Preview: Cougars vs. Giants
Tonight in Langley the Prince George Cougars kick off a three game B.C. Division road trip when they battle the Vancouver Giants for a fourth time this season.The good news: The Cougars are 3-0 against Vancouver this season and have scored a whopping 16 goals in three games against them. The bad news: They’ve surrendered 13 goals against. For whatever reason these two teams have played in some remarkably high scoring games even dating back to last season. Sure it’s great for the fans, but those types of games are a coaches worst nightmare. Are we in for another shootout river-type hockey game? Or will these two teams buck the trend and give us a defensively sound low scoring game?
Record: 8-11-0-0 (0-3 vs. PG)
Home Record: 4-7-0-0 (0-1 vs. PG)
Goals For/Goals Against: 58 GF/64 GA
Power Play: 16.4% (18th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 71.1% (22nd in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Tyler Benson (14GP – 8G – 9A – 17PTS), Radovan Bondra (17GP – 11G – 5A – 16PTS), Ty Ronning (16GP – 7G – 8A – 15 PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Tyler Benson: Is coming off a three point night for Team WHL in Game 2 of the Canada Russia Series in Edmonton. Benson leads the Giants in scoring this season with 17 points. He’s a second round draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers.
Ty Ronning: He also represented Team WHL in the Canada Russia Series earlier this week. In 16 games this season, the 19-year-old has seven goals and eight assists for 15 points. He’s a seventh round pick of the New York Rangers.
WHO’S ON D:
Darian Skeoch: The rugged defenceman is tied for the team lead in scoring among defenceman with eight points and he’s also a team high +10. He’s also their penalty minute leader with 29 PIMS. The Cougars top forwards can expect a steady diet of Skeoch tonight as he’ll look to keep the Cougars big guns silenced.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Ryan Kubic: In 16 games this season Kubic has put together an overall record of 7-9. His goals-against-average is 3.21 while his save percentage is just a hair under .900. Kubic is 0-2 on the season against Prince George.
Speed: With Sam Ruopp still suspended (seven more games) and Josh Anderson missing tonight due to an upper body injury the Cougars defence corps will be lacking some experience and some physicality. The Giants will be looking to expose this fact tonight.
PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS
Road Record: 8-0-1-0
Goals For/Goals Against: 68 GF/50 GA
Power Play: 20.7% (10th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 86% (1st in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Brad Morrison (18 GP – 7G – 14A – 21PTS), Jared Bethune (19 GP – 6G – 11A – 17PTS), Jesse Gabrielle (13 GP – 8G – 8A – 16PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Jansen Harkins: Played two strong games for Team WHL at the recent Canada Russia Series. He scored a goal Monday and then added an assist on the game winning goal Tuesday. This season Harkins has four goals and 12 assists for 16 points in 13 games this season. Look for him to be a big factor tonight.
Brad Morrison: Also represented Team WHL at both games earlier this week at the Canada Russia Series. He leads all Cougars this season with 21 points. In three games this season against the Giants he’s got two goals and two assists.
WHO’S ON D:
Tate Olson: Has four points in three games this season against Vancouver and leads all Cougar defencemen in scoring with nine points. Given the suspension to Sam Ruopp and the injury to Josh Anderson, the onus is going to be on Olson to lead the charge on the back-end. He’ll get a brunt of the ice time against Vancouver’s top players and hopefully he’s up to the challenge that’s no doubt coming his way tonight.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Ty Edmonds: Is coming off a terrific 37 save performance Saturday at home against the Kamloops Blazers. His overall record is 10-2-1-0 this season with a .921 save percentage and the third best goals-against-average in the WHL at 2.29.
Nick McBride: Is 1-0 against the Giants this season. Though he’s had his struggles at times against Vancouver, McBride is more than capable and has played some big games for the Cougars this season. You’ve got think that a big part of him would love to get the start in Vancouver in front of friends and family.
Confidence: The road has been a very friendly place for the Cougars so far this season and tonight they’ll look to continue with that success. They’ve been successful up to this point because of their structure, discipline and timely scoring. All of those things are going to be key tonight