Preview: Cougars Visit Royals
The holiday break is over and now the real grind of the WHL season begins. Tonight on Vancouver Island, the WHL leading Prince George Cougars take to the ice looking to extend a five game winning streak when they battle the Victoria Royals tonight on the road. It will mark the fifth time this season that the Cougars have battled their division rivals and the third time they will have faced the Royals on Vancouver Island.
Home Record: 10-8-1-0
Last Game: A 5-4 overtime loss to the Vancouver Giants on December 17th
Goals For/Goals Against: 119 GF/114 GA
Power Play: 20.3% (12th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 79.4% (11th in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Matthew Phillips (34GP – 24G – 21A – 45 PTS), Jack Walker (34GP – 17G – 24A – 41PTS), Dante Hannoun (36GP – 14G – 22A – 36PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Matthew Phillips: Leads the Royals in both goals and points. The Calgary Flames prospect has a goal and an assist in two games played against the Cougars this season. The Cougars can expect a steady diet of Phillips in all key situations tonight.
Tyler Soy: Has been sidelined for the last month or so with injury, but all signs point to him being ready to go tonight. In 21 games the Anaheim Ducks prospect has netted 12 goals and 13 assists for 25 points. He hasn’t played a game against the Cougars yet this season.
WHO’S ON D:
Chaz Reddekopp: Leads all Royals with 28 points in 31 games this season. The LA Kings prospect is especially dangerous on the power play having scored four goals and adding another 14 assists. He along with fellow veteran Ryan Gagnon will log the most minutes of any Royals defenders on most nights.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Griffen Outhouse: With a record of 17-12-3-0 the 18-year-old product of Williams Lake, B.C. continues to give the Royals a chance to win every time he takes the ice. His goals-against-average is 2.93 and his save percentage is a very strong .913.
Vladimir Bobylev: The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect has only dressed in three games for Victoria since returning to junior from the KHL, but in those three games he’s registered two assists. It’s almost like the Royals got a trade deadline acquisition without having to part with anything. He’s a game changer and makes the Royals offense instantly more effective.
PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS
Road Record: 13-3-1-0
Last Game: A 2-1 victory in Spokane on Saturday, December 17.
Goals For/Goals Against: 129 GF/91 GA
Power Play: 17.8% (15th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 88.1% (1st in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Brad Morrison (35GP – 15G – 20A – 35PTS), Jansen Harkins (30GP – 7G – 27A – 34PTS), Jesse Gabrielle (28GP – 19G – 13A – 32PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Kody McDonald: Has three goals and two assist in four games against the Royals this season. The 18-year-old from Lethbridge has eight goals and 16 assists for 24 points this season as a whole and continues to lead the team in penalty minutes with 57.
Brad Morrison: Has five assists in four games this season against the Royals and is tied with Kody McDonald and Jared Bethune for the lead in that regard. He leads the Cougars in outright scoring with 35 points.
WHO’S ON D:
Tate Olson: scored a power play goal for the Cougars on the 17th in Spokane and continues to lead all Cougar blueliners in points with 15. The Vancouver Canucks prospect is a +7 for the season should see a lot of ice time alongside Sam Ruopp against some of the top Victoria forwards tonight.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Ty Edmonds: The all-time Cougars saves leader will also become the all-time leader in games played by a Cougars goaltender tonight when he starts against the Royals. Edmonds is coming off a 30 save victory on the 17th against Spokane and is the reigning WHL Goaltender of the Week. He’s 20-5-1-0 this season.
Special Teams: Earlier in December the Cougars power play was struggling but has since gone five for it’s last 19. The Cougars have a power play goal in each of their past four games, and the penalty kill continues to be the best in the league. Winning on the road is tough as it is, but if you have special teams working in your favor it makes life much easier. Special teams will be a major key tonight for Prince George.