The Vankleek Hill Cougars may have made an early exit in the first round of the 2011-2012 National Capital Junior Hockey League playoffs, but their season officially came to an end on Saturday, March 31, as the team was celebrated during an awards banquet held at the Vankleek Hill Community Centre.
After finishing the regular season with a five-game losing streak, the Vankleek Hill Cougars are looking to turn things around as they enter the first round of the National Capital Junior Hockey League playoffs.
The Cougars suffered a disheartening amount of injuries late in the season, relates head coach Marc Berniqué, which forced the team to play the better part of their final five games with a very limited roster.
While the National Capital Junior Hockey League was on hiatus over the holiday season, the Vankleek Hill Cougars coaching staff was busy behind the scenes making a variety of changes.
Perhaps the biggest change to the Cougars roster is the lack of the team's top point getter, Pier-Olivier Poulin, who requested his release from the team in order to pursue a future with the Alexandria Glens of the Eastern Ontario Junior B Hockey League.
The Vankleek Hill Cougars rang in the new year with a convincing 5-1 victory over the North Dundas Rockets. Cougars head coach Marc Berniqué was content with his team's performance in their defensive zone throughout the game and was proud to see his team play some inspired hockey.
"Our guys played more inspired hockey and were able to put together a good 60 minutes of hockey," he said.
While it may look good on paper, as the Vankleek Hill Cougars managed to accumulate three out of four points this past weekend, head coach Marc Berniqué is not entirely content with his team's performance.
The Cougars played back-to-back home games, beginning with their rivals from St-Isidore on Friday night.
The North Dundas Rockets are the latest team forced to recognize the Vankleek Hill Cougars' offensive talent has the potential to be the best in the league.
After handing the previously-undefeated Cumberland Bandits their first loss of the season by a convincing margin last weekend, the Cougars continued to light the lamp at an alarming rate on Saturday, November 26 against the Rockets.
Although the Cougars currently sit eighth in the National Capital Junior Hockey League (NCJHL) standings, the team continues to demonstrate its ability to leave that basement - despite a dismal record thus far.
After being outscored 11-3 in two one-sided losses this weekend, Marc Berniqué was quick to pinpoint what he thinks the main problem is.
"Our players seem to think that they can just turn it on and off whenever they want to," said the team's head coach. "As the game progresses, they seem to get away from the system that we, the coaches, have been teaching them."
After edging out a win in their home opener of the 2011-2012 National Capital Junior Hockey League (NCJHL) season, the Vankleek Hill Cougars took to the ice on Saturday, October 15 with high hopes of celebrating another in front of the hometown crowd.
The visiting Gatineau Express struck first blood about eight minutes into the opening frame, however, and went on to defeat the Cougars 6-4 in a hard-fought battle.
Players from the eight teams in the National Capital Junior Hockey League (NCJHL) faced off against each other in the league's all-star game on Sunday, February 20 at the Vankleek Hill Arena.
The expansion team, featuring players from La Peche, Rockland, Gatineau and Papineauville, played the original team, with players from Embrun, Vankleek Hill, St-Isidore and Cumberland. The expansion team won 8-5.
Glengarry-Prescott-Russell Progressive Conservative candidate Marilissa Gosselin and MPP Randy Hillier visited Vankleek Hill on Saturday, February 5 to discuss their political agenda with the party's local supporters.
The visit to Beau's All-Natural Brewery was part of a fundraising campaign for Gosselin, a first-time candidate who will run against the Ontario Liberal Party's candidate in the provincial election this coming October.