Preview: Cougars Visit Silvertips
By the end of this evening either the Prince George Cougars or Everett Silvertips will stand alone atop the extremely competitive Western Conference. Richard Matvichuk’s Prince George Cougars are riding a four game winning streak dating back to Saturday, November 11th in Kamloops. The Silvertips meanwhile have rattled off two straight wins and are 7-1-2-0 in their last 10. Tonight the Cougars should feel as though they have a score to settle with Everett as it was Kevin Constantine’s Silvertips who stormed into Prince George and handed the Cougars their first two regulation losses of the season.
Home Record: 10-2
Last Game: 5-2 win yesterday at home against Edmonton.
Goals For/Goals Against: 78 GF/45 GA
Power Play: 24.5% (6th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 84.5% (3rd in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Patrick Bajkov (24 GP – 9G – 20A – 29PTS), Dominic Zwerger (22GP – 10G – 15A – 25PTS), Noah Juulsen (20GP – 7G – 11A – 18PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Patrick Bajkov: Leads all Everett forwards with 29 points in 24 games played. He’s crafty, he’s fast and he’s definitely a threat to produce offence any time he’s on the ice. He had a goal and two assists against the Cougars earlier this season in the two games at CN Centre.
Dominic Zwerger: The 20-year-old import sits second in team scoring with 10 goals and 25 points. Earlier this season in Prince George he netted a goal and an assist.
WHO’S ON D:
Noah Juulsen: The Silvertips captain is more or less a ‘lock’ to represent Team Canada at the upcoming World Juniors. Hailed by many as one of the top defencemen in both the WHL and CHL Juulsen is hard to miss out there given how well he shoots, skates, passes and defends. The Cougars are going to see a ton of him tonight no doubt.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Carter Hart: The reigning CHL Goaltender of the Year has followed up with a dazzling start to his 2016-17 season. Through 19 games the 18-year-old prospect of the Philadelphia Flyers is 12-3-3-0 with a league best .933 save percentage and 1.76 goals-against-average. One of his two shutouts this season came in Prince George against the Cougars back on October 11th.
Structure: The Everett Silvertips are an extremely frustrating team to play against because they are. darn. structured. Kevin Constantine, Mitch Love and Brennan Sonne have implemented a system that feasts on other team’s turnovers and penalties. The Cougars are going to need to dig their heels in, do their best to take the loud Everett crowd out of the game and stay the course with their own game plan if they want to be successful.
PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS
Road Record: 10-1-1-0
Last game: A 5-2 victory at home Tuesday against the Regina Pats
Goals For/Goals Against: 90 GF/60 GA
Power Play: 20.4% (12TH in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 85.9% (1st in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Brad Morrison (23GP – 9G – 16A – 25 PTS), Jansen Harkins (18GP – 5G – 18A – 23PTS), Jesse Gabrielle (18GP – 12G – 9A – 21PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Jansen Harkins: Has extended his point streak to seven straight games thanks to his two point game Tuesday against the Regina Pats. He’s got points in 14 of his past 15 games and is showing that he’s worthy of an invite to Team Canada’s World Junior camp coming up in early December.
Colby McAuley: Over his past four games he’s registered five goals and finds himself with nine goals and 21 points for the season. Since returning to the lineup from injury he’s been a major contributor for the Cougars and tonight they’ll need him to bring his usual energy, physicality and scoring touch to the table.
WHO’S ON D:
Brendan Guhle: Talk about an impact in your debut. He scored the Cougars first goal of the game Tuesday in what ultimately proved to be a 5-2 win over the Regina Pats. Guhle provided big minutes in all situations and he’ll look to do the exact same tonight as he plays in his second game as a Cougar.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Ty Edmonds: While Carter Hart is certainly worthy of all praise that he’s received, Cougars goaltender Ty Edmonds continues to put up wins. For the season he’s 14-2-1-0 with a staggering .928 save percentage and a 2.11 goals-against-average. Given how well both Edmonds and Hart are playing for their respective teams, goals could be very difficult to come by tonight in Everett.
A score to settle: Through the first 24 games of the season the Cougars have had few bad games. However the two consecutive home losses to the Silvertips I’m sure didn’t sit well and tonight the Cougars have the chance to give Everett a taste of their own medicine. The Cougars are 4-1-1 in their last six games with Everett on the road and hopefully that confidence carries over into tonight’s game with first place in the Western Conference on the line.