Trey Thomas (left) and Daine Dubois of Williams Lake celebrate their BC Major Midget Hockey League playoff championship with the Cariboo Cougars.

Trey Thomas (left) and Daine Dubois of Williams Lake celebrate their BC Major Midget Hockey League playoff championship with the Cariboo Cougars.

Cougars win BCMML title on strength of back-to-back shutouts

The Prince George-based Cariboo Cougars are the BC Major Midget League champions.

The Prince George-based Cariboo Cougars are the BC Major Midget League champions.

The Cougars, with both Williams Lake’s Daine Dubois and Trey Thomas playing leading roles, shut down the Greater Vancouver Canadians’ high-powered offense for a second straight day March 26, winning 4-0 to clinch the best-of-three-series on home ice in the third game. Game one went to the Canadians, 3-2, in double overtime.

Cougars’ goaltender Marcus Allen made 20 saves with Dubois, along with Jeremy Gervais, each posting three-point games. Allen also shutout the Canadians 2-0 in game two March 25.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Allen said after the team celebrated the win on home ice in front of a full house. “It’s not often you get two shutouts in a row in the playoffs.”

Thomas, Gervais, Brandon Rowley and Hunter Floris scored the goals, but it was the team’s ability to keep the Canadians off the scoreboard that sealed the win.

“We knew that’s what we had to do,” Thomas said. “Two of their top players are the leading scorers in the league and we had to shut them down. We did just that.”

The title comes after the Cougars lost in the final in each of the past two seasons.

Defencemen Joel Patsey and Jesse Pomeroy were part of both those teams and relished the win on Sunday.

“It’s pretty special after two losses,” Pomeroy said. “We battled through it, came back in our third year and took it all.”

Patsey, who helped set up Thomas’s goal, also said he was thrilled.

For head coach Trevor Sprague the win means the team fulfilled its goal of earning a berth in the Telus Cup.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s the best thing that I’ve ever done with this organization,” Sprague said. “It’s great for our fans, it’s great for our alumni. It’s unbelievable for these players who are here right now. They’ve paved the way for future Cariboo Cougars teams.”

With the Cougars up 2-0 heading into the second frame, the Canadians came out flying.

The Cougars took advantage of one of their chances at 9:57 of the period when Dubois gained the zone, shaking off four defenders as he stick handled waiting for help as the Cougars sent out fresh skaters.

He sent a puck back to Patsey at the point, his shot was stopped but, after a scramble in front, Thomas banged home the rebound.

Rowley added an insurance marker at 5:32 of the third, finishing off a passing play initiated by Dubois and Gervais.

Dubois and Thomas led the team in playoff scoring with 14 and 11 points in eight games, respectively.

The Cougars now have a few weeks to get ready for the Telus Cup midget national championship, which starts April 24 in Prince George.

“I feel like we’re peaking at the right time,” Thomas said. “Everyone is pushing in the right direction. We’re going to be coming in hot to Telus.”