Cougars Approach 40-Win Plateau
Tonight the Prince George Cougars look to accomplish something that they’ve done only twice prior in their 23 year history: Capture 40 wins in a single season. After last night’s 4-1 victory, the B.C. Division leading Prince George Cougars get one more crack at the Edmonton Oil Kings tonight in the finale of a weekend double-header.
Two points for the Cougars would guarantee that they remain (at the very least) three points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers and six points ahead of the surging Kelowna Rockets in the B.C. Division. There were plenty of encouraging takeaways from last night’s win, and tonight it’s all about building more traction for the Cougars as their February schedule wraps up tonight at home.
EDMONTON OIL KINGS
Road Record: 9-18-3-0
Last Game: A 4-1 loss in Prince George last night
Goals For/Goals Against: 168 GF/251 GA
Power Play: 17.6% (18th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 75.7% (19th in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Davis Koch (62GP – 19G – 42A – 61PTS), Trey Fix-Wolansky (61GP – 21G – 26A – 47PTS), Tyler Robertson (56GP – 14G – 18A – 32PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Trey Fix-Wolansky: The rookie forward scored Edmonton’s lone goal a night ago. He leads all Oil Kings with 21 goals for the season and now has 47 points to his credidt in 47 points. He now has a goal and two assists in three games against Prince George this season.
Tyler Robertson: Has two goals in three games against the Cougars this season. The 20-year-old sits third in team scoring with 14 goals and 32 points.
WHO’S ON D:
Connor McDonald: The former Kamloops Blazer has thrived offensively since joining the Oil Kings in a deadline deal. In 21 games with Edmonton, McDonald has struck four times while adding five assists. He played a ton last night and looks to be in for a busy night yet again.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Patrick Dea?: Last night backup Josh Dechaine played well making 38 saves on 42 shots faced in a 4-1 loss. Given that this is Edmonton’s fourth game in five nights it would appear as though the veteran Dea would get the nod in this one. Dea’s last outing was a tough one as he surrendered eight goals against Wednesday in Kelowna. Dea is 18-28-2-1 for the season.
Davis Koch: The Oil Kings leading scorer was held off the score sheet last night for just the second time in his last seven games. The 18-year-old is clicking at just below a point-per-game pace and will be looking to carry the mail offensively here tonight.
PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS
Home Record: 19-10-1-2
Last Game: A 4-1 victory last night over Edmonton
Goals For/Goals Against: 215 GF/177 GA
Power Play: 15.4% (20th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 83.9 (2nd in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Nikita Popugaev (62GP – 26G – 36A – 62PTS), Jansen Harkins (55GP – 19G – 43A – 62PTS), Brad Morrison (61GP – 21G – 31A – 52PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Jesse Gabrielle: The Boston Bruins prospect had a goal and an assist last night. His goal came shorthanded mid-way through the second marking the fourth shorthanded goal for Gabrielle this season. He was flying around the ice last night and was an offensive catalyst for the Cougars.
Jansen Harkins: The Winnipeg Jets prospect had a goal and an assist and like Gabrielle was noticeable for all the right reasons. With 62 points now on the season Harkins is tied with Nikita Popugaev for the team lead.
WHO’S ON D:
Josh Anderson: The Colorado Avalanche prospect has played some very strong hockey as of late for the Cougars and last night it showed in the stat column. Anderson finished with a goal, was a +1 and was a crossbar away from his second goal of the game.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Nick McBride?: With Ty Edmonds’ franchise record sealed during yesterday’s win, it could very well mean that Nick McBride is going to get the nod tonight in the rematch with Edmonton. The product of Maple Ridge, B.C. is now 12-5-1-0 for the season with a 3.11 goals-against-average and a .901 save percentage.
Process: Yes it’s great that the Cougar won last night, but HOW they won is just as important at this stage. The Cougars competed hard, they won puck battles and they played an intense, aggressive 60 minute game. Tonight they’ll be looking for the exact same type of effort.