Cats Beat East Leading Pats
The top two teams in the Western Hockey League did not disappoint in front of 3000-plus screaming fans Tuesday at the CN Centre in Prince George. In his first game as a Cougar defenceman Brendan Guhle opened the scoring and Colby McAuley, Jansen Harkins and Kody McDonald each recorded two points in a 5-2 victory for the Cougars against the Regina Pats. Lane Zablocki countered with two assists for the visiting Pats who dropped only their second regulation game of the season. Ty Edmonds was strong in goal for the Cougars making 27 saves on 29 shots faced to help the Cougars secure their fourth straight victory.
It didn’t take long for defenceman Brendan Guhle to make an impact with his new team. At 9:30 of the first period on a Cougars power play he took a pass at the left point, snuck into the circle and wired a quick shot over the blocker of Pats goaltender Tyler Brown and home for his third of the season and first as a Cougar. The Cougars weren’t done.
Jansen Harkins then added to the Cougars lead just over three minutes later off a two-on-one rush when he kept the puck, skated in close and went bar-down for his fifth of the season.
25 seconds later the Cougars made it 3-0 when Kody McDonald found Colby McAuley streaking towards the Pats net with a beautiful behind the back corner pass. McAuley chipped the puck through Brown and home for his ninth and the crowd was loving life in Prince George!
But the Regina Pats are the number one ranked team in the CHL for a reason and you knew they wouldn’t go away. Austin Wagner got the Pats on the board at 16:10 when he redirected home a Lane Zablocki pass for his 10th of the season, and the first period came to an end with the score 3-1 for Prince George.
Period two didn’t yield any offense for either time but it wasn’t for a lack of chances. Ty Edmonds’ best save came off a point blank chance from Lane Zablocki and Tyler Brown bounced back with a great period which included a breakaway stop off of Colby McAuley and a lunging glove save off of Jansen Harkins.
Early in the third the Regina Pats got back within one on a bit of a lucky one off the stick of Sergei Zborovskiy. On a Pats power play, Zborovskiy snuck into the left circle and was able to beat Edmonds with a high shot to the glove side. Edmonds got part of his glove on it, but not all of it and the Pats were back within a goal with plenty of hockey left to play.
The Pats outshot the Cougars 12-8 in the final period but 3-2 is as close as they’d get. With the net empty at the Regina end and less than two minutes to play, Kody McDonald skated to center ice and buried his sixth into the empty net to pull the Cougars ahead by two again. Jesse Gabrielle then added his team leading 12th of the season (also into an empty net) to clinch the Cougars 18th victory of the season and fourth in a row.
Both teams finished the game with 29 shots apiece and went one-for-three on the man advantage. Between the pipes Ty Edmonds earned his 14th victory of the season stopping 27 Regina shots fired his way.
Next up for the Cougars: A three game southbound road trip which starts Saturday in Everett. The trip also includes stops in Portland (Sunday) and Vancouver (Tuesday).