On Wednesday, Feb. 19, the Centennial Cougars took on the Hendersonville Commandos in the first round of the Predators Cup at A-Game Sportsplex in Franklin. The Commandos, who had lost their last five games, came into the night needing a win. On the other side of the spectrum, Centennial entered the night riding a three game win streak during which they had outscored their opponents 24 to five.
Both teams came out strong in the first period and traded early scoring chances. However, it would be Centennial that got on the board first when Jake Lyle scored on the power-play to put the Cougars up 1-0 after an elbowing penalty on Hendersonville’s Ian McCollum. Hendersonville would strike right back 34 seconds later, when leading scorer Jack Mali tied the game up with 10:50 left in the period. The Commandos weren’t done yet for the period, Gabriel Bahnn made the score 2-1 with 5:14 remaining, the score that would stand going into the first intermission.
The second period was highlighted by quality chances being traded from both teams and great goaltending from both Hendersonville’s Butera and Centennial’s Napier. Late in the period, Mali would find the back of the net for the second time, giving Hendersonville a two goal lead that would stand to start the third.
In the final period, Hendersonville controlled play early, defending their lead with solid defensive play and good goaltending from Butera. However, late in the period, Centennial’s Ian Currie scored a power play goal, cutting the Commando lead to a single goal. With new found motivation to tie the game, Centennial’s Ethan Levy would tie the game just a minute after the power play goal.
With all the confidence and motivation in their favor, the Cougars, with 2:59 left in the game, Christopher Hare would find twine to give Centennial a 4-3 lead. That’s all it would take, as Centennial overcame the two goal deficit to defeat the Commandos 4-3.
Both teams return to action on Friday night as Hendersonville takes on Indy-Summit and Centennial faces Brentwood.