Comparing the team's records coming into the game, it would look like a lopsided between the Oxbow Huskies and the Carlyle Cougars in their first meeting of the season. But, looking at the stats a little closer, and you'd see how evenly matched these teams are. Coming in, both team's top three scorers boasted identical point totals.
For the Huskies, Taysen Holt came into this game with 5 goals and 10 assists for a total of 15 points. His linemate Derek Cooney was behind him with ten points, Bryson Mayer had 7 points for his team, although he was a scratch for this game.
As for the home team Cougars, their leading scorer Ben Johnstone also had fifteen points, though 13 were goals, while defence man Nathan Deck was behind him with 10, and Tyler Fleck would round out the top three with 7, and much like #3 in scoring for Oxbow, would be a scratch.
The one key difference would be the play of Carlyle goaltender Landon Audet. He'd started every one of the Cougar's six games so far this season, and the only time he'd let in more than four goals was in an overtime loss at the start of the season.
The first period would bow to the stats of the record as Carlyle would take control of the first period 1:02 into the game. A two on one chance saw Clayton Geiger and Ben Johnstone come down into the Huskies zone, and Johnstone's pass would land right where it needed to on Geiger's stick, sending a one timer past Tyler Myer's and give the Cougars the opening goal.
After that, the period would tighten up for a while until the penalty bug started to bite the Huskies. To end the period, the Cougars would score two straight power play goals on their first two attempts, and on similar plays where Mark Shaw and Brett Turgeon would both tap in rebounds after point shots to give the Cougars the 3-0 lead after the first.
In the second, Oxbow would start to strike back, but it would take another prod from the Cougars first. That prod would come from Kelly Currie, a shot from the point that would give the Cougars a 4-0 lead.
Down by four early in the second, the Huskies needed a quick answer and they got one from Klae Bayda. Steven Henderson would attempt a rap around to sneak it under the pad of Audet, but the Cougar's goaltender made the save, putting the rebound on Bayda's stick who smacked the puck off the blocker and in at the sharp angle, an assist going to Holt.
The Cougars would get the next tally, this time Johnstone would pad his lead atop the goal scoring lead of the Big Six by cleaning up Turgeon's rebound. Turgeon would break down the left side with a back move to try and sneak the puck through Myers' pads, but the initial save was made, leaving the easy tap in for Johnstone.
Oxbow, determined to win the period, would battle back and do just that. Thirty seconds after the goal from Johnstone, Leevi Barnstable would take the pass off the centre ice face-off again from Holt, and perfectly place a wrist shot underneath the pad of Audet, bringing the game back to within three.
With only three minutes left, the Huskies would again find the net and bring it to 5-3 game before the end of the second as Taysen Holt would add his third point of the night, this time in the form of a goal as his wraparound from no-where would sneak around Audet. 5-3 Carlyle at the end of two.
When the third period hit, both teams would trade goals once more starting with the Cougars. Mason Belanger would add another goal for the Cougars, then be answered a minute later by Cole Skjonsby.
With eight minutes left in the game, the Cougars decided to put the boots to the Huskies and put the game away, and in less than a thirty seconds, Cooper Fox would fake the wraparound and tuck the puck between Myers' pads on a beautiful play, then be followed by Turgeon's second of the game to make it a 8-4 score.
That would hold up for almost the rest of the game, except for one last tally for the Huskies with 0:16 showing on the clock thanks to a scrum in front of Audet that Dustin Lawson swatted in.
FINAL SCORE: 8-5 Carlyle
Despite the loss, the Huskies are the only team to put more than three goals past Landon Audet in regulation time.
Ben Johnstone had a goal and two assists while Taysen Holt had a goal and three assists on the night, giving Holt the sole possession of the league leader in points at 19.
After losing two straight to start the season (the first of which was in overtime), the Cougars have extended their winning streak to five games. The Cougars have points in all but one game this season, a loss in their second game at the hands of the Redvers Rockets.
Other Games in the Big Six:
The Arcola/Kisbey Combines were on the receiving end of an angry Redvers Rockets team on Rockets' home ice. Kenton Miller of the Rockets threw his name in the ring for the scoring title as he four goals and an assist for a total of 16 points in 4 games.
The only other game Friday night, another uneven tilt when the Cardiff Red Devils victimized the Midale Mustangs 10-2. Each team would find a way to score with a man in the box throughout the game while the Red Devils cruised along to their bounce back victory after losing two straight.