grill, was a pizza won by Nancy Matthewson and Darlene Morrison won a free oil change from Merit Ford.  

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