Cougars Down Rockets to Win Fourth Straight
The phrase “road weary” is obviously something the Prince George Cougars have not become familiar with.
Playing their second game in as many nights and fourth consecutive road contest to open the 2016-17 Western Hockey League season, the Cougars rolled into Kelowna and grounded the Rockets by a narrow 2-1 margin in the lone game on the WHL schedule Wednesday night. COMPLETE BOXSCORE
The Cougars opened the road trip with back-to-back victories over the defending B.C. Division champion Victoria Royals over the weekend, before staking out a 7-6 triumph over the Vancouver Giants Tuesday night.
There were no bus legs to be found in the early going Wednesday as Jared Bethune (4) remained hot for the Cougars, scoring only 56 seconds into the festivities for his fourth goal in two nights. Bethune tallied a hat trick in Tuesday’s win over the Giants.
Midway through the second period, Bethune and Brad Morrison combined for a point-blank scoring opportunity on the doorstep of the Rockets crease, but out shot the left pad of goaltender Michael Herringer, who made a save-of-the-week worthy play to kick the puck out and keep his team within one.
Moments later, with Rockets defenceman Devante Stephens serving a tripping minor, defenceman Cal Foote made a heady play to set up Tomas Soustal (1) in Cougars territory. The Czech import made no mistake, slipping the puck past Cougars goaltender Ty Edmonds from in close, tying the game 1-1.
With the second period winding down, Bethune forced a turnover deep in Rockets territory before wheeling a pass out to Russian import Yan Khomenko (1). Situated low in the face-off circle, 18-year-old Moscow native sent a bad-angle shot high over the shoulder of Herringer to give Prince George a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Try as they might in the third, the Rockets couldn’t draw even, despite firing 15 shots in on Edmonds over the final 20 minutes of play. By the time the night was done, the 20-year-old puckstopper had steered aside 32 of the 33 pucks sent his way.
At the other end, Herringer was sharp making 24 saves on 26 shots, though Khomenko’s game-winner is likely one he will want back.
The Cougars finished the night 0-for-6 with the man advantage, while the Rockets were 0-for-2.
With the win, the Cougars remain undefeated at 4-0-0-0 to open the regular season. On the other side of the puck, the Rockets fall to 1-2-0-0.