Cougars Kick Off the New Year At Home
Tonight in snowy Prince George the Cougars play their first game of 2017 when they take the ice at home for a Friday-Saturday double-header with the Victoria Royals.
It has been 23 days since the Cougars last played a game at the CN Centre and no doubt the fans, players and everybody associated with the Cougars are excited for what’s in store this weekend.
Road Record: 9-7-3-0
Last Game: A 6-1 victory in Kamloops on December 31st. Their fourth in a row.
Goals For/Goals Against: 135 GF/117 GA
Power Play: 19.1% (12th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 80.7% (8th in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Matthew Phillips (38GP – 26G – 22A – 48 PTS), Jack Walker (38GP – 20G – 25A – 45PTS), Dante Hannoun (40GP – 15G – 23A – 38PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Tyler Soy: Since returning from injury Soy has been red hot. In his past four games Soy has registered four goals and three assists for seven points. The Anaheim Ducks prospect had a hat-trick and an assist against the Cougars back on December 27th and figures to play a big role offensively for the Royals again this weekend.
Matthew Phillips: The Calgary Flames prospect continues to lead the Royals in scoring with 48 points in 38 games played. His 26 goals ranks him fourth in the WHL in goal scoring. He’s got two goals and an assist against the Cougars this season.
WHO’S ON D:
Ryan Gagnon: Has put up three assists in five games this season against the Cougars and ranks second among Victoria blueliners in scoring with 16 points (all assists). The 20-year-old from Quesnel is the Royals captain and inspirational leader and he should get a TON of ice time this weekend given the absense of Chaz Reddekopp who is suspended for both games this weekend.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Griffen Outhouse: On December 27th and 28th in Victoria Griffen Outhouse faced 83 Cougars shots and made 82 saves. He’s the reigning WHL Goaltender of the Week and is playing some of his best and most consistent hockey of the season heading into the weekend. This season against Prince George Outhouse is 3-3 with a 2.14 goals-against-average and .935 save percentage.
Energy: The Royals have won four straight and have seemed to have found their way as of late. Last season this team had a monster second half of the season which propelled them to a division title. The fact that they took both from Prince George back in late December won’t sit well with the team across the way, so the onus will be on the Royals to match the Cougars energy and intensity tonight at the CN Centre.
PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS
Home Record: 13-5-1-0
Last Game: A 4-3 victory on the road in Everett back on Friday, December 30th.
Goals For/Goals Against: 134 GF/102 GA
Power Play: 16.5% (17th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 87.8% (1st in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Nikita Popugaev (40GP – 22G – 29A – 51PTS), Jansen Harkins (33GP – 9G – 29A – 38PTS), Brad Morrison (38GP – 16G – 22A – 38PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Jansen Harkins: Is coming off a three point game on December 30th against Everett and now sits tied with Brad Morrison for second in team scoring. Harkins is closing in on the all-time Cougars assists record and needs just eight more to surpass Troy Bourke for the all-time record.
Brad Morrison: Morrison assisted on both of Harkins’ goal on December 30th and played a terrific game alongside Harkins and Kody McDonald. That line played with a lot of jump and intensity and tonight they’ll look for more of the same as they look to snap the Royals winning streak.
WHO’S ON D:
Brendan Guhle: The Buffalo Sabres prospect had a goal and an assist in Everett on the 30th and was a stud for the Cougars at both ends of the ice as they defeated the Everett Silvertips for the first time this season. He’ll have his hands full tonight against some very potent Victoria forwards, but Guhle has shown plenty of times this season that he is capable of big minutes and he’ll be up for the challenge here tonight.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Ty Edmonds: 20-year-old Ty Edmonds looks to get the call in goal tonight for the Cougars as he chases his 22nd victory of the season. Edmonds is coming off a 17 save victory over Everett last Friday and though it wasn’t his finest outing, he made some clutch saves when called upon and will no doubt be looking to avenge his last outing against the Royals when he surrendered five goals on 24 shots faced back on December 27th.
Nikita Popugaev: The Cougars latest trade addition will be in the lineup tonight for his Cougars debut. The 18-year-old draft eligible Russian has 22 goals and 29 assists for the season and will no doubt be looking to make a strong Cougars debut. The big key for him tonight will be keep things simple and basic in the beginning as he learns the Cougars system and the way of doing things. Here’s hoping the newest addition to the Cougars lineup can make a strong first impression with his new teammates, coaches and fans!