Preview: Cougars at Blazers
Tonight in Kamloops the Prince George Cougars and Kamloops Blazers square off for the second time within a full calendar week. The Cougars are coming off a disappointing start to their three game B.C. trip Thursday (a 4-2 loss to Vancouver) while the Blazers are riding a nice wave of momentum after a 5-2 home ice victory last night against the Prince Albert Raiders. The good news: Through their first 20 games the Cougars have responded well after lacklustre games, and there should be no shortage of pride and motivation displayed tonight in what should be a very charged up Sandman Centre.
Record: 11-9-1-0 (0-1 vs. PG)
Home Record: 8-1-1-0
Goals For/Goals Against: 71 GF/51 GA
Power Play: 19.8% (11th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 84.2% (3rd in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Rudolfs Balcers (21GP – 11G – 10A – 21PTS), Collin Shirley (21GP – 9G – 12A – 21PTS), Deven Sideroff (19GP – 11G – 9A – 20PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Rudolfs Balcers: Coming into tonight he’s riding a five game point streak. In that span, Balcers has notched five goals and three assists for eight points. He had a goal and an assist last night in a win against the Raiders.
Garrett Pilon: Had a goal and two assists last night in the Kamloops victory and has scored three goals and added 13 assists for 16 points this season.
WHO’S ON D:
Dawson Davidson: Did not play a week ago in Prince George, but he’s coming off a two assist performance last night against Prince Albert. This season in 18 games he’s posted two goals and nine assists for 11 points with a +6 rating.
Ondrej Vala: Signed an entry level contract in the off season with the Dallas Stars. He has four goals and five assists for nine points in 21 games this season with Kamloops and is a +10.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Connor Ingram: The Tampa Bay Lightning prospect is having an excellent year. His record is 9-6-1-0 with a 2.01 goals-against-average and a .935 save percentage. He’s certainly a favorite to land a spot with Canada for the upcoming World Junior tournament. Last season against the Cougars he was 5-1-0-1 with a .935 save percentage and a 2.49 goals-against-average.
Home Ice Advantage: The Blazers are confident at home. They are 8-1-1-0 through 10 home games and their only loss at home came on October 25th via the Victoria Royals. The Cougars are going to need to dig their heels in tonight in Kamloops as the Sandman Centre has fast established itself as one of the most intimidating rinks in the WHL this season.
PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS
Road Record: 8-1-1-0
Goals For/Goals Against: 70 GF/54 GA
Power Play: 20.2% (10th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 86.4% (1st in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Brad Morrison (19GP – 8G – 14A – 22PTS), Jared Bethune (20GP – 6G – 11A – 17PTS), Jansen Harkins (14GP – 4G – 13A – 17PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Brad Morrison: Had a goal Thursday for the Cougars in their loss against Vancouver. He continues to lead the way offensively for PG with 22 points. He and Jesse Gabrielle are still tied for the team lead in goals with eight.
Brogan O’Brien: Has had two very good games in a row and looks like he’s starting to turn a corner offensively. He has four goals and six assists for 10 points now in 18 games and is looking to make a big impact tonight on the road in Kamloops.
WHO’S ON D:
Max Martin: The 17-year-0ld recorded an assist Thursday in Vancouver and comes into tonight with a team leading plus-minus rating of +10. He’s been very dependable all season long for the Cougars and he’s had to be lately given the suspension to Sam Ruopp and the injury to Josh Anderson. Look for Martin to log a lot of big minutes again tonight.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Ty Edmonds: So far this season Ty Edmonds has been very reliable and steady for the Cougars. He’s got a record of 10-2-1-0 with a 2.29 goals-against-average and a .921 save percentage. He made 37 saves a week ago during the Cougars 4-2 home ice victory against these very Blazers.
That Bounce Back Swagger: Thursday in Vancouver wasn’t a great game across the board for the Cougars and they will certainly be inspired tonight as they look to get back into the win column. To their credit, Richard Matvichuk’s team hasn’t put together many (if any) poor showings in back-to-back games, and hopefully tonight that trend continues when they battle the Blazers on the road.
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