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HPHL boys GOTW: Cherokee Trail II hands WLTV first loss in final week of regular season

By Thaddeus Carroll, SportsEngine, 06/01/21, 2:30PM MDT

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Hub exclusive: Eric Burggraf’s power-play goal inside the final two minutes provided the Cougars with the difference in a matchup between Smyth Division leaders.

Cherokee Trail II's Luke Brennan maneuvers around two WLTV defenders in the Cougars' 3-2 victory over the Wranglers at Family Sports Center on May 29. Cherokee Trail handed WLTV its first loss of the season. Photo by Steven Robinson, SportsEngine

Cherokee Trail II's Luke Brennan maneuvers around two WLTV defenders in the Cougars' 3-2 victory over the Wranglers at Family Sports Center on May 29. Cherokee Trail handed WLTV its first loss of the season. Photo by Steven Robinson, SportsEngine

Cherokee Trail II entered Saturday's HPHL matchup with WLTV facing a daunting challenge: playing the only undefeated team in the league.

Challenge accepted!

With 1:50 remaining in the third period of the game at Family Sports Ice Arena in Centennial, the Cougars’ Eric Burggraf scored a power-play goal just over the shoulder of WLTV goaltender Noah Winbourn, breaking a 2-2 tie to deliver Cherokee Trail II a 3-2 victory. The inter-divisional showdown between the top teams in the Smyth Conference was Cherokee Trail II's biggest win of the season. The victory sent the Cougars into the postseason with a boost in confidence.

“Now that they’ve taken the toughest team and put them behind [us, our team knows] they’ve got the strength to play against any of them,” Cougars coach Jason Howard said. “It’s great to see right before playoffs.”


Wranglers goaltender Noah Winbourn tracks a shot from one of the Cougars. Winbourn recorded 25 saves in the 3-2 loss on May 29. Photo by Steven Robinson, SportsEngine

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