Cougars Face Rebels Tonight
The last time the Prince George Cougars were in Red Deer it was January 10th. The Trade Deadline had just passed and the Cougars took the ice against the Red Deer Rebels. It didn’t end well. The Cougars dropped the game by a 4-1 score and were really out of it from the get go. Since then though the Cougars have gone 6-1-1-0 and despite a wretched month of travel the Cougars are hanging in there, and are 10 points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers for first in the B.C. Division. Tonight, perhaps a bit of payback is on the Cougars mind as they once again go head-to-head with the Red Deer Rebels.
RED DEER REBELS
Home Record: 14-7-2-0
Last Game: A 6-2 home ice victory over the Victoria Royals last Saturday
Goals For/Goals Against: 156 GF/174 GA
Power Play: 17.7% (16th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 77% (15th in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Michael Spacek (38GP – 20G – 36A – 56PTS), Brandon Hagel (41GP – 20G – 26A – 46PTS), Evan Polei (45GP – 20G – 19A – 39PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Brandon Hagel: The Buffalo Sabres prospect has had an excellent sophomore WHL season. Last season as a rookie he registered 13 goals and 47 points. Having already registered 46 points this season that likely means that he’s going to shatter his previous season high.
Evan Polei: The 6’1, 228 pounder is a presence out there. On January 10th he had a goal and an assist and was named the game’s first star in a commanding Red Deer victory. Polei’s 20 goals are a career high and the 20-year-old also brings a wealth of grit, experience and character to the Rebels lineup.
WHO’S ON D:
Colton Bobyk: The 20-year-old is once again putting up some impressive numbers offensively from the back-end. He’s not going to catch his 20 goal mark from last season, but he’s certain been effective at both ends of the ice with four goals and 33 assists for 37 points. He’ll play a ton of minutes in all situations for Red Deer.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Lasse Petersen: A late goal from Aaron Boyd was Lasse Petersen’s only blemish on January 10th when he last faced the Cougars. The pride of Swan River, MB has put together a record of 11-9-3-0 with a 3.08 goals-against-average and an .894 save percentage. He also recently represented Denmark at the most recent World Junior Hockey Championship tournament.
Adam Musil: The rugged St. Louis Blues prospect does a little bit of everything for the Red Deer Rebels. He’s got 17 goals, 18 assists, 52 penalty minutes and he’s a +10. He had a goal against the Cougars back on January 10th and he played a terrific 200-foot game. The Rebels will be looking for more of the same tonight from Musil.
PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS
Road Record: 18-6-2-0
Last Game: A 2-1 shootout victory Monday in Vancouver
Goals For: 172 GF/138 GA
Power Play: 15.6% (20th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 84.8% (2nd in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Nikita Popugaev (51GP – 24G – 35A – 59PTS), Jansen Harkins (44GP – 15G – 35A – 50PTS), Brad Morrison (49GP – 19G – 27A- 46PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Nikita Popugaev: The 6’5″ Russian forward will play tonight before heading East tomorrow to prepare for the Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Monday. So far this season (as a member of the Moose Jaw Warriors) Popugaev has two goals and three assists for five points against them. He’s due for a big offensive outbreak and tonight could very well be his night.
Jansen Harkins: Needs just one assist to tie and two assists to pass Troy Bourke for the all-time Cougars assists lead. He’s had a phenomenal month of January and he came up with a clutch shootout winning goal on Monday night in Vancouver.
WHO’S ON D:
Sam Ruopp: He returned to the Cougars lineup in a big way on Monday and chipped in with some valuable and physical minutes for his team. Against a big and bruising team like Red Deer the Cougars are going to need their captain to play with that same type of energy and physicality that we’ve come to expect in recent years.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Ty Edmonds: The 20-year-old will get the nod tonight and is looking to put himself in the Cougar history books with a single victory. His next win will mark his 95th and would put him in a tie for first place among Cougar goaltenders for career wins. Edmonds is 25-9-1-0 with a .917 save percentage and a 2.40 goals-against-average.
Energy/Depth: Tonight marks the start of three games in three nights for the Cougars and in order for them to be successful they are going to need their depth, energy and discipline to lead the way. They’ll need all four lines to contribute offensively and they’ll need to make sure that they are managing their energy effectively. The Cougars haven’t played since Monday but they’ve been on the road now for eight straight days. They’ll need to play a ‘smart’ road game tonight in order to be successful.