As hosts, the Cougars, members of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, were awarded an automatic berth into the five-team national tournament, which began May 13 and continues until this Sunday’s championship final.
The other four entrants had to enjoy lengthy playoff runs in their own leagues and then have success at a regional qualifying event in order to advance to the Canadian Junior A tournament.
But once RBC Cup round-robin action concluded on Thursday, it was the Cougars who were sitting atop the standings with nine points.
Cobourg earned six points via their two wins in regulation time, a pair of points for an overtime victory and another single point for a loss in OT.
The Cougars managed to finish atop the tournament standings thanks to a 5-2 Thursday win over the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Brooks Bandits. Brooks placed second in the round-robin standings with eight points.
The Cougars will now square off against the British Columbia Hockey League’s Penticton Vees in a semifinal contest scheduled for Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
The Bandits will battle the Quebec Junior Hockey League’s Terrebonne Cobras in Saturday’s other semifinal, set for 7:30 p.m.
Both the Cobras and Vees earned six points in round-robin play. But the Terrebonne squad was awarded third place because of its 3-1 win over Penticton on Thursday.
The Cougars had a rather lengthy break prior to the RBC Cup. Their last game had been on Apr. 6, when they were swept in the minimum four games by the Trenton Golden Hawks in their OJHL best-of-seven conference final series.
The Golden Hawks also qualified for the RBC Cup. But the Trenton squad lost all four of its round-robin contests, earning just a single point in an OT loss, and thus failed to advance to Saturday’s semifinals.
Though disappointed they were not able to win their own league title, members of the Cobourg squad were still upbeat knowing they would participate in the RBC Cup.
“For us to have had the rest we had after playoffs definitely helped us out,” said 20-year-old forward Theo Lewis, who is in his fifth season with the Cougars. “[It] gave guys some time to recover from their injuries. We got to work on reestablishing our systems. And I think that’s led to our success so far.”
Meanwhile, Terrebonne’s head coach/GM Robert Dubuc is pleased his side is settling into the RBC Cup experience. The Cobras lost two of their first three tournament matches. But they responded with a solid effort beating the Vees on Thursday.
“It’s a big event and our first experience here,” said Dubuc, adding his
squad was overwhelmed early on by all the happenings at the national
tourney. “(Thursday) I saw the true Cobras de Terrebonne. Their
execution was better, the guys were moving their feet, and they played
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