Cougars pull out bag of tricks in series

By ELWOOD K. SHELTON
Daily Press writer
One hat trick in a season is frosting on the cake, but three hat tricks in one game is the entire cake.
To senior forward Mike Armstrong, it's a near impossibility.
In a two-game series this weekend with the Oak Creek Kodiaks, senior Alton Simones, junior Cody DeGuelle and Armstrong all scored hat tricks in the second game. Simones also had four points.
"Just to get one or two hat tricks in the season is good," Armstrong said. "What we did just doesn't happen."
The feat led the Craig Cougars hockey team to its second win of the night, a 12-2 victory over the Kodiaks.
In the first game, the Cougars won 5-0. The wins improved their record to 12-0 on the season.
The hat tricks were scored throughout the second game, with Simones striking twice in the first period, DeGuelle struck once in each period, and Armstrong made all of his goals unassisted in the first.
The feat of having three players score hat tricks was enough to impress the coaching staff, but the three tricksters impress their coaches with more than just fancy shots.
"Once the guys who were finding the net scored, they started to look for the guys who weren't getting the puck to give them a chance at a goal," assistant coach Randy Armstrong said. "It also showed our guys tried to hang back some and not run the score up on Oak Creek. There were opportunities for them to score more, but they didn't."
Seniors Kevin Oxley and Travis Menge account for the other two goals in the Cougars 12-point scoring tirade in the second game.
Earlier Saturday evening in the first game, the Cougars weren't playing at their best. Armstrong said many of the players were fighting mid-season colds that zapped much of their energy.
The first goal of the night was scored by Menge, off an Oxley assist with 4:21 left in the first. The Cougars then hit a scoring drought that lasted until the third period.
"It's just that the guys were slow in the second, you could tell their colds were catching up to them," Armstrong said.
The scoring drought was ended in the third when Armstrong, while playing defense, stole the puck and broke away, driving nearly the entire length of the ice to score.
The breakaway goal was followed by Menge and DeGuelle putting on a two-man show, first with Menge scoring off a DeGuelle assist, and then DeGuelle scoring off a Menge assist.
The final goal came from Cougar ice, when junior Jordan Anthony took a shot from his own blue line that ended up going top-shelf on the Kodiaks' goalie.
The scoring of the undefeated Cougars was only rivaled by the team's defense, that put goalie Caleb Kinkaid in the line of fire a total of 23 times in two games. One of the factors contributing to the Cougars success on both sides of the puck has been some fine-tuning as to were people play, Armstrong said.
"We moved Aaric Seick and Nick Raschke back to defense, where it seems they play more comfortably," he said. "They've really clicked together back there, and have made a big difference as can be seen against Oak Creek."
Coming off such a big win can cause problems for a team, but the Cougars don't see their night of tricks putting them in any danger for their next tournament.
"Winning like we did gave us a lot of confidence going into our tournament," DeGuelle said. "We just have to avoid getting a big head from it, and go into every game like they could beat us."

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