Cougars In Kelowna Tonight
Tonight in the Okanagan, the Prince George Cougars wrap up a three game swing through the B.C. Division when they battle the Kelowna Rockets for a fourth time already this season. The Cougars, to their credit are coming off a 7-0 victory over the Kamloops Blazers and are 1-1 so far on this trip. The Rockets are 8-2 in their last 10 games though and have really started to come on in recent weeks. They are coming off a 7-1 win over the Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday and are gunning for their first victory of the season against Richard Matvichuk’s crew.
Record: 11-9-0-0 (0-3 vs. PG)
Home Record: 5-5-0-0
Goals For/Goals Against: 62 GF/67 GA (-5)
Power Play: 22.1% (8th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 76.5% (16th in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Kole Lind (20GP – 9G – 13A – 22PTS), Tomas Soustal (20GP – 8G – 10A – 18PTS), Calvin Thurkauf (16GP – 8G – 9A – 17PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Dillon Dube: The Calgary Flames prospect returned to the Rockets lineup Saturday after being sidelined for the start of the season with a lower body injury. He had three assists in his season debut. His speed is his greatest asset and he makes the Rockets instantly better. The Cougars will need to key on Dube and his linemates tonight.
Kole Lind: Over his past three games, Kole Lind has three goals and three assists for six points. He leads all Rockets with 22 points in 20 games. He’s eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft.
WHO’S ON D:
Cal Foote: Recently represented Team WHL at the Canada Russia Series. He leads all Rockets d-men with 15 points this season from the back-end. Foote is also eligible for the NHL Draft for the first time in 2017 and with his size and skill-set, he’s looking like a safe early round pick.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Michael Herringer: The 20-year-old Herringer is 10-6 on the season with a 3.05 goals-against-average and a .905 save percentage. So far this season he’s 0-2 against the Cougars with a 3.02 goals-against-average and a .914 save percentage.
Offensive Depth: The Rockets on paper are a strong team and their 8-1 record over their past nine games proves that fact. Guys like Tomas Soustal, Nick Merkley, Calvin Thurkauf, Kole Lind, Jake Kryski, and Dillon Dube can all burn you offensively if you let them. A big key for the Cougars tonight will be to carry forward their strong defensive play from Saturday in Kamloops where they kept a very potent Blazers team silenced.
PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS
Road Record: 9-1-1-0
Goals For/Goals Against: 77 GF/54 GA (+23)
Power Play: 20.7% (10th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 87.2% (1st in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Brad Morrison (20GP – 9G – 15A – 24PTS), Jared Bethune (21GP – 8G – 12A – 20PTS), Jesse Gabrielle (15GP – 10G – 9A – 19PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Jesse Gabrielle: Had two goals and an assist Saturday in Kamloops and became the first Cougar to reach double digits for goals with 10. For the season Gabrielle has 10 goals and nine assists for 19 points in 15 games. He hasn’t faced the Rockets yet this season because he was still with the Boston Bruins for all three previous meetings.
Jared Bethune: Also chipped in with two goals an assist Saturday against the Blazers. For the season the 19-year-old now has 20 points in 21 games and has been one of the team’s most consistent two-way forwards all season with a plus-minus of +10 which leads all Cougar forwards.
WHO’S ON D:
Josh Anderson: The return of Josh Anderson to the Cougars lineup was a big deal as it helped provide some more veteran leadership and physicality to the Cougars blueline. Of course they miss Sam Ruopp who is still out for the next five games due to suspension, but Anderson showed that he’s able to handle big minutes against elite players and thrive in that situation. He’ll need to contribute the same type of minutes tonight in Kelowna.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Ty Edmonds: The 20-year-old is coming off a 35 save shutout Saturday against Kamloops and now holds a record of 11-2-1-0 this season with a 2.13 goals-against-average and a .927 save percentage. In a season full of positives up to this point it’s impossible to ignore Edmonds and the calming influence he’s had on the group this season. He’ll likely get the nod tonight and he’ll look to improve upon his 2-0 record against Kelowna this season.
More of the Same: If the Cougars could bottle up their effort and their intensity from Saturday. they would do it in droves. Saturday in Kamloops was probably the Cougars best game yet (and there’s been some really good ones this season). From the drop of the puck tonight it’ll be big for the Cougars to set the tone and attempt to quiet the Kelowna crowd early.