Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cougars - Blades Preview.

The Prince George Cougars continue their seven-game road swing tonight in Saskatoon against Lorne Molleken’s Saskatoon Blades.

Who’s Up Front:

Gone are the likes of Brayden Schenn and Curtis Hamilton, but make no mistake the Blades are still highly potent up front. Leading the Blades so far is 20-year-old forward Jesse Paradis. The former Kelowna Rocket and Moose Jaw Warrior has tallied five points in his first four games. Fellow forward Jake Trask has also recorded five points.

Who’s On D:

Defensively the Blades are solid. Leading the way offensively is 18-year-old Darren Dietz. Dietz has tallied four points so far this season and is a +4. Another d-man to watch will be 2011 first-rounder Duncan Siemens. The Colorado Avalanche prospect will likely get a ton of ice-time tonight and is as tough a defender as they come in the Western Hockey League.

Who’s in Goal:

So far through two games, the Blades have split the goaltending duties between Adam Morrison and Andrey Makarov, but yesterday the Blades dealt Morrison to the Vancouver Giants, which suggests that Makarov will go tonight for Saskatoon. So far the 18-year-old has posted a 2-0 record with a save percentage of .928.


19-year-old forward Josh Nicholls is coming off an 86 point season last year with the Blades and so far has averaged a point-per-game so far this season. Nicholls is a dynamic winger with a great shot, and the Cats will need to be weary of Nicholls presence on the ice tonight.

Who’s Up Front:

16-year-old forward Alex Forsberg continues to impress in the early stages of his WHL career. Forsberg tallied once and added an assist for Prince George en route to the 6-3 victory in Prince Albert. Forsberg leads all Cougars forwards with five points in four games.

Who’s on D:

The duo of Daniel Gibb and Cody Carlson have been outstanding so far for the Prince George Cougars. Carlson has been impressive with five assists through four games. He’s also logged key minutes against the opposing team’s top lines. Dan Gibb’s offense hasn’t been as flashy, but he has been the epitome of dependable early on this season. Carlson and Gibb were able to keep Mark McNeil and Brandon Herrod in check last night, and they’ll likely be billed with the task of keeping Nicholls, Trask, Paradis and Stransky off the score-sheet tonight as well.

Who’s in Goal:

A great bounce-back effort from Drew Owsley last night in Prince Albert. Owsley stopped 33 of 36 shots faced, and made tough saves look easy. No word yet on whether Drew Owsley will be getting the call again tonight. If not, we may see Devon Fordyce get his first start.


Discipline. The Cougars owe a ton of their success last night to their disciplined game. They only took two penalties against the Raiders, and right now their PK sits 4th overall in the WHL. If they can stay out of the box, and do their best to draw penalties, they’ll have a great shot at grabbing their second straight victory on this seven-game road trip.

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