Cougars Make It 7 and 0
Jesse Gabrielle and Jansen Harkins wasted little time in making an impact in their first game back in Prince George after stints with their NHL teams. Gabrielle scored twice and added an assist while Harkins had a pair of helpers in a 5-2 victory Friday for the Cougars over the Vancouver Giants. After surrendering two quick goals against to start the game the Cougars responded with five straight goals to secure their seventh consecutive victory to start the season, matching their second longest winning streak in franchise history.
Cougars head coach Richard Matvichuk warned before the game that the Vancouver Giants were going to start strong and they did just that. 57 seconds in Thomas Foster tipped home a Ty Ronning pass to make it 1-0, then at 2:53 Jack Flaman streaked down the left wing and snuck a shot past the glove of Ty Edmonds to stake the visitors to a fast 2-0 cushion.
All seemed well for the Giants until the mid-way point of the first period when penalties got the best of them.
Kody McDonald put the Cougars on the board with his third of the season which came at 11:17 with Tate Olson and Jesse Gabrielle assisting. Then a minute and 14 seconds later Gabrielle snagged his first goal of the season (and the night) when he one-timed home a Brad Morrison pass from the right circle past Ryan Kubic to the tie the score.
A minute and 29 seconds after the equalizer, Gabrielle and Jansen Harkins teamed up for a terrific short handed finish that Gabrielle put away. After leading the WHL in shorthanded goals a season ago, Gabrielle wasted no time in securing his first of this season and the Cougars took a 3-2 lead into the first intermission.
Both teams had their share of chances in the middle frame, but Ty Edmonds and Ryan Kubic stood tall in goal for their respective teams. Edmonds’ best save came off a two-on-one chance from Owen Hardy, but Edmonds managed to stuck out his left arm which forced Hardy to lose the puck before he could tuck one home on the backhand.
For a seventh straight game the Cougars took a lead into the third period and yet again they managed to hang on thanks to some insurance from the trio of Aaron Boyd, Yan Khomenko and Josh Curtis.
First it was Curtis who knocked home a Khomenko pass off a two-on-one rush for his second of the season. Then at 5:59 of the period Khomenko knocked home his third of the season off a Curtis pass to extend the Cougars lead to 5-2, which is how the game ended.
Prince George outshot the Giants 35-26 and finished the night two-for-four on their power play. Their penalty kill which was 30/31 heading into the game went a perfect three-for-three with a shorthanded goal to boot.
With that, the Cougars record now sits at 7-0 and they’ll look to make it eight straight when they host the Giants in a rematch Saturday at CN Centre.