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Chicago Crush Elite Falls Short in Playoff Tune-Up Against Cougars


#89 Trace Girgis battles Cougars #96 Jack Powers for the puck | Photo by Beverly Buchinger
#89 Trace Girgis battles Cougars #96 Jack Powers for the puck | Photo by Beverly Buchinger

ROMEOVILLE, Ill.- In a hard-fought battle at Canlan Ice Arena in Romeoville, Illinois, the Chicago Crush Elite faced a 3-1 defeat against crosstown rivals, the Chicago Cougars, in their final regular-season game before the looming USPHL playoffs on Tuesday, February 27, 2024.


#32 Goalie Tyler Siuda with the big save | Photo by Beverly Buchinger
#32 Goalie Tyler Siuda with the big save | Photo by Beverly Buchinger

The initial frame saw the Crush on the defensive as Rocco Bifano of the Cougars found the back of the net at 5:06, assisted by Joshua Roman and Andrew Engstrom. Goaltender Tyler Siuda faced a barrage of shots but managed to keep the deficit to a minimum with 15 saves. Kennelly Clinton's penalty for roughing at 10:37 provided the Crush with a power-play opportunity, yet they couldn't capitalize. Despite the early setback, the team remained focused on refining their strategies for the impending playoff challenge.


The second period witnessed an impressive short-handed goal from Joseph Coglianese at 18:39, leveling the score at 1-1. The Crush displayed resilience, but the Cougars' goaltender, Jared Ablack, thwarted numerous scoring attempts. The physicality intensified, reflecting the playoff-style hockey both teams anticipate in the coming weeks.


Entering the decisive third period, the Crush found themselves trailing as Gabe Tourtillott and Jack Gardner scored for the Cougars at 2:53 and 10:12, respectively. Despite a valiant effort to mount a comeback, the Crush faced penalty trouble, hindering their chances.

A penalty shot opportunity for Niko Dougan at 14:14 went unrewarded, and additional penalties, including a 10-minute misconduct for Leo Riani, added to the challenges.


#88 Joey Coglianese celebrating his short-handed goal | Photo by Beverly Buchinger
#88 Joey Coglianese celebrating his short-handed goal | Photo by Beverly Buchinger

While the regular-season finale ended in defeat, the Crush sees it as an opportunity to learn and make adjustments before the playoff grind begins. The team acknowledges the areas that need refinement and aims to bring an enhanced performance in the postseason.


With the regular season in the rearview mirror, the Chicago Crush looks forward to the playoffs with determination. The lessons from this matchup against the Cougars will be invaluable as they prepare to face new challenges in the pursuit of a championship.


Next Chapter: Playoffs Await

The Chicago Crush remains undeterred, recognizing that the true test lies ahead in the postseason. The team is eager to regroup, address the identified areas of improvement, and enter the playoffs with renewed vigor and a relentless pursuit of victory.


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