Cougars Host Winterhawks Tonight
There’s no place like home, and tonight the Prince George Cougars will play their first home game in a span of 10 days when they square off with the US Division’s Portland Winterhawks. The Cougars are coming into this one having won three straight and currently hold a nine point lead on both Kamloops and Kelowna in the B.C. Division. At the other side of the coin the Portland Winterhawks are in a battle with the Spokane Chiefs for the final wild card playoff spot in the Western Conference and are still within striking distance of a top three spot in the U.S. Division. These are important games for both of these teams and it should make for some fun hockey this week in PG.
Road Record: 10-9
Last Game: A 6-5 loss at home to the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday.
Goals For/Goals Against: 157 GF/146 GA
Power Play: 25.4% (4th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 79.4$ (10th in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Cody Glass (42GP – 21G – 36A – 57PTS), Skyler McKenzie (42GP – 28G – 22A – 50PTS), Keegan Iverson (39GP – 14G – 32A – 46PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Cody Glass: The sophomore from Winnipeg, MB has already obliterated his previous season high for points in a season with 21 goals and 36 assists for 57 points. Glass is a +22 for the season and is tremendously quick and dynamic. He’s a lock to hear his name called in the early rounds of the upcoming NHL Draft.
Skyler McKenzie: With 28 goals and 22 assists on the season, Skyler McKenzie has blossomed into a star in this league. What he lacks in size he more than makes up for it with heart, energy and hustle. He’s a threat to score every time he’s on the ice.
WHO’S ON D:
Caleb Jones: The Edmonton Oilers prospect leads all Winterhawk defenders with four goals an 29 assists for 33 points in 34 games. He played a big part in guiding the US to a World Junior Gold Medal earlier this month and he will play a TON tonight and tomorrow for Mike Johnston.
Henri Jokiharu: The Portland Winterhawks always seem to hit homeruns with their CHL Import selections and Jokiharu is certainly another excellent find for this organization. The draft eligible defenceman has six goals and 22 assists for 28 points and is a +9. He, like Glass up front can likely expect to hear his name called sooner than later in the upcoming NHL Draft.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Cole Kehler: The former Kamloops Blazer has put together a solid season up to this point with Portland. He’s 17-13 for the season with a goals-against-average of 3.16 and a save percentage of .908. Last season with Kamloops he struggled going 3-14-2-0 so it’s nice to see that he’s been able to seize his opportunity in Portland and thrive.
Team Speed: Portland can run and run with the best of them and the Cougars defense corps will have to be ready. Mike Johnston’s attack often involves a defencemen or two jumping up in the play when the opportunity arises, and it will be very important for the Cougars to try and neutralize their speed as best as possible.
PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS
Home Record: 14-6-1-0
Last Game: A 5-4 victory Saturday night in Calgary
Goals For/Goals Against: 155 GF/122 GA
Power Play: 16.1% (19th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 86.3% (2nd in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Nikita Popugaev (46GP – 24G – 33A – 57PTS), Jansen Harkins (39GP – 12G – 32A – 44PTS), Brad Morrison (44GP – 17G – 24A – 41PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Radovan Bondra: The newest acquisition has fit in nicely with his new team up to this point. He had a goal and two assists on Saturday in Calgary and far has mustered two goals and three assists in his first three games as a Cougar, all of which have been victories.
Jansen Harkins: Has thrived in recent games playing alongside Colby McAuley and Radovan Bondra. Coming into tonight’s game Harkins is five assists shy of setting a new franchise record and needs 26 points to become the franchise’s all-time leading scorer.
WHO’S ON D:
Tate Olson: Should be back in the lineup tonight after missing the past three games with an upper body injury. With Sam Ruopp still listed as day-to-day it’s important to get a veteran like Olson back into the lineup, particularly against a potent Portland attack.
Ryan Schoettler: Played some phenomenal hockey during the recent road trip and really stepped up his game with the likes of Ruopp and Olson on the shelf with injuries. The 17-year-0ld has done everything asked of him so far this season and hasn’t looked the least bit out of place.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Ty Edmonds: Is coming off a 47 save victory Saturday in Calgary and is now sitting at 24 victories for the season and 93 victories for his career. His 93 wins put him two shy of matching Scott Myers for the most in franchise history, and three away from setting his third major franchise milestone of the season. Assuming he gets the nod tonight, Edmonds will be looking to secure his third consecutive victory dating back to Wednesday, January 11th in Medicine Hat.
Special Teams: Special teams at both sides have been a concern as of late for the Cougars as their power play is now ranked 19th with a 16.1% success rate and is three for it’s last 34 altogether. The penalty kill, which for most of the season has been ranked number one in the league now sits at number two at 86.3%. The PK has surrendered a goal against in seven consecutive games and is 24/32 in that span.