Cougars Face Tigers
The Prince George cougars continue their road trip with a face off against the Medicine Hat Tigers this evening.
MEDICINE HAT TIGERS
Home Record: 14-6-1-0
Last Game: A 5-2 victory in Edmonton against the Oil Kings on Sunday, January 8th
Goals For/Goals Against: 201 GF/146 GA
Power Play: 27.3% (2nd in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 83.3% (3rd in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Mason Shaw (41GP – 13G – 48A – 61PTS), Chad Butcher (38GP – 17G – 42A – 59PTS), Steven Owre (41GP – 14G – 36A – 50PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Mason Shaw: The draft eligible forward from Wainright, AB sits alone in third place in WHL scoring with 13 goals and 48 assists. In 26 fewer games he has already surpassed his 60 point total from a season ago and he’s really feeling it as of late with two goals and six assists over his past five games.
Chad Butcher: The 20-year-old is a terrific skater with tremendous vision and he can burn you in a lot of different ways. Butcher sits fourth in league scoring behind his teammate Shaw and always seems to be in the right areas where the puck can find him.
WHO’S ON D:
Clayton Kirichenko: Given the injury to David Quenneville, the Tigers captain Clayton Kirichenko has really had to elevate his game. The 20-year-old has four goals and 20 assists for 24 points and he’s a very impressive +26 for the season in plus-minus. The Cougars can expect a steady diet of Kirchenko tonight.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Nick Schneider: The Calgary Flames prospect doesn’t have glowing statistics save and except for one major category: Wins. Schneider is 26-8-1-0 this season with a 3.22 goals-against-average and a save percentage of .893. No goalie has won more games than Schneider this season which bodes well for him to get the start tonight for the Tigers.
Depth: This team keeps coming at you. With 201 goals for the season only the Regina Pats have scored more (205). The Tigers have 10 players on their roster with 10-or-more goals and three of those 10 have over 20. On any given night it could be Zach Fischer, Max Gerlach, John Dahlstrom or Matt Bradley supplying ‘secondary’ scoring to the above three mentioned in the Tigers leading scorers list.
PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS
Road Record: 14-6-1-0
Last Game: A 4-1 loss yesterday in Red Deer
Goals For/Goals Against: 140 GF/110 GA
Power Play: 16.1% (18th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 87% (1st in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Nikita Popugaev (43GP – 23G – 30A – 53PTS), Jansen Harkins (36GP – 10G – 30A – 40PTS), Brad Morrison (41GP – 16G – 23A – 39PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Radovan Bondra: Will make his Cougars debut tonight in Medicine Hat and will wear #24. Entering tonight’s game he’s got 19 goals and 12 assists for 31 points in 32 games played so far with Vancouver. You’d have to think he’s excited to make his Cougars debut.
Jesse Gabrielle: Has now gone nine games without a goal. Sooner than later he’s going to get one, and knowing Jesse, one is going to soon be followed by two, three or more. It’s not a matter of if he breaks out, but when and tonight could very well be that night for him.
WHO’S ON D:
Brendan Guhle: Missed last night’s game with an illness but he’s feeling great today and will suit up for the Cougars. It’s a good thing too as Tate Olson will likely not play due to an injury that he sustained late in the first period last night in Red Deer. Guhle leads all Cougars defencemen this season with nine goals and no doubt the Cougars are going to be pumped to have one of their top players back in the lineup tonight on the road.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Flip a coin: Will it be the birthday boy Nick McBride? He stepped in last night in relief and stopped 15 of the 16 shots fired his way after coming into start the second period. Ty Edmonds though could be poised for a bounce-back game and that could be the route that Richard Matvichuk chooses to take. Regardless of who goes in goal the Cougars need to be aware of the potent and dangerous Tigers attack that comes from all four of their lines.
Compete: Nothing will work if you don’t. The effort last night was nowhere near good enough, and they know that. This team has shown some strong resilience all season and haven’t let small losing streaks become big ones. Tonight the Cougars will look to bounce back as they take aim at their 29th victory of the season.
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