Cougars Bounce Back To Beat Americans
Brad Morrison had himself a night. The 18-year-old New York Rangers prospect burst out in a big way Saturday with two goals, an assist and a fight and his teammates followed his lead in a 4-1 Cougars victory over the Tri-City Americans. Chase Witala and Brogan O’Brien added singles for the Cougars and goaltender Ty Edmonds was rock solid stopping 20 of 21 shots faced for his first victory in 2015-16.
Just 1:19 into the game, the Cougars converted on a power play chance. Chase Witala snuck into the right circle and snuck a low shot past Evan Sarthou and in for his second of the season. Josh Anderson and Brad Morrison assisted. Morrison was far from done.
The teams traded chances for the remainder of the period, but both Evan Sarthou for Tri-City and Ty Edmonds for Prince George stood their ground. Prince George led 1-0 after one and outshot Tri-City 11-9. The first period also included a fight between Bartek Bison Brendan O’Reiily. It was the first of what would be four fights on the night between the two sides.
Early in the second period Cougars defenceman Josh Anderson dropped the gloves with Tri-City tough guy Maxwell James, and the officials quickly separated the two combatants. The Cougars controlled the play for the remainder of the period and outshot Tri-City 10-1 in the middle frame.
The game’s next goal came at the 14:31 mark of the second with the Cougars up five skaters to three. Jansen Harkins grabbed a Tate Olson rebound, waited in the left circle and slid a perfect pass across the ice to the waiting Brad Morrison who did the rest, burying a low shot for his first of the season and a 2-0 Cougars lead. A few shifts later, Morrison completed the Gordie Howe Hat Trick when he dropped the gloves with Ams defenceman Brandon Carlo. The undersized Morrison definitely held his own and the CN Centre fans gave him a standing ovation for his efforts. The shots were 21-10 after two for the Cougars.
37 seconds into the third period the Cougars the Cougars had a chance to extend their lead further when Chase Witala was awarded a penalty shot. Witala raced in alone on Evan Sarthou but flicked his wrist shot just over the net, and the game stayed 2-0.
At 5:48 of the third, Tri-City got back within a goal thanks to a five-on-three power play goal of their own. Brandon Carlo’s initial point shot was blocked by Aaron Boyd, but Boyd’s skate blade shattered on impact. Carlo got the puck back in the left circle and fired a shot on goal that deflected off of Michael Rasmussen and in to make it a 2-1 game.
That’s as close as the Ams would come though. At the 17:41 mark of the third with the teams skating four-on-four, Brad Morrison and Jansen Harkins teamed up on another highlight reel play. Harkins outskated Juuso Valimaki to a loose puck in the Tri-City zone, slid a pass across to Morrison who did the rest by lifting a backhand over the left pad of Sarthou and in for his second goal and third point of the game.
Brogan O’Brien then added an empty netter to help the Cougars clinch the 4-1 victory in front of 2500-plus on Saturday night. The final shots were 27-21 for Prince George who also finished the game two-for-seven on the power play. The Tri-City Americans were one-for-five.
With the win, the Cougars improve their record to 2-3 on the young season. They’ll now enjoy their Thanksgiving weekend and will return to action on Friday, October 16th against the defending WHL champs, the Kelowna Rockets.