Cougars Pick Up Overtime Win
Prior to puck drop Tuesday in Langley, Cougars head coach Richard Matvichuk called it a ‘must win’ for his team against the Vancouver Giants. Well his team didn’t let him down thanks to some late heroics from Brendan Guhle and Brad Morrison. With less than a minute remaining in the third with the game 3-2 Vancouver, Guhle tied the game with the Cougars net empty. Brad Morrison added the overtime winner a few moments later helping the Cougars complete the third period comeback victory over the Vancouver Giants snapping a two game losing streak in the process. Jansen Harkins and Jesse Gabrielle each had a goal and an assist as well for the Cougars. The story at the other end for Vancouver was goaltender Ryan Kubic who turned aside 42 of the 46 shots fired his way.
Jansen Harkins put the Cougars ahead 1-0 at the 10:27 mark of the first period when he pounced on a Jesse Gabrielle rebound and flipped the puck over Kubic and home for his sixth of the season. Harkins has now recorded at least a single point in 16 of his past 18 games.
Ty Ronning answered at 16:33 with his 10th of the season off a Darian Skeoch rebound to momentarily tie the game at one, but less than two minutes later Cougars leading goal scorer Jesse Gabrielle took a pass from Jansen Harkins along the left wing, raced wide on Giants defenceman Dylan Plouffe and stuffed a backhand shot past the left pad of Kubic and home for his 13th of the season and a 2-1 Cougars lead that they’d take into the intermission.
For a second time though the Giants would erase a deficit and it came early in the second off a power play marker from Matt Barberis. Barberis’ point shot snuck through everybody including Cougars starter Ty Edmonds which tied the game 2-2.
Late in the second the Giants grabbed the lead when Radovan Bondra snuck into the right circle, accepted a Tyler Benson pass and wired a quick shot past the blocker of Edmonds for his 17th of the season and the Cougars went into the second intermission trailing after two periods for a third straight game.
Period three belonged entirely to the Cougars who outshot the Giants 17-6. Though the Cougars kept coming, Ryan Kubic kept making saves and it looked as if the Cougars were headed for their third consecutive loss.
Newly acquired defenceman Brendan Guhle had other ideas. With less than a minute remaining and the Cougars net empty, Brendan Guhle took a pass from Brad Morrison at the Giants blueline, he stepped into the left circle and placed a perfect shot underneath the crossbar and over the right shoulder of Kubic to tie the game at three. For Guhle it was already his third goal in four games with the Prince George Cougars.
Brad Morrison completed the Cougars comeback bid at 1:58 of overtime when he one-timed home a Brogan O’Brien pass off a two-on-one rush. Morrison started the play a few seconds earlier when he stripped Giants forward Jack Flaman of the puck at the Cougar blueline. Morrison’s 10th of the season gave the Cougars their first overtime victory since February, 2015. It also gave the Cougars their 19th victory of the season which moved them back into a first place tie with the Everett Silvertips atop the Western Conference.
The final shots were 46-22 for the Cougars who went zero-for-five on the power play. On the other side Vancouver went one-for-six. Goaltender Ty Edmonds made 19 saves off of 22 shots faced to secure his 15th win of the season. He’s now 12 wins shy of surpassing Scott Myers for the all-time franchise lead in victories for a Cougars goaltender.
Now the Cougars return home for a seven game home stand which begins Friday when the Cougars welcome their B.C. Division rivals, the Victoria Royals for the first of back-to-back meetings.