The 2016-17 Prince George Cougars continue to find a way!
They’re returning home with four of six available points from their recent three-game B.C. division road trip thanks to Tuesday’s triumph in Kelowna. Colby McAuley, Aaron Boyd and Josh Curtis combined for eight points and Ty Edmonds made 22 saves as the Cougars doubled up the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place. The victory pushed the Cougars league leading record to 16-4-2-0 through 22 games.
Neither team was able to strike in the first period because both goaltenders were outstanding. Cougars starter Ty Edmonds stopped all 10 shots fired his way. His best save came off of Nick Merkley who did a great job to outwait the Cougar defense while maneuvering his way in front of the net, but Ty Edmonds dove to his right, stuck out his left arm and robbed Merkley on his backhand attempt. Rockets starter Michael Herringer went 11-for-11 on the shots he faced.
Period two belonged to the Cougars who outshot the Rockets 16-6 and outscored them 2-1.
Yan Khomenko put the Cougars ahead 1-0 at 6:23 of the second period when he took a Jansen Harkins pass, snuck into the left circle and ripped his eighth of the season past the glove of Michael Herringer.
Just over three minutes later Colby McAuley increased the Cougars lead to 2-0 when he pounced on an Aaron Boyd rebound spun around at the side of the Rockets goal and fired his shot off Herringer’s arm and in for his sixth of the season and his second goal in as many games.
Late in the period the Rockets inched back within a goal when Tomas Soustal parked himself in front of Ty Edmonds and redirected home a Lucas Johansen shot from the left point. Soustal’s ninth came at 16:48 of the second period.
Early in the third the Cougars restored their 3-1 lead when Colby McAuley snuck past the defense, took a pass from Josh Curtis and beat Herringer on a backhand-forehand deke to make the game 3-1.
Kelowna wouldn’t go away. Calvin Thurkauf pulled Kelowna back within a goal when he stuffed a rebound past Ty Edmonds on a power play at 8:51, but that’s as close as they’d get.
With a minute and 15 seconds remaining in the game, Colby McAuley and Aaron Boyd skated in on a two-on-one with the Rockets net empty. McAuley, who has never recorded a WHL hat-trick chose to forego his shooting attempt and slid a pass across the ice to Aaron Boyd who did the rest to bury his third of the season and seal the Cougars 16th victory of the season. Boyd finished with a goal and an assist, while linemates Josh Curtis (three assists) and Colby McAuley (two goals, one assist) had three points each. All three were +3 on the night.
The final shots were 36-24 favoring the Cougars who finished the game zero-for-five on the power play while the Rockets went two-for-four. For the season the Cougars are now 4-0 against the Rockets and 11-1 against them against B.C. Division opponents. Their 16-4-2-0 record keeps them at the top of the WHL standings, one point ahead of the Everett Silvertips.
Now the Cougars return home and will put their two game winning streak on the line when they battle the Prince Albert Raiders at home on Friday night. Friday night is a FEATURE GAME: MEGA JACKPOT ‘PINK IN THE RINK’ NIGHT and great tickets are still available.