PG Cougars Continue Road Trip Tonight Versus Vancouver
The beat goes on tonight on the road for the Prince George Cougars who, after a 2-0 start to their season, look to continue their winning ways when they clash with their B.C. Division rivals, the Vancouver Giants for the first time. The importance of tonight’s game should be obvious, as Richard Matvichuk’s crew has an opportunity to gain some early separation from the B.C. Division with a 3-0 start. Plus a victory tonight turns an already successful road trip into a great road trip with a game in Kelowna still looming tomorrow. Standing in their way though: A young Vancouver Giants team in search of their first victory of the new season.
2016-17 Record: 0-2
Goals For/Goals Against: 4/10
2015-16 Record: 23-40-5-4 (10th in Western Conference)
2015-16 Record VS. PG: 2-5-0-1 (0-4 at Home)
Head Coach: Jason McKee
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Jack Flaman: Has posted two goals in his first two games this season. The 19-year-old has been a definite bright spot early on for the G-Men offensively and he’s the type of guy who could be poised to break out this season. A strong start to the season is bound to be a big confidence booster for him heading into tonight.
Dawson Holt: The Saskatoon native also has two goals in two games to start the season. The sophomore forward was the 8th overall pick of the Giants in 2014 and this could very well be the season where the draft eligible Holt becomes a household name in the WHL.
WHO’S ON D:
Dmitry Osipov: The 20-year-old two-spotter players an aggressive, in your face style which makes him a very difficult player to play against. He won’t set the world on fire offensively, but he can certainly be trusted to move the puck well, log heavy minutes in all situations, and on a young Giants team he’ll need to be a ‘go too guy’ on most nights.
Darian Skeoch: The hulking blueliner will make his Giants debut tonight after returning from Anaheim Ducks camp. He was the big piece that came back to Vancouver in a trade with Lethbridge which sent Brennan Menell the other way. Skeoch is as tough as they come in the WHL and instantly makes the Giants better and stronger defensively.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Ryan Kubic: Is 0-2 to start the season, but there’s zero reason to believe that he won’t turn it around and turn it around quickly. Last season the 18-year-old was a workhorse playing in 50 games and going 17-24-4-2 with a 3.31 goals-against-average and an .898 save percentage. He was 2-2-0-1 against the Cougars last season.
Radovan Bondra: Returns to the Giants tonight after his second NHL Training Camp with the Chicago Blackhawks. He immediately makes the Giants offense more potent, and with his size and skill he’s definitely going to be a player that the Cougars will need to key on defensively. He had 15 goals and 15 asists for 30 points in 59 games in 2015-16.
PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS
2016-17 Record: 2-0
Goals For/Goals Against: 8/2
2015-16 Record: 36-31-3-2 (Fourth in B.C. Division. Sixth in Western Conference)
2015-16 Record VS. VAN: 6-2 (4-0 on the road)
Head Coach: Richard Matvichuk
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Brad Morrison: Leads all Cougars with five assists in two games. He’s very dynamic and when he wants to he can be supremely dominant at this level. He’s coming off a four assist performance Saturday in Victoria.
Kody McDonald: Scored two goals in Saturday’s 5-1 victory on the Island and has registered two goals and two assists to start the season. He’s playing with a ton of early season energy and confidence, and another big game from McDonald would go a long way in helping the Cougars remain unbeaten in the early goings of the season.
WHO’S ON D:
Tate Olson: Returns to the Cougars after his second training camp with the Vancouver Canucks. He had nine goals and 38 assists last season and was a +16. He’s a very reliable two-way player for this Cougars team and getting him back into the lineup provides a big boost to this team defensively.
Josh Anderson: Returns after his first stint with the Colorado Avalanche. His physicality, aggressiveness and swagger is hard to miss out there, and similar to Darian Skeoch making the Giants a tougher team to play against, the absolute same can be said for Josh Anderson on this side. You can bet he’ll be fired up to play his first WHL regular season game since mid-January.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Nick McBride: Will get the hometown start tonight against the Vancouver Giants. He’s coming off a 36 save victory Saturday against the Royals and will look to keep that positive momentum going tonight. Last season he was 3-1 against the Giants and all three of those victories came away from home.
Brogan O’Brien: Makes his return to the Cougars after attending training camp with the Colorado Avalanche. O’Brien finished fourth in WHL rookie scoring a season ago with 18 goals and 56 points, and his re-addition to the lineup gives the Cougars another bonafide offensive threat that can take over games.