Gabrielle’s Hat Trick Powers Cougars Over Royals
Jesse Gabrielle is starting to heat up. The Boston Bruins prospect has registered six goals over his past six games, three of which came Friday night in front of 2800-plus as the Cougars earned a 4-2 victory over the Victoria Royals. Gabrielle’s linemate Jansen Harkins chimed in with three assists and Ty Edmonds made 25 saves in goal helping the Cougars to their 20th victory of the season. Matthew Phillips and Regan Nagy had goals for the Royals in a penalty-filled game where the teams combined for 15 minor penalties.
Gabrielle’s first goal of the night (and 14th of the season) came just 4:58 into the first period when he took a Jansen Harkins pass and snuck a quot shot past a diving Griffen Outhouse to stake the home side to a 1-0 lead.
Less than two minutes later the Royals answered when Ryan Peckford placed a perfect breakaway pass onto the tape of Calgary Flames prospect Matthew Phillips. The shifty forward skated in alone on Cougars starter Ty Edmonds and wired a quick shot to the glove side and home for his 20th of the season.
The rest of the first period, and much of the second period would then be marred by penalties. The Royals were given six consecutive first period power plays, but were unable to convert. The score was tied 1-1 through 20 minutes with Victoria leading 14-8 in the shot department.
Both teams continued to trade power plays in the second period as the Cougars wound up receiving five second period power plays while the Royals were given three more. Regardless of the slew of penalties, neither team was able to make the other team pay. Prince George ended up nine-for-nine on the penalty kill while the Royals went six-for-six.
Jesse Gabrielle ended the 1-1 tie at 14:39 of the second period seconds after a Victoria penalty had expired. From behind the Royals net Jansen Harkins placed a perfect pass to Gabrielle who was waiting in the slot and he took two steps and ripped home his second of the game and 15th of the season to restore the Cougars lead.
Again though, Victoria answered. Just under two minutes later Regan Nagy put Victoria back on even terms when he snuck into the right circle and roofed a shot under the crossbar and past the glove of Ty Edmonds for his seventh.
55 seconds later the Cougars took their final lead of the game when 20-year-old Colby McAuley skated wide down the left wing and placed a perfect shot under the bar and past the shoulder of Griffen Outhouse to make the score 3-2. It was McAuley’s eighth goal in his past eight games. The shots were dead even after two periods at 23-23 and the Cougars went into the third period ahead by a 3-2 score.
Jesse Gabrielle completed his hat-trick at the 4:10 mark of the third period. Jansen Harkins won the puck free along the left wing wall, centered a pass to Jared Bethune who cut to the slot before finding Gabrielle along the right wing. Gabrielle shifted to the middle and buried his third of the night past the blocker of Outhouse to give the Cougars a 4-2 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Prince George ended up outshooting the Royals 30-27 and are now 3-0 against the Royals on the season and are winners of four straight home games. Their record now sits at 20-6-2-0 while the Royals fall to 14-13-2-0.
Next up: A rematch between the two teams which goes tonight at 7 PM from CN Centre.