Preview: Cougars visit Giants
Tonight in Langley the Prince George Cougars look to end a modest two-game losing streak when they take the ice against the Vancouver Giants for a fifth time already this season So far on this trip the Cougars have dropped games to Everett (3-0 on Saturday) and Portland (6-3 on Saturday). Both games had their positives for the Cougars, but in the end a loss is a loss, and with a huge home stand upcoming for the Cougars it will be important to rediscover some swagger and confidence. On the other side, the Vancouver Giants are a team caught up in a five game losing streak, and they’d love to snap that streak against a Cougars team that they defeated back on Thursday, November 10th.
Home Record: 6-9
Last Game: 3-2 SOL at Tri-City on November 26th
Goals For/Goals Against: 80 GF/105 GA
Power Play: 13.3% (21st in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 71.4% (21st in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Radovan Bondra (25GP – 16G – 9A – 25PTS), Tyler Benson (22GP – 8G – 16A – 24PTS), Ty Ronning (24GP – 11G – 9A – 20PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Radovan Bondra: In four games this season against the Cougars, Bondra leads his team with three goals and two assists for five points. The Chicago Blackhawks prospect is a threat to score every time he takes the ice and will need to be kept in check tonight.
Tyler Benson: The Edmonton Oilers prospect is one of the top play makers in the WHL and is likely going to be playing with a purpose tonight as he was omitted from Hockey Canada’s World Junior camp invite list earlier today. Benson has 24 points in 22 games this season.
WHO’S ON D:
Dylan Plouffe: The 17-year-old Sherwood Park, AB native leads the Giants defencemen in scoring with 10 points in 26 games. He’s already doubled his point totals from a season ago and seems to be making the most of his ice-time this season under head coach Jason McKee.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Ryan Kubic: The 18-year-old is likely to get the start tonight for the Giants as he’s carried a bulk of the mail between the pipes so far this season for Vancouver. So far this season he’s 8-12-0-1 with a 3.58 goals-against-average and an .887 save percentage.
Rivalry Factor: No matter the records, time of year or any other circumstances that apply – The Vancouver Giants ALWAYS play the Cougars tough. The games between these two clubs are often high scoring and often come right down to the wire and there’s zero reason to believe why tonight’s game won’t be the same in that regard. The Giants handed the Cougars their first regulation road loss of the season earlier this month so there’s absolutely a confidence and a belief there.
PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS
Road Record: 10-3-1-0
Last Game: 6-3 Loss in Portland Sunday afternoon
Goals For/Goals Against: 93 GF/69 GA
Power Play: 20.0% (12th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 86.0% (1st in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Brad Morrison (25GP – 9G – 16A – 25PTS), Jansen Harkins (20GP – 5G – 19A – 24PTS), Colby McAuley (24GP – 11G – 12A – 23PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Colby McAuley: He’s red hot. The 20-year-old seven goals over his past six games and has vaulted into third in team scoring with 23 points in 24 games (11 of which are goals). He’s found instant chemistry alongside Aaron Boyd and Kody McDonald and they’ve been the Cougars best forward line on the trip.
Jansen Harkins: Has recorded at least a point in 15 of his past 17 games. He had an assist Sunday in Portland and leads the team in that regard with 19 on the season. He, like Tyler Benson on the other side should have some extra purpose to his game tonight as no doubt he feels that he should have been selected to Team Canada’s World Junior camp . You take motivation wherever you can and perhaps his snub could be a ‘good thing’ for the Cougars tonight in Vancouver.
WHO’S ON D:
Brendan Guhle: Has goals in two of his first three games as a Cougar and like Harkins above he can’t be happy with being left off Canada’s invite list for the World Juniors in 2016. Guhle has been awesome since he’s joined the Cougars and certainly he’ll be prepared to log a lot of minutes in all situations again tonight in Langley.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Ty Edmonds: When you’re in a losing streak you often need your goaltender to lead you out of it. Ty Edmonds has done that time and time again over the course of his lengthy Cougars career and tonight should be no different. He’s 2-0 on the season against Vancouver and is 14-3-1-0 on this season as a whole with a tremendous goals-against average of 2.10 and a phenomenal save percentage of .927.
Sam Ruopp: The Cougars elder statesmen on the back-end returns to the lineup after missing the past eight games with a suspension. The Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman brings a little bit of everything to the table and you can bet that he will be very charged up for this one tonight.