Cougars Fall to Royals in Victoria
Friday night in Victoria the Prince George Cougars dropped a 6-2 decision to the Victoria Royals. After leading both 1-0 and 2-1 the Cougars went into the third period tied, but four unanswered goals from the Royals paced them to victory. Alex Forsberg and Matthew Phillips each had two goals for the home side while Tate Olson and Luke Harrison responded for the Cougars.
42 seconds into the game the Cougars took their first lead when Luke Harrison converted off a Kody McDonald backhand pass from the slot. For Harrison it was his ninth of the season.
Alex Forsberg answered for the Royals with his 26th at 11:50 of the first after a tic-tac-toe passing exchange with Chaz Reddekopp and Dante Hannoun. Victoria outshot the Cougars 16-6 in the first, but the game was 1-1 after 20 minutes.
Tate Olson restored the Cougars lead just at 6:24 of the second off a one-timer from the right point. Olson’s ninth came off a Cougars faceoff victory and was assisted by both Shane Collins and Chase Witala who was celebrating his 300th career game in the WHL – Just the fourth Cougar ever to reach that milestone.
Again Victoria had an answer. This time it was Matthew Phillips who tied the score at 13:06 on the power play. The Royals kept coming, outshooting the Cougars 18-11 in the period, but the score remained tied at 2-2 once the horn sounded to end the second period.
The third period belonged entirely to the Royals who would strike for four unanswered goals. First it was Alex Forsberg who knocked home his second of the night past the right pad of Ty Edmonds at 2:29. Jack Walker then extended the Royals lead to two with a breakaway backhand goal at 10:27.
Less than a minute later Matthew Phillips one-timed home his second of the night on a four-on-three Royals power play to make the game 5-2. Victoria’s power play finished the night two-for-six while the Cougars settled at zero-for-four.
Tyler Soy added a late shorthanded breakaway goal for Victoria at 13:28 to ice the game at 6-2. The final shots were 45-27.
With the loss the Cougars record is now 36-28-3-2. Their 77 points puts them fourth now in the B.C. Division, two points behind Kamloops who leapt into sole possession of third place with a 4-3 overtime victory Friday in Kelowna.
Now with three games remaining in the regular season, the Cougars hope to get back into the win column on Sunday afternoon when they once again clash with the Victoria Royals. Puck drop goes at noon on Sunday.