Preview: Cougars Host T-Birds
Over the course of a 72 game season teams are bound to go through some highs and lows. With that said one of the greatest strengths so far of the 2016-17 Cougars has been that even when they play a game that’s not quite up to their standard, they tend to bounce back. They’ve avoided lengthy losing streaks all season and can still lay claim to the fact that they haven’t lost more than two straight all season. Currently on this seven game home stand the Cougars are 2-2 and are coming off a 3-2 loss last night at the hands of the Seattle Thunderbirds. Tonight on Teddy Bear Toss night, the Cougars look to get back into the win column when they once again clash with their 2016 playoff rivals, the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Road Record: 9-6-2-0
Last game: A 3-2 win last night in Prince George
Goals For/Goals Against: 93 GF/86 GA
Power Play: 18% (15th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 82.5% (6th in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Scott Eansor (29GP – 14G – 16A – 30PTS), Ethan Bear (27GP – 10G – 15A – 25PTS), Nolan Volcan (29GP – 11G – 12A – 23PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Keegan Kolesar: With a goal and an assist last night Keegan Kolesar was named the game’s first star. It wasn’t anything fancy from the Columbus Blue Jackets prospect, but just a good honest effort shooting the puck, finishing checks and dishing to his teammates. In 12 games this season he’s now got two goals and four assists.
Scott Eansor: He’s a pest and he plays that role well. Though he only had one assist his presence was felt in all aspects of last night’s game. He’s always a threat to score on the penalty kill due to his speed and offensively he’s playing with a ton of confidence as his 30 points would indicate.
WHO’S ON D:
Jarret Tyszka: The draft eligible defencemen had an assist in last night’s game and did a great job alongside Ethan Bear defending his own zone against some of the Cougars top offensive guns. For the season Tyszka has two goals and 10 assists for 12 points.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Rylan Toth: Made 25 saves on 27 shots faced yesterday to earn his 12th win of the season. He struggled in the first but was flawless the rest of the way stopping the final 17 shots fired his way. Does that warrant him another go tonight? Or will one of Carl Stankowski or Matt Berlin get the nod?
Compete: The T-Birds simply wanted the win more last night. They crashed the net harder, finished more checks and were opportunistic with their opportunities. Now at the very least they will head home with two points in their pocket. How bad do they want to head south with four?
PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS
Home Record: 10-5-1-0
Last Game: 3-2 loss at home to Seattle yesterday
Goals For/Goals Against: 109 GF/80 GA
Power Play: 17.1% (18th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 86.4 (1st in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Jansen Harkins (25 GP – 6G – 24A – 30PTS), Jesse Gabrielle (25GP – 19G – 11A – 30PTS), Brad Morrison (30GP – 12G – 18A – 30PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Jesse Gabrielle: Now with seven goals in his last five games it’s safe to say that Jesse Gabrielle is ‘feeling it.’ The Boston Bruins prospect scored his team high 19th of the season on a shorthanded breakaway last night and should be considered an odds-on favorite to score the coveted Teddy Bear Goal in 2016.
Brad Morrison: Was the best Cougar forward on the ice last night. He skated, generated scoring chances and assisted on the second Cougars goal of the game. Morrison is a game-changer, especially when he’s skating. Hopefully he’s got another game like last night’s up his sleeve for tonight.
WHO’S ON D:
Brendan Guhle: The 19-year-old returns to the Cougars lineup tonight after a week-long stint with the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL. All Guhle has done in his first four games as a Cougar is score three goals. His confidence right now is sky high and you can imagine he’ll be charged up to return to the ice in Prince George tonight.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Ty Edmonds: Didn’t have his greatest game last night in a 3-2 loss to Seattle, but was sharp early and still managed to keep his team within striking distance. He’s started five straight games. Will tonight be his sixth?
Nick McBride: Hasn’t started a game since November 27th in Portland. Though he’s had an up-and-down run as of late, McBride continues to work hard in practice and has the skill-set to play and win big games for this team. Maybe Richard Matvichuk has a hunch that McBride could be the guy between the pipes to lead the Cougars to victory tonight.
Get Greasy: After the game last night the Cougars coaching staff pulled no punches: “We didn’t compete hard enough.” Tonight the Cougars need to get greasy, which means finishing checks, blocking shots and going to the front of their net to generate scoring chances. The Cougars are more than able to do all of these things and have done them well for a majority of the season. Tonight it’s ‘game on’ for the Cougars as they take aim at their 22nd victory.