Cougars Continue Alberta Road Swing Tonight in Lethbridge
Tonight in Lethbridge the Prince George Cougars continue their swing through Alberta with their second and final meeting of the season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. So far the Cougars are 1-1 on the trip and are coming off a spirited and gutsy 4-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. Tonight the Cougars face a Lethbridge Hurricanes team that is really starting to roll having won each of their past three games. It’s also a Lethbridge squad that looks much different than the last time the Cougars played against them back on October 28th.
Home Record: 14-5-2-0
Last Game: A 7-4 victory in Edmonton on Wednesday
Goals For/Goals Against: 160 GF/161 GA
Power Play: 24.9% (5th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 74.7% (19th in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Tyler Wong (40GP – 29G – 29A – 58PTS), Giorgio Estephan (39GP – 21G – 28A – 49PTS), Zak Zborovsky (42GP – 29G – 17A – 46PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Tyler Wong: With goals in each of his past three games, the Hurricanes captain has really caught fire as of late. He’s tied for the team lead in goals with 29 and leads the team outright in points with 58. Wong currently sits fifth in league scoring altogether.
Zak Zborovsky: It took only 66 seconds for Zak Zborovsky to make a mark on his new team. The former member of the Kootenay Ice had a goal and an assist in his Lethbridge debut Wednesday and adds another dynamic offensive option to an already very potent Lethbridge squad. He’s tied with teammate Tyler Wong for fourth in league goal scoring.
WHO’S ON D:
Brennan Menell: With 35 points in 41 games, former Vancouver Giant Brennan Menell has fit in nicely with his new club this season and the numbers are speaking for themselves. 19 of his 35 points have come via the power play (two goals, 17 assists) which sits fifth in the league with a 24.9 percent success rate. He’s a huge part of that.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Stuart Skinner: With a record of 21-13-2-1 Stuart Skinner gives his team a chance to win every time he takes the ice. The draft eligible goaltender has a 3.30 goals-against-average and a .903 save percentage, but he’s got the type of talent that can steal games for his team.
Speed: The Lethbridge Hurricanes are a fast, tenacious team that gets offensive production from all four lines. Players like Tyler Wong, Jordy Bellerive, Brennan Menell and Egor Babenko can make life very difficult on other team’s defencemen and the Cougars will need to plan their game accordingly tonight to make sure they don’t get burned repeatedly by the speed and skill of Lethbridge.
PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS
Road Record: 15-6-1-0
Last Game: A 4-3 victory in Medicine Hat on Wednesday
Goals For/Goals Against: 144 GF/113 GA
Power Play: 16.2% (18th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 86.9% (1st in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Nikita Popugaev (44GP – 23G – 31A – 54PTS), Jansen Harkins (37GP – 10G – 30A – 40PTS), Brad Morrison (42GP – 16G – 24A – 40PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Jesse Gabrielle: Had a goal and an assist on Wednesday in Medicine Hat and now sits at 20 goals for the season. Previously Gabrielle had gone nine games without a goal, but throughout his career he’s been a streaky scorer, which could be bad news for Lethbridge tonight. Hopefully Gabrielle’s 20th Wednesday opened up more offensive floodgates because the Cougars are going to need him to be his usual pesky self tonight in Lethbridge.
Radovan Bondra: A goal and an assist in your Cougars debut ain’t so bad. Radovan Bondra fit right in alongside Colby McAuley and Jansen Harkins and also now sits at 20 goals for the season. It will still take a few games for Bondra to get into the swing of things with Prince George, but he’s off to a terrific start.
WHO’S ON D:
Sam Ruopp: The Cougars captain is a true warrior. Over the past two games he’s been a part of some major collisions and has done a remarkable job at sacrificing his body for the good of the team. He was also rewarded offensively Wednesday with his third goal of the season. When Sam Ruopp is on his game there are few (if any) defencemen in the WHL that can match his steady two-way play.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Ty Edmonds: Edmonds is coming off a 29 save victory Wednsday in Medicine Hat and now sits at 23 victories for the season and 92 victories for his career meaning he’s just four wins shy of the all-time franchise lead for wins by a Cougars goaltender. He continues to provide consistent and steady goaltending for the Cougars and they’ll need a similar outing tonight to be successful.
Consistency: So far in 2017 the Cougars have played two bad games and two great games and it’s usually fallen into a pattern going bad, good, bad, good. Tonight the Cougars will look to snap that pattern when they clash against a Hurricanes team that is feeling very confident offensively. Tonight the Cougars will need to compete for every puck and will have to match the Hurricanes speed and urgency. If they can do that, they’re going to give themselves an excellent chance to win.