Hitmen 4 – Cougars 3 (Shootout)
The Prince George Cougars have earned points in three of their past four games. Wednesday night in Calgary, the Cougars battled back from a 2-0, and a 3-2 deficit en route to a hard-luck 4-3 shootout loss to the Calgary Hitmen. Brad Morrison and Zach Pochiro each had a goal and an assist for the Cougars while Travis Sanheim and Adam Tambellini had two points each in response for Calgary. But the real hero of the night was Cougars netminder Ty Edmonds. The 18-year-old from Winnipeg faced 52 Calgary shots, and made 49 saves and was rightfully named first star for his efforts.
After a scoreless first (where Edmonds made 16 saves) the Hitmen grabbed the game’s first goal at the 6:51 mark of the second. The goal came via Hitmen captain Kenton Helgesen during a four-on-three power play. Travis Sanheim set up the play with a pass from the top of the right circle.
Travis Sanheim increased Calgary’s lead to 2-0 at the 16:00 mark on another power play chance. With less than 10 seconds left on the man advantage, Travis Sanheim snuck a point shot through a screen and in for his 11th of the season.
1:21 later, Zach Pochiro got the Cougars on the board with his 10th of the season off a wrap-around. Pochiro took a pass from Jansen Harkins, brought the puck around to his forehand side, out-waited Brendan Burke and then fired a shot over his glove and in.
Late in the second, Calgary’s Jake Virtanen took a cross-checking penalty, which gave the Cougars a power play to start the third period. Despite being outshot 34-13 through two, the Cougars headed to the third with momentum.
1:20 into the third the Cougars would tie the score when Tate Olson beat Burke with a low shot from the right point. Olson’s fifth was set up by Zach Pochiro and Brad Morrison.
At 11:13 of the third, Calgary regained momentum momentarily when Jake Virtanen raced down the right wing, wrapped the puck around and tucked home his 15th goal of the season to give Calgary the 3-2 lead.
It lasted 47 seconds.
Brad Morrison took the puck from his own side of center, snuck past three different Calgary defenders, before firing a shot on goal. Burke made the initial save, but Morrison raced wide on Calgary defenceman Keegan Kanzig, and snuck home his own rebound for his 20thgoal of the season. Tied game, 3-3.
60 wild minutes solved nothing. Through regulation the Cougars were outshot 45-21, and yet they managed to secure an incredibly valuable point.
Calgary peppered seven more shots on Ty Edmonds in the overtime period, but like he did through the first 60 – Edmonds held his ground and kept the game tied.
For a third time this season a shootout was required to decide a game for Prince George.
Ty Edmonds turned aside Radel Fazleev’s opening shootout attempt, and Brad Morrison responded with a goal to put the Cougars ahead 1-0.
Adam Tambellini tied the shootout on a back-hand deke, and neither team was able to score again until the fifth round.
Connor Rankin put Calgary ahead 2-1 in the shootout after a forehand deke, which meant that Cal Babych (a former Calgary Hitmen forward) had to score for the Cougars to keep the game going. Babych raced down the right side, made a great move to his forehand, but Brendan Burke got just enough of his left pad on the deke attempt which secured the extra point for Calgary.
Edmonds was named the game’s first star in the building after stopping 49 of the 52 shots he faced.
With the single point, the Cougars are now 21-32-2-2 and are back within two points of Kamloops and three points of Vancouver for a playoff spot in the B.C. Division.
Next up for the Cougars – The Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday night at the Medicine Hat Arena. It’ll be the third game of the Cougars five game road swing.