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COC in danger of an exit

The Cougars hockey team has to play in consolation bracket today after losing Thursday

Posted: March 6, 2009 1:20 a.m.
Updated: March 6, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
College of the Canyons dropped into the consolation bracket at the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division-III National Championships with a 7-2 loss to Grand Valley State Thursday in Rochester, N.Y.

The Cougars trailed 2-1 after the first period, but Grand Valley State took advantage of suspect goaltending in the second to reel off five goals and take a commanding lead.

“When your goaltender’s not on, there’s nothing you can do,” said Cougars head coach John Taferner. “After a period like that, you just get the guys regrouped and win the next period.”

Billy Knights scored COC’s first goal with 38 seconds left in the first period off assists by brothers P.J. and Tyler Gilmore, while Anthony Jewett lit the lamp midway through the second period off an assist from Knight. Grand Valley State out-shot the Cougars 41-32.

College of the Canyons will face either Saginaw Valley State or North Arizona University in the consolation bracket today.

The Cougars advanced to play Grand Valley State in the second round by virtue of a 6-5 victory over Albany in the first round.

COC raced out to a 6-1 lead and began emptying its bench before it took several penalties in the third period and gave up four unanswered goals.

Taferner is confident in his team at full strength, but said other teams can take advantage if the Cougars make mistakes and give up power plays.

“We just came out and dominated,” Taferner said of Wednesday’s game. “We took some penalties, and it’s on special teams that they kill us. We were so far ahead, we just started playing a lot of guys who don’t normally get to play.”

Still, Taferner believes the victory over a tough Albany squad earned COC respect it might not have had before.

“It’s really tough coming from California,” Taferner said. “These teams don’t respect us. They don’t think hockey is a California sport. We gained a lot of respect.”

jgulino@the-signal.com

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