Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cougars - Giants Preview (Oct. 29th)

Tonight the Prince George Cougars and Vancouver Giants square off for the third time this week. The Cougars are 0-2 against the Giants so far and have been outscored 10-4 in the process.


The Vancouver Giants top trio of Brendan Gallagher, Marek Tvrdon and James Henry was silenced last night, but it didn’t matter. The reason being: Jordan Martinook. Martinook scored three times and has now tallied nine times on the season. Martinook always seemed to find himself in the right place, and used his quick shot to his advantage.


20-year-old Neil Manning returned to the Giants lineup last night after missing a handful of games with an injury. Manning provides the Giants with dependability and skill. He’s a good puck-mover and he’s defensively responsible. The Giants are a better team when Manning is healthy and contributing.


20-year-old Adam Morrison was the winning netminder during both previous meetings between these teams this week. Morrison now has a 6-2 record as a Giant after being acquired in a trade with the Saskatoon Blades earlier in the season. Last night Morrison stopped 20 of the 22 shots he faced. He is backed up by 16-year-old Jackson Whistle who may get a shot tonight given that it’s two games in two nights..


Brendan Gallagher was a big-time threat for Vancouver on Tuesday but was kept quiet last night. Jesse Forsberg was all over Gallagher in last night’s game, and used strong physicality to keep him to the outside. Gallagher is very skilled and has one of the quickest shots in the entire WHL. The Cats will need to do their best to keep Gallagher and his linemates to the outside again, and minimize their opportunities on the power play.

Who’s Up Front:

How valuable is Charles Inglis to this team’s offense? Inglis has tallied seven points in five games this season and had a strong outing for the Cougars in last night’s 4-2 loss. Inglis scored on the power-play, and made a great diving play to help set up Cody Carlson’s earlier power play marker. With Brett Connolly gone a lot of the offense onus is now on Inglis, and he’s showing that he’s up to the task so far.


When the Cougars were down 3-0 in the third period Captain Jesse Forsberg rose to the occasion. Forsberg planted a big body-check on Brendan Gallagher, and less than two minutes later the Cougars scored on the power play. Forsberg won’t wow you with his flash, but he’ll bring the fans to their feet with his passion and his physicality.


Drew Owsley has started in all but one game so far this season for the Cougars and more or less has provided the Cougars with clutch saves. That being said, it might be time for Devon Fordyce to get a shot. His last start came on October 7th in Brandon against the Wheat Kings. Regardless of who gets the call tonight, it’ll be up to the goaltender to keep the Cougars in it and make timely saves when called upon.


Troy Bourke returns to the lineup after serving a one-game suspension for a boarding-major on Wednesday. Bourke adds instant offense to the Cougars, who are now getting closer to having their full lineup back. Bourke will add a strong presence to the Cougars power play, and his play-making ability is a nice compliment to anybody that he’s paired with. A big night from Bourke and the Cougars could very well skate off the ice with two points in their pocket.

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