Cougars and Winterhawks Set for Rematch
Tonight at the CN Centre the Prince George Cougars and the Portland Winterhawks will meet for a rematch. Last night the Cougars erased a 3-1 third period deficit en route to their league leading 32nd victory of the season. The victory didn’t come without it’s drama though as for a fourth straight game the Cougars trailed heading into the third period, but were able to claw their way back. Tonight the Cougars will look to grab a lead and keep it when they face a hungry, speedy Winterhawks team that showed a lot of good things in last night’s game, despite the tough loss.
Road Record: 10-10-0-0
Last Game: A 4-3 loss in regulation against the Cougars last night.
Goals For/Goals Against: 160 GF/150 GA
Power Play: 25.7% (4th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 79.7% (10th in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Cody Glass (43GP – 21G – 36A – 57PTS), Skyler McKenzie (43 – 29G – 22A – 41PTS), Keegan Iverson (39GP – 14G – 32A – 46PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Skyler McKenzie: Scored his team leading 29th goal of the season last night on a shorthanded breakaway and was named the game’s third star for his efforts. McKenzie now has four goals in his past three games.
Ryan Hughes: The sophomore forward has had a fantastic second season in the WHL. After registering three goals and seven assists for 10 points in his rookie year, he’s followed it up with 17 goals and 22 assists for 39 points, including a goal last night in the first period. The sky’s the limit for the product of Edmonton, AB and he’ll look to put forth another strong outing tonight.
WHO’S ON D:
Caleb Jones: Although the Edmonton Oilers prospect didn’t factor into the scoring last night he sure played a ton, and provided Portland with dependable two-way play. Jones comes into tonight with four goals and 29 assists for 33 points and the Cougars can absolutely expect a steady diet of Jones again tonight in all situations.
Keoni Texeira: Throughout his lengthy WHL career which spans 251 games (all with Portland) Keoni Texeira has only missed eight games due to injury or otherwise. The 19-year-old has been the epitome of consistency for Portland over the years and he’s already reached a new season high for points in this season with a pile of games still remaining. Texeira has registered eight goals in each of the past three seasons, so you’d think that this might be the season that he’ll surpass that total before all is said and done this season. He was awesome last night, and should bring a similar effort tonight as well.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Cole Kehler: Even though 17-year-old Shane Farkas played a strong game in a losing cause last night, it would appear as though Kehler will get the nod tonight on the road for Portland. The veteran had a tough outing last Saturday against Spokane, but will be looking to bounce back tonight in a familiar rink. Kehler is 1-0 against the Cougars this season and will be expected to carry the mail tonight in an important game for the Winterhawks who don’t want to head home with no points on their trip North to Prince George.
Cody Glass: Earlier today the Winnipeg, MB product was listed as the eighth best North American draft eligible prospect on NHL Central Scouting’s Mid-Term Rankings List and rightfully so. Despite being held off the score sheet last night, Glass was a big factor for Portland. He plays in all situations and has clearly earned the trust of his coaching staff and fellow teammates. Keeping Glass contained tonight is going to be a big key for the Cougars.
PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS
Home Record: 15-6-1-0
Last Game: A 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Portland Winterhawks at home
Goals For/Goals Against: 159 GF/125 GA
Power Play: 15.9% (19th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 85.9% (2nd in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Nikita Popugaev (47GP – 24G – 33A – 57PTS), Jansen Harkins (40GP -13G – 33A – 46PTS), Brad Morrison (45GP – 18G – 24A – 42PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Kody McDonald: Had the game tying goal last night for the Cougars and helped set up the game winner. The 18-year-old from Lethbridge has now recorded 10 goals and 21 assists for the season which is a new season high for points. McDonald does a little bit of everything for the Prince George Cougars and he proved his worth in a big way last night.
Nikita Popugaev: Earlier today the hulking Russian was listed as the 18th best North American skater eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft according to NHL Central Scouting’s Mid-Term ranking’s list. Popugaev did not factor into the scoring last night, but certainly had his looks and chances. Tonight he’ll look to make an impact offensively for a Cougars team that continues to rely on scoring from all four lines.
WHO’S ON D:
Shane Collins: The 19-year-old from Rosetown, SK continues to provide dependable and un-flashy minutes for the Cougars in all situations. He’s one of the most trustworthy defencemen on this team and provides a quiet leadership quality that doesn’t show up in any stat category. He brings a little bit of everything to the table and will no doubt be tasked with playing big minutes against the top Portland forwards again tonight.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Ty Edmonds: Should Edmonds get the nod again tonight he’ll be one victory shy of matching Scott Myers for the all-time lead in victories for a Cougars goaltender. Last night Edmonds made 33 saves on 36 shots faced against Portland and looked good doing it. He can’t really be faulted on any of the three Portland goals, and in the third period he was able to close the door completely on the Winterhawks allowing the Cougars to complete their comeback.
Special Teams (again): Special teams very nearly cost the Cougars the game last night. They surrendered their fifth shorthanded goal against for the season and also went only one-for-two while shorthanded. The Cougars have now surrendered a power play goal against in eight straight games and the power play is now three for it’s last 37 opportunities. Are the Cougars due to breakout in both categories? Absolutely, hundred percent yes!