Cougars Look for 60-Minute Effort in Calgary
After last night’s craziness in Lethbridge, it’s almost weird to think that there’s another hockey game on tap so soon for the Prince George Cougars. But never the less tonight in Calgary the Cougars will look to turn a good road trip into an excellent one when they battle the Calgary Hitmen at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Home Record: 8-7-1-1
Last Game: A 5-4 overtime victory Wednesday in Prince Albert
Goals For/Goals Against: 109 GF/158 GA
Power Play: 17% (17th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 76.4% (17th in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Matteo Gennaro (37GP – 18G – 22A – 40PTS), Jake Kryski (39GP – 14G – 16A – 30PTS), Beck Malenstyn (38GP – 17G – 11A – 28PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Jake Kryski: The newly acquired forward has had a nice season up to this point having registered 14 goals and 16 assists for 30 points. In two games with the Hitmen since being acquired from Kelowna, Kryski has a goal and has played top-line minutes in all situations. Kryski’s speed is his biggest weapon and he’ll look to use it effectively tonight.
Jakob Stukul: The Canucks prospect hasn’t quite matched his excellent offensive output from a season ago, but he’s still a legitimate offensive threat thanks to his speed and his shot. Stukul has 13 goals this season along with 15 assists.
WHO’S ON D:
Jake Bean: The first round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes is one of the most dynamic offensive defencemen in the entire WHL. Despite only playing in 12 games this season, Bean has two goals and 12 assists for 14 points. He plays a TON for Calgary and will likely see the most minutes against the Cougars top forwards here tonight. He’s worth the price of admission and the Cougars will need to minimize his time and speed whenever possible.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Trevor Martin: The veteran 20-year-old returned to the WHL at the trade deadline after a brief stint in the QMJHL. He’s 1-0 with Calgary having guided them to their victory Wednesday in Prince Albert. Martin’s numbers so far this season aren’t overly flattering, but he showed last season in the playoffs with Red Deer that he can steal games.
Energy: The Hitmen will certainly be the fresher team tonight as they didn’t play last night while the Cougars grinded their way to a 6-5 come-from-behind win in Lethbridge. Calgary will need to use their energy to their advantage and that begins with a solid start. Fatigue could be an issue for the Cougars tonight as they are flu-ridden and are playing their fourth game in five nights.
PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS
Road Record: 16-6-1-0
Last Game: a 6-5 shootout victory last night in Lethbridge
Goals For/Goals Against: 150 GF/118 GA
Power Play: 16.4% (18th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 86.5% (1st in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Nikita Popugaev (45GP – 24G – 33A – 57PTS), Jansen Harkins (38GP – 10G – 32A – 42PTS), Brad Morrison (43GP – 16G – 24A – 40PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Nikita Popugaev: The hulking Russian forward has two goals and four assists for six points in his first five games in a Cougars uniform. Last night in Lethbridge Popugaev was brilliant scoring a goal, adding two assists plus the shootout winner.
Jesse Gabrielle: Don’t look now but the signed Boston Bruins prospect has goals in back-to-back games and has 21 now for the season. He’s the type of player who usually scores goals in waves and that’s not a good thing for the Calgary Hitmen. Tonight Gabrielle will look to make it three straight games with a goal and three straight games with a win.
WHO’S ON D:
Brendan Guhle: With both Sam Ruopp and Tate Olson doubtful for tonight’s game a ton of onus will once again be on the shoulders of Brendan Guhle to lead the way defensively. The Buffalo Sabres prospect is no stranger to big minutes, but with this being the fourth game in a span of five nights he’s going to need help across the board. A big game from Guhle and all Cougars defence men will be imperative for their success tonight.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Ty Edmonds: Tonight the Cougars are going back to their 20-year-old Ty Edmonds who comes into tonight’s game with a marvellous record of 23-8-1-0. His goals-against-average sits at 2.26 with a .919 save percentage and one shutout. He’s four wins shy of surpassing Scott Myers for the all-time lead in wins by a Cougars goaltender.
A complete game: Last night the Cougars played 25 minutes of good hockey and won a game. It won’t always be like that. Tonight the Cougars need to hunker down from the beginning and set the tone rather than respond to it. The Cougars have had some slow starts in recent games and that will be something that the coaching staff will be drilling into their minds tonight as they look for their third consecutive victory to wrap up this road trip.