Cariboo Cougars take Mac's Midget championship

 

 
 
 
 
Cariboo Cougars wining goalie Griffen Outhouse hoisted the trophy with his teammates after they defeated the Regina Pat Canadians in the Max's AAA Midget Tournament final 2-1 in double overtime at the Scotiabank Saddledome on January 1, 2015.
 

Cariboo Cougars wining goalie Griffen Outhouse hoisted the trophy with his teammates after they defeated the Regina Pat Canadians in the Max's AAA Midget Tournament final 2-1 in double overtime at the Scotiabank Saddledome on January 1, 2015.

Photograph by: Colleen De Neve, Calgary Herald

An ugly ping-pong-ball sized welt of various bluish hues had begun to sprout on Chase Dubois’s forehead, up near the hair-line.

Errant high-stick? Elbow, maybe. Wallop along the boards from some take-no-prisoners defenceman?

“Happened during the celebrations, actually,’’ the hero explained sheepishly, remembering the crush of bodies that had all but erased him, at least momentarily, from view. “A lot of guys jumped in. We bumped heads.’’

Strolling past, blood trickled down from a small gash at the corner of lighthouse-tall 6-foot-3-inch defenceman Todd Bredo’s right eye.

“Yeah,’’ he interjected, grinning. “With me.’’

Could’ve been the worst beating Dubois took all day.

Ah, well. The badges of victory come in many shapes, sizes and circumstances.

Off balance, virtually diagonal with the goal line and decidedly against the run of play, Dubois scored at 1:23 of the second overtime period, providing the Cariboo Cougars with a nervy 2-1 victory over the Regina Pat Canadians in the annual New Year’s Day male division finale at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

“Our D-man took a shot, it bounced in the corner and I just kinda saw an opening, tried to get it on net for a rebound but it went off the goalie and just happened to go in,’’ said Dubois.

He shrugged delightedly.

“And here we are.’’

Yes. Here they are. As Mac’s Midget Tournament champions.

For the Cougars, who laid waste to the much-fancied German Under-17 nationals and then eked past the Calgary Buffalos in OT to reach this championship game, one player stood tallest.

Their rise to the penthouse went through the Outhouse.

That’d be Griffin Outhouse, who turned in one of those cameo-keepsake goaltending performances championships are forged on, repelling 40 of 41 Regina shots.

“He was amazing,’’ lauded Dubois. “If it wasn’t for him, we definitely wouldn’t have won.’’

In the aftermath of a litmus test during which he was bumped, run over, inundated with shots and generally put under siege, how did Outhouse feel?

“Oh, I could go for another game,’’ he replied, deadpan.

Seriously?

“No. Actually, I am bagged,” he admitted.

“There were lots of guys in front, getting bumped around. I’ve just got to keep focused on the puck. Keep battling.’’

The only man to beat him on this late-afternoon-turned-early-evening was Pat Canadians’ star Owen Sillinger, cashing a 2-on-1 pass at 7:24 of the first period. After that, Outhouse was perfection itself.

Sillinger ignited the Regina offensive assault, along with wingers Arthur Miller and Riley Woods. The slick centreman got so tired of trying to beat Outhouse by shooting the puck that on an overtime breakaway he tried to to take the puck right around his rival, crashed into and then over-top of Outhouse.

The man was implacable. Nothing seemed capable of rattling him.

“All week, both our goalies were outstanding,’’ said Cariboo coach Trevor Sprague. “You look at our league, they’re both No. 1 goalies. We’ve been able to have that all year.

“Do they win us hockey games? Yeah. That’s what they’re asked to do.’’

The Dubois goal stunned Regina, arriving when it seemed only a matter of time before the Pat Canadiens broke down the Outhouse door and laid claim to the trophy themselves (“That’s what happens in championship games,” sighed Regina coach Brad Herauf, who had nothing to regret other than the final scoreline. “You run into a hot goaltender”).

“Coming in between the period and the last overtime,’’ revealed Sprague, “I said: ‘We’ve got press for at least five minutes. We’ve got to push back. We’ve got to get pucks to the net. (Pat Canadians’ goalie Curtis Meger) is leaving rebounds for us. We’re just not getting to them.’

“So Dubes got in there and buried one off a shot from Bredo. He was on it. A good shot. He was at a kind of a bad angle, I would say. But he has a hammer. A good rifle. He used it, buried it. And we won the championship.’’

That they did.

If any one trait summed up the Cariboos during the last week, it’d have to be perseverance. They survived a torture test of a schedule, knocked off some very good teams along the way.

And that never-say-die attitude was best personified on Championship Thursday by their goaltender.

“That’s our whole team,’’ said Sprague. “That’s where we come from. In the north, we work hard at what we do. His details in practice, his details to prepare for games make him the goalie that he is. He strives for excellence every time he’s on the ice.

“That’s what we teach our guys. We want to be good. We want to be excellent.’’

And in doing so, in being so, now they’re champions.

gjohnson@calgaryherald.com

twitter.com/GeorgejohnsonCH

 
 
 
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Cariboo Cougars wining goalie Griffen Outhouse hoisted the trophy with his teammates after they defeated the Regina Pat Canadians in the Max's AAA Midget Tournament final 2-1 in double overtime at the Scotiabank Saddledome on January 1, 2015.
 

Cariboo Cougars wining goalie Griffen Outhouse hoisted the trophy with his teammates after they defeated the Regina Pat Canadians in the Max's AAA Midget Tournament final 2-1 in double overtime at the Scotiabank Saddledome on January 1, 2015.

Photograph by: Colleen De Neve, Calgary Herald

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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