In six meetings this season between the Prince George Cougars and Victoria Royals each team has won three times. In three double-headers this season between the two clubs the teams have split all three of them. 24 hours removed from a spirited 1-0 victory Friday the Cougars dropped a close one Saturday by a 4-3 score. Tyler Soy had two goals and Alex Forsberg added three assists for Victoria while Brad Morrison and Jared Bethune each had two points for the Cougars who through 42 games are now just two points back of the Royals for second in the West with two games still in hand.
Victoria staked themselves to a 2-0 lead in the first period thanks to goals from Tyler Soy and Dante Hannoun. Soy’s goal came 4:01 on the power play and Hannoun capitalized off a two-on-one rush down the right wing. Alex Forsberg assisted on both Victoria goals.
Just a minute and 23 seconds after Hannoun’s goal the Cougars answered when Jared Bethune took a Brad Morrison pass, outwaited the Royals defense and then ripped a shot past Griffen Outhouse and home for his 13th of the season moving the Cougars to within one before the end of the first. The shots were 7-7 after one with the Royals ahead 2-1.
Jesse Gabrielle got the Cougars back on even terms at the 4:43 mark of the second on a power play goal of his own. His team high 27th was assisted by Brogan O’Brien and Tate Olson.
From there the teams traded chances with both Griffen Outhouse and Ty Edmonds keeping the door shut between the pipes.
Prince George grabbed their first and only lead of the game late in the second when Jansen Harkins one-timed home a Brad Morrison pass by the glove of Outhouse for his 10th and at 16:07 of the middle period the Cougars led 3-2.
42 seconds later though Victoria answered when Tyler Soy buried his second of the game and his 19th of the season off a rebound to tie the score at three, which is how the second period came to a close.
Near the mid-way point of the third, the Cougars thought they were heading to a power play when Jared Dmytriw collided with Ty Edmonds in the Cougars goal. Instead the officials called Colby McAuley for cross-checking him into the Cougars net, and Victoria went to their third power play of the game.
Seconds later Matthew Phillips pushed the Royals back ahead by one when he converted off an Alex Forsberg rebound at 7:23 of the third for his 22nd goal of the season.
Late in the third the Cougars were given one final power play chance, but Griffen Outhouse made the necessary saves late in the game to help Victoria remain in the lead, and ultimately secured the 4-3 victory and the weekend split.
The shots were 35-31 for the Royals who went two-for-three on the power play. Conversely the Cougars went one-for-two on their power play chances. Victoria’s 25th victory propels them back into second place in the B.C. Division with 54 points and a record of 25-15-1-3 while the Cougars have 52 points with their record of 25-15-1-1. Prince George still holds a game in hand on the Royals.
Up next for the Cougars: A weeknight double-header with the Seattle Thunderbirds starting Tuesday night at the CN Centre.