Cougars 4 – Blazers 2
The magic number for the Prince George Cougars is now just one single point in order to clinch third place in the B.C. Division. Wednesday night in Prince George the Prince George Cougars defeated the Kamloops Blazers by a 4-2 score. Zach Pochiro and Chase Witala each had a goal and an assist for the Cougars while Colby McAuley and Brad Morrison also added goals. Kamloops got third period goals from Logan McVeigh and Ryan Rehill.
By the 3:28 mark of the first period the Prince George Cougars had opened up a 2-0 lead. First it was Zach Pochiro who took a Chase Witala pass from behind the net and slipped a backhand shot past the glove of Connor Ingram to give him 19 goals on the season. Then, less than two minutes later the Cougars made it 2-0 when Colby McAuley charged the net hard and knocked home his own rebound. The McAuley goal was set up by a very nice pass from Tyler Mrkonjic past a Kamloops defender.
After one period the Cougars led 2-0 and were outshooting the Blazers 18-9.
Both teams traded chances in the first half of the second period, but goaltenders Ty Edmonds and Connor Ingram were up to the task. That changed though at the 15:15 mark when Brad Morrison was left all alone in front of the Kamloops net. He took a Kirk Bear pass from the point, and deked out Ingram for his 23rd of the season.
Morrison’s goal would prove to be vital as Kamloops had a surge waiting for the third period.
First it was Logan McVeigh who deflected home a Marc McNulty point shot past Ty Edmonds at the 1:11 mark of the third period.
Ryan Rehill then made it 3-2 off a three-on-two rush with each team down a man. Cole Ully started the play by carrying the puck down the left wing. He then found Rehill trailing the rush, and the New Jersey Devils prospect did the rest, blasting a slap shot past Ty Edmonds and in for his seventh goal of the season.
The final minutes of the game were frantic as Kamloops put on quite a push. Ty Edmonds made some clutch saves off of Cole Ully and Deven Sideroff to keep the score at 3-2, and then after withstanding a very strong Kamloops attack during the final minute of play, Zach Pochiro picked off a past in the defensive zone, found Chase Witala along the left wing, and the Cougars leading goal scorer potted his team high 38th to clinch the 4-2 victory.
The win for the Cougars moves their record to 30-35-2-3. A single point for the Cougars during Friday’s rematch at the CN Centre would guarantee them third place in the B.C. Division. At the very least with the win tonight, the Cougars would play in a one-game playoff against Kamloops if the Tri-City Americans were to win their three remaining games. Importantly though, the Cougars control their playoff fate in a major way, and a victory Friday in the rematch makes all other playoff possibilities moot.