Cougars Go After Eighth Straight Victory
Tonight in Prince George, the Cougars will look to do something that they’ve only managed to accomplish one other time in their 23 years of existence: Win eight straight games. Yes, the Cougars extended their winning streak to seven games last night thanks to a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants, and now the WHL’s top team will look to cement their fourth consecutive double-header sweep to start the 2016-17 when they once again clash with their division rivals from Vancouver.
Road Record: 0-2
2016-17 Record vs. PG: 0-2 (0-1 at CN Centre)
Goals For/Goals Against: 19 GF/30 GA
Leading Scorers: Dawson Holt (7GP – 2G – 4A – 6PTS), Jack Flaman (7GP – 4G – 4 PTS)
Power Play: 4.2% (22nd in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 69.6% (18th in WHL)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Ty Ronning: Assisted on the Giants first goal a night ago, and was his usual speedy, dangerous self offensively for the Giants. In four games this season he has a goal and two assists.
Thomas Foster: The 20-year-old nabbed his first goal of the season last night on a redirection 57 seconds into the game. Foster is underrated and does a lot of things well for the Giants at all ends of the ice. Expect another impact game from the 20-year-old forward tonight.
WHO’S ON D:
Dmitry Osipov/Darian Skeoch: Two of the elder statesmen on the Giants back-end will need to have a big game tonight. Given that it’ll be their third game in the span of four days (including travel) these two will need to drive the bus defensively for the Giants tonight on the road.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
David Tendeck?: It’s purely speculation at this stage, but given that the Giants are playing their third game in four nights with travel involved, it might be David Tendeck’s night to get his second start of the season. The 17-year-old backup to Ryan Kubic has one previous start to his name this season and it came in Seattle on September 30th – A 4-2 loss. Kubic has started six of the first seven games for Vancouver this season, including the past two games from earlier this week.
Special Teams: The Giants were zero-for-three on the power play last night and surrendered a shorthanded goal against. That shorthanded goal from Jesse Gabrielle proved to be the game winner. So far the Giants have only one power play goal to their credit through seven games, and that’s obviously an area of concern early for this team.
PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS
Home Record: 3-0-0-0
2016-17 Record vs. VAN: 2-0 (1-0 at Home)
Goals For/Goals Against: 29 GF/ 12 GA
Leading Scorers: Jared Bethune (7 GP – 5G – 5A – 10 PTS), Brad Morrison (7 GP – 2G – 8A – 10 PTS)
Power Play: 18.9% (9th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 97.1% (1st in WHL)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Jesse Gabrielle: Posted two goals and an assist in his first game back from the Boston Bruins. Last season he led the Cougars with 40 goals and it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that he could match or surpass that total in 2016-17.
Yan Khomenko: Has quietly put together a four game point streak. During that span he’s registered three goals and three assists for six points. He and his linemates Aaron Boyd and Josh Curtis have been one of Richard Matvichuk’s most dependable trios to start the season, and they’ll look for another big game tonight.
WHO’S ON D:
Ryan Schoettler: Though he’s only registered a goal and an assist in seven games, the rookie defenceman out of Lloydminster, AB has already established himself as one of the Cougars most steady and reliable defenders in the early going. He’s killed penalties and logged tough minutes against the opposing team’s top guys. In a season full of early pleasant surprises, Schoettler is right up there as one of the best.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Nick McBride: That’s been the plan all along. Ty Edmonds starts Friday, Nick McBride goes Saturday. McBride is coming off a 29 save shutout victory over the Kelowna Rockets from last Saturday and he’ll look to bump his record to 3-0 when he faces the Giants for a second time this season. His last outing against Vancouver was forgettable as he was yanked after surrendering four goals against on the road. Expect McBride to be inspired and focused in tonight’s rematch.
Stay the course: What you’re doing is working, so do not change. Do not get complacent, and don’t take any of this success for granted. The Cougars showed last night that even when they trail in games early that they can rally and turn the tide of a game. The Giants are going to be hungry and they are going to be angry and no doubt the Cougars will have to weather another early storm tonight from the visitors who would love to be the ones to end the Cougars early season winning streak.