Monday, September 5, 2011

Cougars - Hitmen Preview.

This morning the Prince George Cougars take the ice with the Calgary Hitmen. Both teams take the ice searching for their first victory of the pre-season.

Who's Up Front:

Odds are good that the Cougars will get a good look at Jake Virtanen, the first overall selection from the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft. Virtanen had quite a day yesterday scoring once and adding a helper against the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Cats will need to keep a close eye on Virtanen if they want to earn two preseason points this morning.

Who's on D:

17-year-old Kyle Schmidt had an assist in yesterday's game with Medicine Hat and also was a +2 for the game. If the Hitmen are going to improve upon last season's record, players like Schmidt are going to have to reach the next level of their development.

Who's in Goal:

Yesterday the Hitmen used the tandem of Mack Shields and Mike Snider, and I'd expect that one or both will get some action against the Cats today. According to the stats, Snider allowed all three goals for Calgary during the 4-2 loss to the Tigers. The fourth goal was scored into an empty-net.


The Prince George Cougars are coming off a 2-1 setback to the Red Deer Rebels. They managed 30 shots on goal, but only had one goal to show for their efforts. I'm sure the coaching staff is hoping for a similar output of shots, with some better results.

Who's Up Front:

Jordan Tkatch and Jarrett Fontaine both drew assists on Alex Forsberg's powerplay goal. Tkatch and Fontaine are vastly different in size and style, but they compliment each other well on the ice. Tkatch can use his size to draw defenders away and create room, which enables Fontaine to be more creative with the puck. Add a play-maker like Alex Forsberg to the mix and you've got the makings of a dangerous line.

Who's on D:

So far so good for Prince George's 2011 First-Round pick Jordan Harris. The defenceman from Prince Albert has shown that he's able to play smart defensive hockey and has not disappointed in his first camp. Given that he's the only 96-born player left at Cougars camp, Harris may only have one or two more opportunities to strut his stuff before he's sent home. I look for Harris to be a positive presence on the ice for Prince George today.

Who's in Goal:

The Cougars management was very pleased with the trio of Devon Fordyce, Tyler Santos and Brett Zarowny yesterday, even in a 2-1 loss. Which of these three will out-last the others? It's another game, and another opportunity.


Chase Witala has had a great camp for Prince George, and offensively he's got a ton of upside. I look at today's game as a great opportunity for Witala to breakout and contribute on the score-sheet.

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