The Evergreen Cougars’ fortunes shifted like a career politician March 12.
Facing an experienced and salty Boulder Panthers squad, the Cougars started out like cones that the visitors danced around before scoring. In the second quarter, the Cougars came out like wild dogs, hitting and grinding and scoring fluid goals seemingly at will.
But the back-and-forth eventually ended with the visitors getting more votes as the Cougars suffered a 7-6 defeat on their home field.
Christian Snyder scored three goals and Roeder Fletcher bagged two for the Cougars, who slipped to 0-2 on the season, prior to losing 11-1 to Chatfield on March 15.
The Cougars clung to a 6-5 lead entering the fourth quarter, but were outscored 2-0 in the final frame.
In a way, things ended like they began. The Panthers needed just 26 seconds to score the opening goal on a nice circle and centering pass that yielded a tough shot.
Evergreen recovered after taking the first punch on the chin, but the Cougars’ were guilty of a few turnovers and offensive possessions where they tried to take on two or three defenders, rather than pass the ball around.
Boulder made it 2-0 with 3:13 left in the first period, a goal that caused quite an uproar in the Evergreen defense. To add to the injury, the Panthers made it 3-0 just 30 seconds before the end of the quarter.
So, the Cougars are in big trouble, right? No one told Fletcher and Snyder.
Fletcher set the tone by winning the draw at the start of the second period, racing down the center of the field and ripping a shot in the goal in just 10 seconds.
It gets better. Snyder scored 44 seconds later off a great pass from Cooper Jacobs, and he celebrated like a high-stakes poker player — without a stitch of emotion. He saved that for nine seconds later, when he tied the game at 3 with a great goal off a pass from Fletcher, who continued to win the majority of draws in the second period.
Less than two minutes later, the Cougars took their first lead when Fletcher gunned in a shot from distance. The Panthers would answer, tying the game at 4, before Evergreen’s Christian Harriman scored arguably the goal of the night.
Having been denied on a breakaway attempt with 1:54 off a steal from teammate Braden Olson, Harriman got a second chance, albeit under desperate circumstances. Harrison got the ball and raced the length of the field with the clock in its final seconds. With the sidelines screaming at him to shoot, Harriman fired as time expired and scored to put the Cougars up 5-4.
Snyder would add another goal for the Cougars in the third quarter, but the magic ran out in the final quarter.