Cougars Seek Redemption
Last night in Victoria the Royals handed the Cougars just their fourth road regulation loss of the season. It was by no means a master-piece for the Cougars who, despite outshooting the Royals 43-24, were out-scored 5-1. The good news: They won’t have to wait long for a shot at redemption as they get another crack at the Royals once again tonight. Tonight’s game marks the second game of four meetings between these two teams that will take place over the next 10 days.
Home Record: 11-8-1-0
Last Game: A 5-1 win over the Cougars last night at home
Goals For/Goals Against: 124 GF/115 GA
Power Play: 20.2% (12th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 79.9% (9th in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Matthew Phillips (35GP – 25G – 21A – 46PTS), Jack Walker (35GP – 17G – 24A – 41PTS), Dante Hannoun (37GP – 14G – 22A – 36A)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Tyler Soy: In his first game back from injury the Anaheim Ducks prospect scored three times and added an assist and was named the first star of the game and rightfully so. Soy is very crafty, opportunistic and a dangerous threat every time he takes the ice. The Cougars will need to be much more mindful and aware of Soy tonight when the two teams meet again.
Jack Walker: The 20-year-old prospect of the Toronto Maple Leafs might be one of the best skating forwards in the WHL. His speed is his greatest asset and he used it well last night. Though he didn’t light up the score sheet, he was a constant threat alongside Regan Nagy and Tyler Soy.
WHO’S ON D:
Chaz Reddekopp: Last night he led all Royals defenders with a goal and an assist and that improved his offensive totals to six goals and 24 assists for 30 points on the season. He’s made big strides this season and has shown that he’s capable of being the number one guy on the back-end for the Royals at both ends of the ice.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Griffen Outhouse: The Williams Lake, B.C. native won the goaltending battle last night in convincing fashion when he stopped 42 of the 43 shots fired his way. Outhouse’s record improved to 18-12-3-0 with a 2.86 goals-against-average and a .916 save percentage and for the season he has a 2.66 goals-against-average with a .915 save percentage in five starts against Prince George.
Opportunistic: It’s not often in hockey that you win convincingly when you’re outshot 43-24, but full credit to Dave Lowry’s gang as they made the most of their chances when they occurred. Tonight there will almost certainly be more of an emphasis on shooting and making life tougher on the Cougars defense and goaltender.
PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS
Road Record: 13-4-1-0
Last Game: A 5-1 loss last night in Victoria
Goals For/Goals Against: 130 GF/96 GA
Power Play: 17.3% (16th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 88.1% (1st in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Brad Morrison (36GP – 16G – 20A – 36PTS), Jansen Harkins (31GP – 7G – 28A – 35PTS), Jesse Gabrielle (29GP – 19G – 13A – 32PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Brad Morrison: The New York Rangers prospect has now recorded six points in five games against the Royals thanks to his goal in the second period of last night’s game. He along with linemates Jansen Harkins and Yan Khomenko were among the ‘better’ forwards in last night’s game, at least on the offensive side of the puck. Tonight they’ll look for more of the same from Morrison as he continues to lead the team outright in scoring.
Jared Bethune: He didn’t score but he sure competed hard and played a big part in drawing a four-minute power play opportunity for his team in the third period of last night’s game. Bethune has five assists in five games this season against the Royals and he figures to once again play a prominent role in tonight’s rematch.
WHO’S ON D:
Sam Ruopp: The Cougars captain was singled out by Shawn Chambers after the game for his positive effort and rightfully so. He skated well, finished his checks and was his usual dependable self defensively. Tonight the Cougars will need more of the same from their captain as they look to get back in the win column against a determined Royals club.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Nick McBride: Has won two consecutive starts and is starting to really come around for this team. On December 16th in Seattle against the Thunderbirds he was brilliant and he’ll need to be again tonight as he looks to guide the Cougars back into the win column. McBride for the season is 6-3-1-0 and his goals-against-average now sits at 3.39 with an .895 save percentage. A few more strong outings will get those numbers to an even better spot.
Defensive awareness: The Cougars haven’t had many bad defensive games this season, so there’s no reason to panic unnecessarily after one tough outing. Hockey is a game of adjustments and no doubt the Cougars will be looking to fix some things tonight when they take on their B.C. Division foes on the road tonight.