Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Springer Gaining Confidence in WHL.

The Prince George Cougars wrapped up the month of November on a high note defeating the Spokane Chiefs 5-4. It was a big victory in many respects for the Cougars, and it’s a game that rookie Linden Springer won’t soon forget.

The Lloydminster product scored his first ever WHL goal in Spokane - A goal that proved to be the game-winner.

“It definitely helped my confidence,” said Springer after Saturday’s win. “I’m just happy that I could help the team win.”

Since the mid-point of November, Head Coach Dean Clark has used both Linden Springer and Shane Pilling (both defencemen by trade) as forwards. Pilling has thrived on a line with Charles Inglis and Greg Fraser, while Springer has found success playing alongside Jordan Tkatch and Jarrett Fontaine.

“He’s doing his job. He’s mixing it up,” said Prince George Cougars General Manager Dallas Thompson. “He plays the type of game that makes opposing teams unhappy.”

Springer has not shied away from the rough stuff, and heading into this week Springer has recorded five-fighting majors, which is second on the team behind only Campbell Elynuik.

Springer’s development was a definite bright spot for the Cougars during the month of November, and both Springer and the Cougars hope that his development continues throughout the 2011-2012 campaign.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cats Top the Chiefs in Spokane.

Saturday in Spokane, the Prince George Cougars grabbed their second straight victory with a 5-4 decision over the Spokane Chiefs. The Cougars had five different goal scorers including Linden Springer who’s first ever Western Hockey League goal proved to be the game-winner.

The Cougars got the ball rolling early in the first when Charles Inglis pounced on a Spokane giveaway, and wired a shot by Luke Lee-Knight to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.

Spokane quickly tied it when Marek Kalus knocked a rebound by Drew Owsley for his sixth of the campaign.

The Chiefs took a 2-1 lead at 8:39 when Austin Bardaro redirected a Brenden Kitchton point-shot past Owsley, but there lead would be short-lived.

21 seconds later the Prince George Cougars tied it when Greg Fraser converted on an odd-man rush. Charles Inglis and Jesse Forsberg started the play and Greg Fraser finished it at the left-wing side for his eighth goal of the season.

It was tied 2-2 after 20 minutes, but it could have been worse had it not been for some money saves from Drew Owsley. Spokane outshot the Cougars 14-5 in the first frame.

Early in the second the Cougars took the lead again when Troy Bourke finished a Spencer Asuchak rebound. The goal came just 19 seconds into the period.

Once again it didn’t last long. The Cougars were given a power play but it was Spokane who took advantage short-handed. Blake Gal was sprung on a short-handed breakaway, and he finished on the back-hand to tie the score at three.

Once more the Cougars responded well. Campbell Elynuik won a battle along the left-boards and threw a shot on goal. The shot foundi t’s way through Luke Lee-Knight to give the Cats a 4-3 advantage. That goal spelt the end of the line for lee-Knight who was pulled in favor of Mac Engel. Lee-Knight surrendered four goals on 10 shots faced.

The Cougars managed nine shots on goal in the second frame and took a 4-3 lead into the third.

The Cougars resiliency was tested early in the third when Spokane scored just 10 seconds in on a power play. Dominick Uher raced down the left-wing and fired a slap-shot on goal. The puck squeezed through Drew Owsley and the score was tied.

Again, the Cougars countered quickly. This time it was a combination of Dan Gibb and Linden Springer who supplied the offense. Dan Gibb found himself behind the Spokane goal eluding the checks of the defense. Gibb wrapped the puck around the net and threw I out front where Linden Springer was waiting to knock it home for his first ever Western Hockey League goal.

Drew Owsley stood his ground from then on out and finished with 26 saves on 30 shots faced. The Cougars finished zero-for-four on the power play while Spokane went one-for-four on their opportunities. The Cougars were outshot 30-17.

Next up for the Cougars, a meeting with the Kamloops Blazers in Kamloops on Friday, December 2nd.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cougars - Chiefs Preview.

The road trip continues for the Prince George Cougars tonight in Spokane, Washington. For the first time this season the Prince George Cougars will face the Spokane Chiefs. Last season Spokane were 4-0-0-0 against the Cougars.


The Spokane Chiefs were in action yesterday in Portland and they lost 5-3. Overall the Chiefs are 4-4-1-1 in their last 10 games and are ranked third in the U.S. Division behind Tri City and Portland.

Who’s Up Front:

The Spokane Chiefs are led offensively by 19-year-old center Anthony Bardaro. Bardaro has tallied 13 times and has added 12 assists for 25 points this season. Bardaro has scored eight of his 13 goals on the power play and the Cougars will need to be mindful of that statistic.

Who’s on D:

19-year-old defenceman Brendan Kichton is a real game-breaker. He has 17 points through 20 games, and lots a lot of key minutes for the Spokane Chiefs. Kichton recently represented the WHL at the Subway Super Series, and could be a potential candidate for Canada at the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championship.

Who’s in Goal:

18-year-old Mac Engel was the starting goaltender for Spokane in yesterday’s matchup with the Portland Winterhawks. Engel has played in 17 games this season for Spokane and has a record of 9-6-0-1 in that span. His backup is Luke Lee-Knight. Lee-Knight has only played in four games this season, but is 2-0-0-1 with a goals-against average of under two and a save percentage of .911.


20-year-old forward Darren Kramer can beat you in a lot of different ways. He can beat you offensively (nine goals) or he can let his fists do the talking.Kramer has 68 penalty-minutes this season, and has 306 last season, and 374 minutes the year before. The Cougars may have to answer the bell against Kramer, and they have several willing combatants who have not backed down yet from a challenge.

The Prince George Cougars snapped a six-game losing streak last night with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Cougars head into tonight’s game with a record of 7-17-0-2 and they are five points back of both Seattle and Kelowna in the Western Conference standings.

Who’s Up Front:

Greg Fraser’s strong November continued last night with his seventh goal of the season. Fraser has four goals this month, and is thriving on a line with Charles Inglis and (recently) Shane Pilling. Fraser is starting to do more of the little things right and it’s leading to more production and success. He’ll have to have another strong game tonight for the Cats to find success.

Who’s on D:

Cody Carlson continues to put up points this season. Thanks to Carlson’s assist last night, he’s now got a five-game point streak going and is now tied for the team lead in scoring with Alex Forsberg (16 points). Carlson has also been a reliable soldier defensively for Dean Clark and I’d expect nothing different tonight against Spokane.

Who’s in Goal:

After 32 saves on 34 shots faced last night against Seattle Drew Owsley is likely the favourite to get the start tonight against Spokane. Owsley was brilliant last night against Seattle and he’ll likely need to put forth a similar performance to give the Cougars their best chance at victory.


The X-Factor for tonight’s game is not an individual but rather a team concept. The Prince George Cougars are playing their third game in four nights and have a chance to really put themselves back into the thick of things with a win in Spokane. In order to do that the Cougars will need to avoid the little ‘mistakes’ that have crept up in recent games. They’ll need to stay disciplined, avoid bad pinches and make smart decisions with the puck. If they do that the Cougars could very well be driving back to Prince George having earned four of six points possible points this week.

Cougars Take Down Thunderbirds 3-2 in Shootout.

Friday night in Seattle the Prince George Cougars snapped their six-game losing skid with a 3-2 shootout victory in Seattle. Charles Inglis scored with 38 seconds left jin regulation to tie it, and also scored in the shootout to help lift the Cougars to victory. Drew Owsley continued his mastery of the Seattle Thunderbirds by stopping 32 of the 34 shots he faced, plus all three shootout attempts.

The Cougars opened the scoring just 55 seconds into the game. Seattle won a faceoff in their own zone, but Greg Fraser grabbed a loose puck at the side of the net, and shoveled it underneath Calvin Pickard to give the Cats a 1-0 lead. For Fraser it was his seventh of the season.

The first period was a back-and-forth stanza with both teams getting a ton of opportunities. Drew Owsley came up big early for the Cougars who got into some penalty trouble. The Cougars had to kill off a 40 second five-on-three, and Owsley was a huge part of it. Shortly after the five-on-three was killed off the Thunderbirds were awarded a penalty-shot when the Cougars were caught closing their hand on the puck while in the goal crease.

Burke Gallimore raced in alone on Drew Owsley who turned him aside. The Cats killed off the penalty and were up 1-0 through 20 minutes.

The Thunderbirds tied the score 3:30 into the second when Jacob Doty banged home a pass from Branden Troock to tie the score. The Cougars thought they had taken a 2-1 lead when Cody Carlson centered the puck into the goal-mouth area and the puck found it’s way past Calvin Pickard. The referee promptly waved ‘no goal’ and claimed that the puck was knocked in with a glove. They went upstairs and confirmed the referee’s initial decision.

The teams traded chances early in the third with both goaltenders not budging. The Seattle Thunderbirds were awarded a power play shortly after the 10-minute mark and made the Cougars pay. Marcel Noebels found the bouncing puck in the slot area and buried one past Drew Owsley to give the Thunderbirds a 2-1 lead.

The Cougars pulled their goaltender in the final minute and were rewarded with puck luck shortly thereafter. Charles Inglis won a faceoff cleanly back to Cody Carlson. Carlson slid a pass over to Martin Marincin who fired a wrist-shot through traffic. The puck hit off of Charles Inglis and through Calvin Pickard to tie the score at two. The referees again went upstairs to confirm the call on the ice, and this time the Cougars were credited with the goal.

Overtime solved nothing with both teams mustering three shots on goal. The T-Birds had the best chance but Dan Gibb sprawled and blocked a shot to keep the game tied.

Onto the shootout where Drew Owsley once again stood tall. He denied Branden Troock on Seattle’s first attempt which set the table for Charles Inglis. Inglis raced down and buried one past Calvin Pickard to give the Cougars the shootout lead. It was the first goal the Cats have scored in a shootout this season. Owsley then stopped Luke Lockhart and Marcel Noebels to seal the deal for the Cougars.

The Cougars finished the game zero-for-five on the power play, and were outshot 34-29.

The Cougars record improved to 7-17-0-2 while Seattle’s record falls to 10-11-0-1. The Cougars will look to extend their winning streak to two games when they face the Spokane Chiefs tomorrow night in Spokane.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Prince George Cougars road-swing continues tonight in Kent, Washington where for the first time this season, the Prince George Cougars will face the Seattle Thunderbirds. Last season the Cats were 2-1-0-1 against Seattle.


After a less-than-stellar start in their own right, the T-Birds have turned it on as of late. They are winners of three straight games, and currently hold a six-point edge on the Cougars for eighth place in the West, with four less games played.

Who’s Up Front:

Offensively Seattle is led by 20-year-old forward Burke Gallimore. The 20-year-old from Edmonton, AB is the co-leader in points for Seattle in with 17. He also leads the team in goals with 11.

Who’s on D:

19-year-old defenceman David Sutter leads Seattle’s defense-corps with 11 points in 21 games played. Sutter has scored three times, and is a +1 on the season.

Who’s in Goal:

The Seattle Thunderbirds boast one of the top netminders in the entire WHL in 20-year-old Calvin Pickard. The 19-year-old is a strong candidate to represent Canada at the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championship in Alberta, and has a 10-9 record this season. Pickard’s save percentage is .906 and his goals against right now sits at 3.62. He is a draft-pick of the Colorado Avalanche.


19-year-old forward Marcel Noebels is definitely a player that the Cougars will need to keep a close eye on tonight. So far this season Noebels has eight goals and is tied for the team lead in points with 17. Noebels is a big body who stands 6’3 and weighs over 200 pounds.


The Prince George Cougars have lost their last six games and are currently at the bottom of the WHL’s Western Conference. The Cats have looked brilliant in spurts through those six games, but have not been able to put 60 full minutes together when it matters the most. Tonight is a big four-pointer against the team currently occupying eighth place in the WHL’s Western Conference.

Who’s Up Front:

Cougars forward Charles Inglis has elevated his game to a higher level over the past week. Inglis has a four-game point streak going and during that span he’s got five points. He’s scored beautiful goals in two-straight games, and once again will need to be the focal point of the Cougars offense if they want to break out of their slump tonight.

Who’s on D:

Tonight is a statement game for the entire defense-corps of the Prince George Cougars. The Cats have prided themselves on being a defensively-stingy team this season, and to a man they are not happy about surrendering seven goals against Kelowna on Wednesday. The Cougars d-men need to play t their strengths and not try to do ‘too much.’ The Cougars have incredible depth on defense, and I expect a much better outing tonight from all six blueliners, whoever they may be.

Who’s in Goal:

Devon Fordyce started for the Cougars Wedneday in Kelowna and lost, so in all likelihood Drew Owsley will go tonight for Prince George. The former Tri City Americans goalie is no stranger to Seattle. In fact Owsley is 12-2-0-0 lifetime against the Thunderbirds and went 6-0-0-0 against them last season.


Martin Marincin is capable of taking a game over by himself when he wants too. Marincin has had many glorious opportunities in recent games, but simply has not been able to convert. A big night from Martin Marincin would go a long way in helping the Cougars restore some confidence, and restoring some ground in the WHL Western Conference playoff race.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Four Third Period Goals Sink the Cougars in Kelowna.

Wednesday night in Kelowna the Prince George Cougars surrendered four unanswered goals in the third period, and lost 7-3 to the Kelowna Rockets. A strong 40 minutes was not enough for the Cougars who dropped their sixth straight.

The Kelowna Rockets opened the scoring just 4:27 into the game. Tyrell Goulbourne followed up a Colton Heffley shot and knocked home a rebound through Devon Fordyce to give his team the 1-0 lead.

Just under three minutes later the Cats tied it when Troy Bourke converted on the power play. Bourke positioned himself in front of the net and made no mistake off an Alex Forsberg pass to tie the game.

Though they were badly outshot in the first period, the Cougars had the last laugh. Greg Fraser made a nifty behind-the-back pass to Charles Inglis, who danged his way through the defense and roofed one on Adam Brown to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes of play.

Mid-way through the second period Kelowna tied it when Jesse Astles followed up a Brett Bulmer shot, and buried a back-hand by Devon Fordyce for a 2-2 score. 81 seconds later the Rockets took the lead again when Kevin Smith fired a point-shot that found it’s way through everybody and into the back of the net. It was a power play marker for Kelowna which gave them a 3-2 lead.

Late in the second the Cougars failed to score on a 70-second five-on-three but they did managed to tie the score when Cody Carlson was able to squeeze the puck past Adam Brown with only .2 seconds left on the clock. The referee had to go upstairs to confirm, but the goal stood, and the score was 3-3 after 40 minutes.

Early in the third period, the Cougars seemed tentative, and it cost them. Colton Scissons carried the puck across the blue-line and fired a shot over the shoulder of Devon Fordyce to give Kelowna the 4-3 lead. Scissons made it 5-3 a few minutes later on a power play, and all of a sudden Kelowna had full control.

Cody Chickie and Carter Rigby added goals late for Kelowna to make the final score 7-3 for the Rockets.

The Cougars finish one-for-five on the power play while Kelowna went three-for-four. Kelowna finished with 31 shots while the Cougars countered with 22.

The Cougars have four games remaining in their road-trip which continues Friday night from Seattle. Puck drops at 7:30 Friday night from Kent, Washington.

Marincin to Suit Up for Slovakia at the World Juniors in Alberta.

The Prince George Cougars are pleased to announce that 19-year-old defenceman Martin Marincin will play for Slovakia at the 2012 World junior Hockey Championships in Alberta from December 26, 2011 to January 5, 2012. This will be Marincin’s third time playing for Slovakia in this tournament as he represented his country last season in Buffalo, New York and in 2010 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Marincin was drafted in the second-round, 46th overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2010 and is enjoying a fine sophomore season with the Prince George Cougars. In 19 games, Marincin has totaled two goals and 10 points. Marincin scored 14 goals and finished with 56 points in his rookie season with the Cougars in 2010-2011. The Cougars selected Marincin first overall in the 2010 CHL Import Draft.

The Prince George Cougars would like to wish Martin Marincin all the best as he prepares to represent his country at the World Junior Hockey Championships.

Food for Thought From Kelowna.

Another game day for the Prince George Cougars as they once again get set to take on the Kelowna Rockets. So far this season the Rockets are 3-0 against the Cougars having posted two victories against them this past weekend.

Tonight's game also marks the first of five straight games on the road for the Cougars who will then go on to face Seattle, Spokane, Kamloops and then Kelowna once more before returning home.

It's an important road-trip for the Cougars and given where they are in the standings, it's important for them to do everything they can to get a winning-streak going.

Some food for thought:

- The Cougars have scored two or less goals in 16 of their first 24 games this season. The Cats have done a fine job at holding the opposition in check offensively, but unless they figure out a way to score more goals, they'll likely continue to struggle in the win column. Four of the last five games (all losses) have been decided by one-goal. If the Cougars can find a way to score more than two goals, they give themselves a terrific chance to win games. Granted it's easier said than done against a rival like Kelowna, but the Cougars are more than capable of doing so.

- Still no word yet on who is going to start in goal for the Prince George Cougars tonight. In my opinion it is basically going to be a coin-flip between Drew Owsley and Devon Fordyce. Last night against Kootenay, Owsley put forward one of the best goaltending performances I have seen from anybody all season. Granted the Cougars lost 3-2, but to no fault of Owsley who made at least four truly magnificent stops that most goalies would not have made. Does that earn him another crack at the Kelowna Rockets? Or does Devon Fordyce get the call in order to throw a different wrinkle at Kelowna. Fordyce has earned points in his past two starts, and has proven recently that he can make timely saves as well.

- I know that the wins and losses may hint otherwise, but you can't deny the fact that the 2011-2012 Prince George Cougars are developing well, especially the younger kids. Jordan Tkatch earned an assist last night thanks to some great effort along the boards. Jake Mykitiuk makes a dandy move through center to set up the Cougars first goal, and guys like Michael Mylchreest, Linden Springer, and Jarrett Fontaine continue to get better with each passing game. The sky is the limit for these kids of they continue to work hard.

- The return of Jesse Forsberg makes a world of difference to this team both physically and emotionally. I'm very excited to see Forsberg go head-to-head with Kelowna tonight. Who knows if a healthy Jesse Forsberg would have made a difference last weekend at home, but tonight he's in and I'd expect nothing less than the usual from the captain: Gritty, determined, physicality.

- I hope you can catch tonight's game which goes live on 99.3 The Drive starting at 6:45 with the pre-game show. Enjoy your night, and we'll chat you soon.


Cougars - Rockets Preview.

The Prince George Cougars and Kelowna Rockets are set to renew their acquaintances tonight from Kelowna. It’s the fourth meeting of the season between the Rockets and the Cougars with Kelowna having posted victories in the first three meetings.


Ryan Huska’s Kelowna Rockets are starting to turn things around. They’ve picked up points in each of their past four games, and are now just four points behind Victoria in the B.C. Division.

Who’s Up Front:

The Kelowna Rockets are led offensively by 18-year-old Shane McColgan. McColgan has 22 points in 21 games so far this season for the Rockets, but was largely held in check by the Cougars this past weekend. McColgan is especially dangerous on the power play, and is a strong puck-handler with good vision. The Cougars will need to continue to keep McColgan and his linemates in check.

Who’s on D:

Saturday in Prince George it was Colten Martin who stood out to me the most on the back-end. Martin had two assists in the game, and played a very dependable style of game for his team. Offensively the Rockets are led on the back-end by Damon Severson who has 16 points through 22 games.

Who’s in Goal:

Adam Brown continues to roll against the Prince George Cougars. The Rockets 20-year-old netminder played in both games this past weekend with the Cougars and scored both victories. He looked vulnerable on a few occasions, but largely stayed calm and collected. If Brown does not get the go tonight, it will likely be his backup Jordon Cooke who is 1-1-2-1 this season with a 3.27 Goals Against Average and a saver percentage of .904.


The Kelowna Rockets X-Factor will once again be their power play, which struck in both games this past weekend against Prince George. Overall the Rockets power play ranks 13th in the WHL but it came through when it needed to this past weekend. Shane McColgan and Brett Bulmer are the two key puck movers in the man-advantage, and the Cougars will need to minimize their opportunities.


After starting the month of November with a 2-2-0-1 record, the Cougars have slipped some. They’ve dropped five games in a row, and are still four points back of the Seattle Thunderbirds for eighth place in the Western Conference standings.

Who’s Up Front:

Charles Inglis continues to put up points for the Prince George Cougars. The 19-year-old forward is on a three-game point-streak having scored two goals and two assists in that span. His linemates Greg Fraser and Caleb Belter also seem to be benefiting from Inglis’ strong play. The Cougars will need the Inglis line, and the trio of Alex Forsberg, Spencer Asuchak and Troy Bourke to be at their best tonight if they’re going to snap the skid in Kelowna.

Who’s on D:

20-year-old defenceman Cody Carlson continues to contribute offensively to the Cougars attack. Carlson earned an assist last night against Kootenay and is now second overall in team scoring with 14 points in 24 games. Carlson moves the puck really well and has been a dependable shot-blocker and defensive catalyst for Dean Clark this season.

Who’s in Goal:

A difficult decision for Dean Clark tonight due to the fact that Drew Owsley was terrific last night against Kootenay. Owsley stopped 39 of the 42 shots he faced, many of which were highlight-reel saves. Does Dean Clark go back with Owsley who has started the last three games? Or does Devon Fordyce get the call against Kelowna?


When the Cougars power play scores goals, the Cougars win games. In five of their six victories this season, the Cougars have received at least one power play goal. The power play has looked good in recent games, but it just hasn’t been properly rewarded. Last night it was a short-handed goal by Kootenay which ultimately turned the tide of the game in Kootenay’s favor. If the Cougars can click on the power play tonight, they’ll put themselves in a strong position to snap this streak and head to Seattle with a ‘W.’

Kootenay 3 - Prince George 2

Tuesday night at home the Prince George Cougars fell 3-2 to the Kootenay Ice. Max Reinhart scored short-handed early in the third to give Kootenay the 3-2 lead. Cougars netminder Drew Owsley was brilliant making 39 saves on 42 shots faced in defeat.

From the drop of the puck, Owsley was in the zone. He made two great stops off of Elgin Pearce early, and from there the Cougars were able to settle down a bit.

Kootenay did score first in the later stages of the first when Joey Leach put a point-shot on net. It hit something in front of Owsley and deflected in to give the Ice a 1-0 lead.

The Ice led 1-0 after one, and outshot Prince George 14-6 after 20 minutes.

The Cougars came to life offensively in the second period thanks to some strong skating from Jake Mykitiuk. Mykitiuk weaved through two defenders and then passed to the right wing. Michael Mylchreest’s shot was stopped, but Campbell Elynuik batted a loose puck out of the air and into the net for his third of the season.

Mid-way through the second the Cougars would strike again. This time it was Charles Inglis who received a pass from Jordan Tkatch, and he dragged the puck by the defender and then beat Mackenzie Skapski to give the Cats a 2-1 lead.

Kootenay would tie the score late in the period when Sam Reinhart received a pass from behind the net courtesy of Joe Antilla. Reinhart fired a quick shot that beat Owsley under his glove, and the Cougars and Ice skated into the locker-room tied 2-2 after 40 minutes.

Cougars netminder Drew Owsley was especially sharp in the second period. He made a flurry of big-time saves. Elgin Pearce, Luke Paulsen and Adam Rossignol were all denied point-blank by Owsley who continued to impress.

Early in the third period the Cougars were given a power play, but it was the Ice who took advantage. Max Reinhart was able to slide past the defense, and out-waited Drew Owsley just enough to slide a puck by him to give Kootenay a 3-2 lead.

From there, the Kootenay Ice did a fine job of slowing the play down, and really minimized the Cougars chances. Drew Owsley made some key saves down the stretch, but the Cougars were unable to beat Skapski again, and the game ended with a 3-2 score.

Kootenay outshot the Cougars 42-20. The Cats finished zero-for-three on the man advantage while Kootenay went zero-for-two.

The Cougars don’t have a long time to dwell in this defeat as they’re back in action Wednesday night in Kelowna against the Rockets

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cougars - Ice Preview.

Tonight the defending WHL champs are in town for their lone meeting of the regular season with the Prince George Cougars. The Cougars and Kootenay Ice will square off tonight at 7:00 from CN Centre.



The Kootenay Ice have continued right where they left off last season. So far the Ice have posted a record of 15-5-1-2. They hold a two-point lead for first place in the Central Division and are 7-2-1-0 in their last 10 games.

Who’s Up Front:

Offensively the Kootenay Ice are led by Calgary draft-pick Max Reinhart. Reinhart leads Kootenay with 10 goals and 25 points so far. Two of Reinhart’s goals have come on the power play and two have been scored short-handed. He’s dangerous everytime he’s on the ice, and the Cougars will need to do their best to keep him in check.

Who’s on D:

19-year-old defenceman Joey Leach is the offensive leader from the back-end for Kootenay. Leach has notched 16 points so far this season and is a +15 on top of that. Leach brings a 6’4”, 200 pound frame to the table and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him log the most minutes out of all of the Kootenay blueliners.

Who’s in Goal:

The Kootenay Ice boast one of the top goaltenders in the Western Hockey League in 20-year-old Nathan Lieuwen. The Buffalo Sabres draft-pick stands 6’5 and has numbers that mostly every other netminder in the league would envy. He has a save percentage of .936, and a goals against average of 1.82. Should Lieuwen get a rare night off, the Cougars may get to see Mackenzie Skapski, a 17-year-old from Abbotsford who is certainly more than capable of playing and winning for Kootenay. He is 4-1 with a 2.60 goals against average and a save percentage of .898.


Centerman Elgin Peace has put together a solid start for the Ice offensively. Heading into tonight, Pearce has tallied nine go0als and nine assists and sits third overall in team scoring. Pearce has also added three goals on the power play which is good enough for the team lead. The Ice have a very balanced attack, and Pearce is just one of many Kootenay forwards that can burn you if you let him.



After a solid start to the month of November, the Prince George Cougars are 0-3-0-1 in their last four games. Heading into this week the Cougars trail the eighth place Seattle Thunderbirds by four points in the Western Conference. The Cougars dropped two in a row this weekend to Kelowna.

Who’s Up Front:

18-year-old forward Caleb Belter seems to be skating with a lot more confidence as of late. Belter had a goal and an assist this weekend, and seems to be thriving on a line with Charles Inglis and Greg Fraser. Belter has more offensively skill than he’s given credit for, and if he can start to produce consistently on offense, it will serve as a great bonus for the Cougars who are still having trouble scoring more than two or three goals per game.

Who’s on D:

Even though he didn’t score any goals or put up any helpers, Martin Marincin was a man among boys through spurts of Saturday’s game with Kelowna. Marincin proved once again that when he wants to, he can be the most effective and lethal player on the ice. He’s fast, strong, smart and skilled, and has the ability to take a game over. If Marincin puts forth a similar performance tonight against Kootenay, the Cougars will have a great chance to win.

Who’s in Goal:

With four games in the next five nights it’s likely that we’ll see both Drew Owsley and Devon Fordyce get some playing time. Still no official word on who gets the call tonight, but I would bank on Drew Owsley getting the call against the defending WHL Champs. Time will tell of course.


Discipline is of the utmost importance when playing any team in this league, but especially a team like Kootenay that has a lot of depth and a lot of confidence. While it may not have cost the Cougars Saturday, a lack of discipline was still a definite factor in the Cougars loss to Kelowna on Saturday. If the Cougars can regain some confidence on the power play and hold Kootenay to as few power play chances as possible, the Cougars will have a great chance to defeat the Kootenay Ice.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Rockets 4 - Cougars 2

Saturday night in Prince George, the Cougars let a 2-0 lead slip away, and fell 4-2 to the Kelowna Rockets. An early third period power play goal from Tyson Ballie proved to be the difference.

The Cougars started very strongly. They out-hit, out-skated, and out-muscled the Rockets through the first 20 minutes. Spencer Asuchak opened the scoring at 5:54 of the first when he tucked home a Troy Bourke rebound for his seventh of the season.

The Cougars doubled their lead when Caleb Belter raced down the right wing and tucked one underneath Adam Brown for his second of the season.

After the 2-0 goal, Kelowna got their legs back. They carried the play in the late stages of the first period and were rewarded when Mitch Chapman’s point-shot found it’s way past Drew Owsley to make it 2-1. For Chapman it was his second of the season for the Rockets.

Late in the first, the Cougars were given a power play and came eerily close to making it 3-1, but Cody Carlson was unable to take advantage on a nice feed from Alex Forsberg.

The Cougars and Rockets went back-and-forth in the second period with each team getting a few chances. The Rockets’ netminder Adam Brown stood tall and made some clutch saves, and even got some help from defenceman Kevin Smith who took a sure goal away from Charles Inglis mid-way through the frame.

The Rockets tied the score at 11:11 of the second on a wrist-shot from Zach Franko that hand-cuffed Drew Owsley. Owsley made the save with his glove, but the puck hopped over his head, and wound up in the net for Franko’s fifth of the season.

Early in the third Kelowna took advantage on the power play. Tyson Ballie tried to center the puck through the slot, but instead it redirected back towards him off of Martin Marincin, and Ballie slid it into the open net to give Kelowna 3-2 lead. A tough break for the Cougars considering the magnitude of the hooking penalty that was called on Reid Jackson.

Jackson was removed from the game after he argued the call to no avail.

The Rockets sealed the game when Tyrell Goulbourne converted on a Shane McColgan pass from behind the net to make it 4-2.

The Cougars did outshot Kelowna 31-26, but finished the game zero-for-five on the power play while Kelowna went one-for-seven.

The Cougars will look to get back on track Tuesday night when they welcome the defending champs from Kootenay to town.

Cougars - Rockets Preview (Part Two)

Tonight the Prince George Cougars and Kelowna Rockets meet for a third time this season. So far Kelowna has managed to beat the Cougars twice, both games were decided by only one goal.


The Kelowna Rockets have earned points in three consecutive games, and head into tonight’s affair with a three-point lead on the Prince George Cougars in the B.C. Division. The Rockets are 7-11-2-1 on the season.

Who’s Up Front:

18-year-old forward Shane McColgan has managed 21 points through 20 games this season for Ryan Huska’s hockey club. McColgan is not the biggest guy on the ice, but he plays the game with a lot of intelligence in the offensive zone. He’s patient and crafty, and managed one assist in last night’s 3-2 victory for the Rockets.

Who’s on D:

16-year-old defenceman Madison Bowie was credited with the game-winning goal in last night’s game. He scored late in the first period on a power play. His shot was hard, low, and accurate for the Kelowna Rockets. So far this season Bowie has managed four goals through 12 games this season.

Who’s in Goal:

Adam Brown has been named first start in both games this season featuring the Rockets and the Cougars. Brown made some important saves for Kelowna, especially in the first period of last night’s game. He’s confident with the puck and controlled his rebounds very well in last night’s game. Should Brown get the night off tonight, Jordan Cooke would be pressed into duty.


Arguably the most dangerous Rockets forward last night was Prince George product Brett Bulmer. Bulmer had an assist and has now recorded nine points in six games since returning to the Western Hockey League. Overall I thought the Cougars did a good job against the trio of Bulmer, Scissons and Vasko and they’ll need to do so again tonight if they want to climb closer to the Rockets in the standings.


The Prince George Cougars are winless in their last three, and they head into tonight’s game trailing Seattle by two points, and Kelowna by three in the Western Conference standings. The Cougars have typically struggled in the Friday game of their double-headers this season, but have won their last two home games played on Saturdays.

Who’s Up Front;

Cougars Head Coach Dean Clark said that Charles Inglis played his best game of the season for Prince George last night against Kelowna, and that’s certainly a fair statement. Inglis had a goal, an assist and was terrific in the face-off dot. Inglis brings so many positives to the Prince George Cougars lineup, and hopefully he’s got more offense up his sleeve tonight when the Cats and Rockets get going.

Who’s on D:

Consistency is a word that gets thrown around an awful lot in hockey, but Cougars defenceman Dan Gibb has provided exactly that for Dean Clark’s team this season. Gibb has only managed three assists, but the things that he does away from the puck are so impressive. He continues to get better, and continues to earn the praise of his teammates and his coaching staff. Dan Gibb and Cody Carlson will likely see a ton of ice-time against the Bulmer, Scissons and Vasko trio again tonight.

Who’s in Goal:

After a tough first period, Drew Owsley was perfect the rest of the way in last night’s game. The first goal was definitely on that he’d like to have back, and I’m sure that if given the go-ahead tonight, Drew Owsley will be ready. Dean Clark may decide to go back with Devon Fordyce though who has earned points in each of his last two starts.


The Prince George Cougars power play went zero-for-six in last night’s game. If the Cougars are able to strike even once, then the end result might be different. The Cougars certainly had their chances on the man-advantage, but credit the Kelowna Rockets for winning a lot of puck-battles in their zone. If the Cougars can get their power play back on track tonight, they’ll have every chance in the world to grab two points.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Rockets 3 - Cougars 2

Friday night in Prince George, the Cougars comeback effort fell one-goal short as the Kelowna Rockets were able to hold on to a 3-2 victory. The Rockets scored all three of their goals in the first period and killed off all six of their penalties.

The Rockets opened the scoring in the first period at 4:27. Carter Rigby pounced on a Shane McColgan rebound and slid it by Drew Owsley to give the Rockets the lead.

It wouldn’t last long as Charles Inglis received a terrific pass from Cody Carlson in the high slot, and he beat Adam Brown for his fifth of the season at 10:11 of the opening frame.

Kelowna regained their lead shortly after that goal when the Cougars got caught pinching at the wrong time. Rockets winger Brett Bulmer skated in on a two-on-none with Cody Chickie, and Bulmer slid a pass across the crease for a tap-in.

The Rockets would add to their lead late in the frame with Madison Bowie one-timed a point-shot through a maze of bodies, and it found it’s way into the net for a 3-1 Kelowna lead.

There was no scoring in the second period, but early in the third the Cougars pounced. Charles Inglis made a terrific play along the right wing, and slid the puck across the ice to Greg Fraser who tapped in his sixth of the season to make it 3-2.

The Cougars were then given four third period power plays and very nearly converted. But Troy Bourke hit the cross-bar and the Rockets were able to escape with two points. Adam Brown stopped 20 of the 22 shots that he faced in goal for the Rockets while Drew Owsley turned aside 21 of 24, and was perfect after the first period.

The Cougars finished zero-for-six on the power play while the Rockets finished one-for-four. The win helps Kelowna improve to 7-11-2-1 while the Cougars fall to 6-14-0-2. The Rockets now hold a three-point edge on the Prince George Cougars for fourth place in the B.C. Division.

The Cougars and Rockets will duke it out again tomorrow night from CN Centre.
Tonight the Prince George Cougars welcome the Kelowna Rockets for the first time in 2011-2012. Last season the Cougars were 3-5-1-0- against the Rockets and so far this season are 0-1 having dropped a 2-1 decision to them back on October 26th. It’s an important weekend for both teams as there is only one point separating these two BC Division Rivals in the standings.


Ryan Huska’s Kelowna Rockets head into tonight’s game having earned points in each of their last two games. Overall the Rockets sit with a record of 6-11-2-1 and have recorded 15 points through 20 games this season.

Who’s Up Front:

Since returning from the Minnesota Wild, Prince George’s Brett Bulmer has not disappointed. Through five games, Bulmer has tallied eight points and has added instant offense and character to the Rockets. Bulmer’s skills were recently on display for Team WHL as they played against Russia at the Canada-Russia Super Series. He was joined my teammates Zack Franko and Colton Scissons.

Who’s on D:

17-year-old defenceman Damon Severson is enjoying a terrific second season with the Kelowna Rockets. Severson is tied for second in team in scoring with 16 points. Impressive when you consider that Severson had only 17 points last season.

Who’s in Goal:

Adam Brown is the 20-year-old puck-stopper for the Kelowna Rockets and his name alone carries a ton of weight and respect in the league. That being said, Brown has had his ups and downs in 2011-2012. His record is 5-10 and his save percentage is .883 and his Goals Against is sitting at 3.87.


The Kelowna Rockets leading scorer is 18-year-old California product Shane McColgan. McColgan is a very quick and crafty player for Kelowna. He’s tied for second in goal-scoring for the Rockets with seven, and I would expect to see a lot of McColgan in key situations.


So far the month of November has relatively friendly for the Prince George Cougars. They have earned points in three of their past four games, and right now trail the Kelowna Rockets by only one point in the B.C. Division Standings. The Cougars carry a record of 6-13-0-2 into this weekend. Two points for the Cougars tonight would help leap-frog them over the Kelowna Rockets in the standings.

Who’s Up Front;

Right now Spencer Asuchak is enjoying one of the finest offensive stretches in his career. The 20-year-old has tallied four goals in his last three games, and has really benefited from playing alongside Troy Bourke and Alex Forsberg. Asuchak has simply used his size to his advantage. Most of his goals have come from simply out-working the opposition in front of the net.

Who’s on D:

20-year-old Cody Carlson continues provide the Prince George Cougars with strong consistency at both ends of the ice. Carlson has not been the least bit shy about blocking shots, and getting his nose dirty with the opposition. Add the fact that Carlson has contributed 11 points to the Cougars attack this season, and it’s easy to see why Carlson has been one of the more valuable contributors to the Cougars this season.

Who’s in Goal:

With Devon Fordyce having played Sunday in Vancouver the door is open for Drew Owsley to get one or both starts this weekend, at home against the Rockets. Owsley was sharp in a 3-2 loss to the Everett Silvertips back on November 12th. He stopped a Jesse Mychan penalty-shot, and was the victim of a couple of bad bounces in front of him which led to other opportunities. No definitive word yet on who gets the call in goal though.


Forward Charles Inglis is eligible to return to the lineup after serving a one-game suspension stemming from a charging-major assessed during Saturday’s loss in Everett. When he’s on his game, Inglis can be very dangerous and a true game-breaker. I look for Inglis to put forth a strong outing in front of the CN Centre faithful tonight.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cougars Launch Holiday Campaign.

The Prince George Cougars have teamed up with the Salvation Army and other local organizations to make it easy for fans to give this holiday season. The Annual Cougars Christmas Campaign kicks off with the Wood Wheaton “Stuff the Truck” Toy Drive Saturday, November 19 as the Cats host the Kelowna Rockets. Fans are encouraged to bring an unwrapped new toy or gift for children ages 0-17. The goal is to collect enough toys to fill the back of a Diamond White GMC SLT loaded pickup which will be displayed on the concourse that evening.

At each game between November 19 and December 17 fans are encouraged to bring items to the game to support various local organizations including Aboriginal Choice School, Canadian Mental Health Association and the Salvation Army.

“We encourage our fans to bring items to the game to help families in need over the holiday season,” said Cougars Vice President Brandi Brodsky. “We are so fortunate in so many ways and I believe that it’s important we try to share what we can to brighten the holiday for others.”

Christmas Campaign dates are listed below.

Cougars Community Christmas Campaign:

Saturday, November 19 vs Kelowna- Wood Wheaton “Stuff the Truck” Toy Drive; bring a new unwrapped toy or gift for kids from 0-17 years old and the Salvation Army will distribute the presents to children and families this holiday season.

Tuesday, November 22nd vs Kootenay-Active Support Against Poverty Sock; bring warm winter socks, scarves and toiletries and Active Support Against Poverty will distribute the donations to their clients.

Also on Tuesday, November 22nd vs Kootenay- Movember Shave-Off; since November 1, Cougars players and coaches have been growing their moustaches with the goal of raising funds and awareness for men’s health issues. Following the game on November 22, the players with the top two moustaches will have their moustaches shaved off during 99.3 the Drive’s post-game show, courtesy of Westend Barbers. Cash donation boxes will be set up at the game with all proceeds to support Movember Canada.

Tuesday, December 6th vs Portland- Gift of Hope Night; the Canadian Mental Health Association will be collecting new hats, mittens and gloves for their clients. They are in need of items for men, but welcome women’s items as well.

Wednesday, December 7th vs Portland- Coats for Kids; bring a gently used child’s coat or jacket and you will receive a coupon good for one free small popcorn courtesy of Eurest. Representatives from the Aboriginal Choice School will collect the coats for their students.

Friday, December 16th vs Vancouver-Yellowhead Rotary Food Drive; the Yellowhead Rotary Club of Prince George is gathering food for the Prince George Food Bank at the December 16th game vs Vancouver. Please bring non-perishable food items to support families in our community.

Saturday, December 17th vs Vancovuer – Teddy Bear Toque Toss; when the Cats’ score their first goal against the Vancouver Giants Cougars fans can toss their stuffed animals and toques on the ice. The bears and toques will benefit the RCMP Victim Services Unit, the Salvation Army and other organizations in need over the holiday season. A limited supply of new stuffed animals will be available for purchase by donation at the December 17th game. Funds raise will support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Prince George.

All donations will be collected in Section X.

The Cougars Christmas Campaign is proudly supported by our media sponsors - 101.3 The River, 99.3 The Drive and CKPG-TV.

Top 25 WHL Skaters (And Top Goalies)

No members of the Prince George Cougars have cracked the top 25 WHL plays in the Preliminary - North American rankings, though I bet Troy Bourke begs to differ.

Here are the WHL rankings according to NHL.Com

1. Ryan Murray Everett D
2. Morgan Rielly Moose Jaw D
3. Mathew Dumba Red Deer D
4. Derrick Pouliot Portland D
5. Griffin Reinhart Edmonton D
6. Colton Sissons Kelowna C
7. Chandler Stephenson Regina C
8. Coda Gordon Swift Current LW
9. Mike Winther Prince Albert C
10. Nicholas Walters Everett D
11. Brandon Troock Seattle RW
12. Brett Kulak Vancouver D
13. Damon Severson Kelowna D
14. Dalton Thrower Saskatoon D
15. Dominik Volek Regina RW
16. Michal Plutnar Tri-City D
17. Tyrel Seaman Brandon LW
18. Lukas Sutter Saskatoon C
19. Brendan Leipsic Portland LW
20. Shayne Gwinner Moose Jaw D
21. Ryan Olsen Saskatoon C
22. Travis Brown Moose Jaw D
23. Timothe Bozon Kamloops C/LW/RW
24. Steven Hodges Victoria C
25. Alessio Bertaggia Brandon LW


1. Andrey Makarov Saskatoon G
2. Chris Driedger Calgary G
3. Patrik Bartosak Red Deer G
4. Mackenzie Skapski Kootenay G
5. Corbin Boes Brandon G
6. Cole Holowenko Prince Albert G

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cougars Sending Four to the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

The Prince George Cougars are pleased to announce that four of their forwards (all 2010 WHL Bantam Draft Picks of the Cougars) will play in the upcoming World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Windsor, Ontario from December 29th, 2011 through January 4th, 2012.

Alex Forsberg (Waldheim, SK), Jordan Tkatch (Prud’Homme, SK) and Jarrett Fontaine (Humboldt, SK) will be suiting up for Team West while Chase Witala (Prince George, B.C.) will play for Team Pacific.

“We’re very excited, as we have been for a long time regarding this group,” said Prince George Cougars Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel Wade Klippenstein. “We felt we had a strong draft two years ago when we left the draft table, and now it’s come to be with six guys making our team as 16-year-olds, and four of them today being acknowledged as some of the top players in the country.”

Alex Forsberg (5’10”, 170 pounds) was selected by the Prince George Cougars first overall in the 2010 Bantam Draft and has not disappointed in his first full WHL campaign. Forsberg currently leads the Cougars in scoring with four goals, and 11 assists through 21 games.

“He’s our leading scorer as a 16-year-old, which says a lot in itself,” said Klippenstein. “Now he’s going to get a chance to take his game, and the type of player he is onto an international scene and I think everyone will be very impressed.”

Jordan Tkatch (5’11”, 197 pounds) has done a fine job of supplying the Cougars with clutch offense during his rookie campaign. Tkatch is second on the Cougars in goals scored with five, and at one point in October scored goals in four consecutive games. Tkatch also leads the Cougars in plus-minus with a +7. Tkatch was a second-round pick (31st overall) of the Prince George Cougars in the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft.

“He’s a competitor. Whether it’s at home or on the road,” said Klippenstein. “He’s only going to get better. I think he’s going to be a very reliable player for us both offensively and defensively.”

Jarrett Fontaine (5’5”, 150 pounds) has opened a lot of eyes through his first 19 games. He’s tallied three goals and one assist, and is +5 on the season. Fontaine has been frequently used as a penalty-killer, and has seen big minutes late in games. Fontaine was a third-round draft-pick (52nd overall) of the Prince George Cougars in 2010.

“Anybody who’s ever watched him, or coached him right away appreciates his work ethic,” said Klippenstein. “He’s a guy that will give you everything he has, and it’s infectious.”

Chase Witala (5’11”, 153 pounds) continues to make great strides early in his WHL career. Witala scored his first WHL goal on Sunday, November 13th in Vancouver, and has added four assists through 16 games this season. Witala was selected in the fifth round (89th overall) of the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft.

“Chase is a very gifted offensive player,” said Klippenstein. “He’s a guy that’s going to make a lot of guys around him better.”

Klippenstein added, “This entire 95 group is going to be very special. And these four guys representing our team provide a great glimpse into our future and what’s coming for us.”

Monday, November 14, 2011

Vancouver 4 - Prince George 3 (Shootout)

Sunday in Vancouver the Prince George Cougars earned one point in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks. James Henry scored the lone goal in the shootout to give Vancouver the victory.

The Giants lead 1-0 after one period. Marek Tvrdon roofed a back-hander over the glove of Devon Fordyce to give his team the lead.

Credit the Cougars though for staying strong. They had some good scoring chances and played a solid 20 minutes.

The Cougars patience was rewarded in the second when Jordan Tkatch stole the puck from the Giants defender while short-handed. He raced in alone on Adam Morrison and roofed it over his right shoulder to make it 1-1.

Early in the third period the Prince George Cougars took the lead when Spencer Asuchak converted on the power play for his sxith of the year. For Asuchak it was his fourth goal in three games.

Just over a minute later the Cougars extended their lead when Chase Witala sent a wrist-shot towards the goal. His shot hand-cuffed Adam Morrison and ended up in the back of the net. For Chase Witala it was his first WHL goal and the Cougars led 3-1.

The Giants inched their way back when James Henry converted on a Giant’s power play opportunity.

The Giants tied the game with less than two minutes remaining and the net empty. Brendan Gallagher pounced on a loose puck and beat a sprawling Devon Fordyce to make it 3-3.

Overtime solved nothing.

Devon Fordyce shut the door on Brendan Gallagher in the shootout, but Troy Bourke was unable to score in response for Prince George. James Henry then buried for Vancouver to give them the shootout lead. Even though Marek Tvrdon was stopped by Fordyce, neither Martin Marincin or Jordan Tkatch were able to capitalize, and the Giants escaped with the extra point.

The Cougars ended the night one-for-four on the power play while Vancouver went one-for-three. The Cougars were outshot 32-29.

The one point does help the Cougars statistically. They now leap-frog the Everett Silvertips, and are now tied with the Seattle Thunderbirds with 14 points. The Cougars are only one point back of the Kelowna Rockets for eighth place in the Western Conference. The Cougars host the Rockets Friday at CN Centre.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Prince George Cougars wrap up their three-game road trip tonight at Pacific Coliseum against the Vancouver Giants. The Cougars are coming off a 3-2 setback courtesy of the Everett Silvertips.


The Vancouver Giants are coming off a 3-2 overtime victory over the Kelowna Rockets. The Giants record currently sits at 12-8-0-1 and they are ranked second in the B.C. Division. The Giants have won three straight, and are 8-2 in their last 10 games.

Who’s Up Front:

Offensively the Vancouver Giants are led by 19-year-old forward Brendan Gallagher. Gallagher has 29 points in 17 games, and is averaging a goal per game this season with 17. Gallagher is especially dangerous on the power play, and is a great puck handler as well.

Who’s on D:

Offensively the Giants defense core is led by Edmonton Oiler’s prospect David Musil. The 18-year-old blueliner has 11 points in 21 games and is a +8 on the season. Musil has proven to be steady and reliable at both ends of the ice this season.

Who’s in Goal:

Adam Morrison got the call last night for the Giants in their 3-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. Morrison has a record of 11-4-0-1 and has beaten the Cougars twice this season. Morrison’s backup is 16-year-old Jackson Whistle who is still searching for his first WHL victory. Whistle’s last appearance came back on October 29th against the Prince George Cougars.


The Vancouver Giants continue to get solid production from rookie forward Marek Tvrdon. Tvrdon had the OT winner last night for the Giants and has tallied 23 points in 20 games this season. Tvrdon is also very dangerous on the power play. His slap shot is widely used, and the Cougars will need do their best to stay disciplined and minimize the Giants chances on the man-advantage.

Who’s Up Front:

The Prince George Cougars got another goal last night from Spencer Asuchak who has now tallied three times in the last two games. The 20-year-old is starting to play with a lot more confidence, and it certainly helps when he’s got two great linemates in Alex Forsberg and Troy Bourke. If the Cougars want to find success tonight in Vancouver, these three will need to be key contributors again.

Who’s on D:

Through 15 games, Martin Marincin has shown that he’s a real game-breaker when he wants to be. Although guilty of sometimes trying to do a little ‘too much’, Marincin provides the Cougars with instant offense on the back-end. If Marincin is able to use his many strengths to his advantage tonight, the Cougars will be right there with Vancouver.

Who’s In Goal:

After two starts in a row this weekend, it looks like Drew Owsley will get the night off for the Cougars, and Devon Fordyce will get his third career start. Fordyce was excellent on Saturday, November 5th against Kamloops and he showed that he can rise up, and beat good teams. The Cougars defense will need to help Fordyce, and clear the traffic in front of him. If Fordyce can keep it simple and focused, theres absolutely no reason why he won’t be able to defeat Vancouver tonight.


A common x-factor this season for the Cougars has been discipline. When they stay disciplined they are successful. The Cougars have a record of 1-7 when surrendering a power play goal against, and the ultimate key to beating Vancouver will be staying disciplined and opportunistic on their opportunities. The Cougars power play has scored in three straight games, and if they can win the special-teams battle tonight, they’ll have a great chance at earning their seventh victory of the season.

Cougar Split in Everett.

Saturday night in Everett, the Prince George Cougars fell 3-2 to the Everett Silvertips. Ryan Harrison scored two power play goals in the second period and Austin Lotz made some key saves in the third to help lead Everett to victory.

It was a scoreless game after one period of play, but the first period was extremely eventful. First off the Cougars lost Brock Hirsche when he was on the wrong-end of a collision behind the Cougars goal.

Mid-way through the period Everett forward Jesse Mychan was hauled down on a breakaway and received a penalty-shot. He tried to go five-hole on Drew Owsley, but the Prince George netminder stood his ground and made the save.

Late in the first period the Cougars lost another key forward. This time it was Charles inglis who was kicked out of the game for a charging major penalty. The Silvertips received a five-minute power play and made the most of it early in the second.

Ryan Harrison scored back-to-back goals on the same power play to give Everett a 2-0 lead in the second. The Cougars responded with their own power play marker not long after. Spencer Asuchak one-timed home an Alex Forsberg pass to make it 2-1. For Asuchak it was his third goal in two games.

The Silvertips grabbed their two-goal lead back when Cody Fowlie’s pass deflected off a Cougar and in past Drew Owsley. It was 3-1 after 40 minutes.

After killing off an early power play in the third, the Cougars responded offensively. Greg Fraser took an initial shot that was blocked, but he grabbed his own rebound and flipped it past Austin Lotz to help make it 3-2.

The Cougars then continued to pepper Lotz with shots. Josh Smith, Jake Mykitiuk and Martin Marincin were all denied by the 16-year-old, and the Silvertips were able to hang on for the win.

The Cougars finished the game one-for-six on the power play while Everett went two-for-two. The Silvertips outshot the Cougars 25-23.

The Cougars will wrap up their three-game road swing Sunday night in Vancouver. It will mark the fourth meeting of the season between the Prince George Cougars and the Vancouver Giants.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Observations From Everett.

Last night was the first time for me calling a hockey game in the United States. I was warned that the atmosphere in Everett was very rowdy, and the Everett faithful did not disappoint. I was definitely impressed with the energy last night, and I expect the same tonight. I realize that Washington Stats is not necessarily the first state you think of it comes to hockey prominence, but I like the fact that the Everett Silvertips are drawing well.

It was an emotional night no doubt for Campbell Elynuik who got to face his former Everett teammates for the first time since a summer trade sent him to Regina (and then eventually to Prince George). Elynuik continues to do a lot of little things that have impressed me and hopefully the coaching staff as well. I admire the fact that he's willing to fight anybody that comes knocking. The Cougars definitely lacked that type of toughness earlier in the season, and I think Elynuik has been a solid addition. Kudos to Dallas Thompson for making the deal. It only cost the Cougars a conditional sixth round pick.

Speaking of new additions, I also want to acknowledge defenceman Reid Jackson. Jackson has made a great early impression in Prince George with his teammates and no doubt the fans as well. He keeps it simple and plays a smart, dependable game. Right now with everybody healthy, the Prince George Cougars defense-core is arguably one of the top units in the BC Division.

Once again the game plan is simple for the Cats tonight: Stay disciplined, and play to your strengths. The Cougars have outshot their opposition 11 times this season, and seem to be quietly gaining some confidence. They've won three of their last four games, and are definitely making some positive strides in all areas. Can they keep it going tonight? Time will tell.
After posting a 4-1 victory last night in Everett, the Prince George Cougars will aim for their third victory in a row when they duke it out once again with the Everett Silvertips.


The Silvertips have now lost six straight and are ranked fifth in the US Division. Their record is 4-14-0-3.

Who’s Up Front:

Right-winger Josh Birkholz did his part last night to try and spark the Silvertips offense. Birkholz had an assist on Austin Adam’s goal, and was easily the most consistent offensive threat for the Silvertips. He’s got speed, and smarts and needs to be contained again tonight if the Cougars want to be successful.

Who’s on D:

16-year-old defenceman Austin Adam was fun to watch for the Silvertips. The tall blue-liner notched his first ever WHL goal, and also contributed key minutes for Mark Ferner’s club. Adam does not look the least bit out of place at this level, and should be a player to keep an eye on again tonight.

Who’s in Goal:

19-year-old Kent Simpson was solid for the Silvertips in defeat last night. He stopped 27 of 30 shots that he faced, and did his best to keep his team in the game. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Simpson get another crack tonight, but also Austin Lotz will be ready to go if called upon.


19-year-old forward Cody Fowlie was very noticeable for Everett in last night’s game. Fowlie assisted in the Adam goal and had his moments offensively. Keeping Fowlie in check will be key for the Cougars if they want to grab their third win in a row.


Dean Clark’s Prince George Cougars are 2-1 in the month of November and are looking for their third victory in a row. The Cougars outshot Everett 31-19 and were able to control the tempo of the game for the most part last night.

Who’s Up Front:

A breakout game was exactly what 20-year-old Spencer Asuchak needed. Asuchak scored twice and was a solid contributor for the Cougars in last night’s victory. Asuchak and his linemates Troy Bourke and Alex Forsberg continue to gel and they could be due for another big night tonight.

Who’s on D:

Martin Marincin played a great game for the Cougars in last night’s victory. He scored once, and added an assist, and perhaps even more importantly he was responsible and effective defensively. Marincin is a game-changer, and last night he showed exactly why the Edmonton Oilers are so high on him.

Who’s in Goal:

Drew Owsley stopped 18 of the 19 shots he faced and was steady and reliable in victory. Owsley made sure that when his team took the lead, that they kept it, and that’s all you can really ask for. Owsley’s play likely earns him another start tonight, but Dean Clark could easily go with Devon Fordyce too.


The Prince George Cougars will need all hands on deck again tonight if they want to grab another victory. Tonight I look for the trio of Charles Inglis, Greg Fraser and Caleb Belter to chime in offensively. Inglis has gone two games without a point, and for a player of his skill-level that’s unusual. A big night from Inglis likely means two more points and a ‘W’ for the Cougars tonight in Everett.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cougars Top the Silvertips 4-1.

The Prince George Cougars are winners of two straight. Friday night in Everett the Cats got two goals from Spencer Asuchak, and a solid outing from Drew Owsley in a 4-1 win over the Everett Silvertips.

The Cougars had a 2-0 lead after the first period but it was anything but easy. Early in the game the Cougars managed to kill off a full two-minute five-on-three advantage, and were rewarded for their efforts when Troy Bourke found Spencer Asuchak in the high slot. Asuchak made no mistake for his third goal of the season. Later in the period, Cody Carlson redirected a Martin Marincin point shot to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead. Carlson’s marker came on the power play.

The Cougars increased their lead early in the second period when Martin Marincin lifted a point-shot over the shoulder of Kent Simpson.. Marincin’s second of the season had the Cougars up 3-0 after 40 minutes of play.

Early in the third the Evrett Silvertips found some life. Austin Adam notched the first goal of his WHL career at 6:39 to put Everett within two. The Tips continued to press and Drew Owsley made a series of difficult saves to keep the Cougars up by two. Owsley finished with 18 saves on 19 shots faced.

Towards the end, the Cougars managed to settle things down. Spencer Asuchak added an empty-netter to give the Cougars the 4-1 victory, and their sixth victory of the 2011-2012 campaign.

The Cougars outshot Everett 31-19 and finished one-for-three on the power play. Everett finished zero-for-three on their opportunities.

The Cougars and Silvertips go at it again tomorrow night at 7::00.

Cougars - Silvertips Preview.

Firstly I'd like to take a recognize those who bravely have fought for our freedoms and those who continue to do so on a daily basis. Without our troops we may not get to enjoy some of the joys and freedoms that we quite often take for granted. Please take a few minutes today to remember those who have fought for us all.

Now that that's been said, here's the preview for tonight's game.


Tonight marks the first meeting of the 2011-2012 season between the Prince George Cougars and the Everett Silvertips. These teams are strikingly similar in a lot of ways, and there is no under-estimating the importance of points this weekend.


Mark Ferner’s Everett Silvertips have lost five straight games, and are currently fifth in the U.S. Division. The Silvertips come into tonight’s contest with a record of 4-13-0-3.

Who’s Up Front:

With forward Tyler Maxwell in limbo awaiting a trade, the offensive responsibility is now on the shoulders of 20-year-old right-winger josh Birkbholz. Last season Birkholz managed 29 points, and has already reached the 20-point-mark this season.

Who’s on D:

With defenceman Ryan Murray still battling an injury the Prince George Cougars can expect to see a lot 20-year-old Brennan Yadlowski. Yadlowski has tallied eight points this season, and has provided Mark Ferner with reliable minutes.

Who’s in Goal:

19-year-old Kent Simpson has seen a bulk of the goaltending duty so far this season for Everett. Simpson’s record is 4-10-0-2 but his numbers are strong. His goals against is 3.61 but his save percentage is at .910. The other goaltending option for Everett is 16-year-old Austin Lotz. Lotz is still searching for win number one in his WHL career, and he may get that opportunity either tonight or tomorrow for the Tips.


19-year-old Ryan Harrison is a player who has managed a very productive WHL career to this point. Harrison has 150 career points, and has nine this season with Everett. With the absence of Maxwell and Murray, a guy like Harrison will need to be a bigger factor for Everett if they want to win tonight.


Dean Clark’s team is coming off a 3-1 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. Troy Bourke and Alex Forsberg each had a goal and an assist while Devon Fordyce earned his first WHL Victory in Goal. The Cougars record is 5-12-0-1 through 18 games.

Who’s Up Front:

The trio of Troy Bourke, Alex Forsberg and Spencer Asuchak had a breakout game Saturday against Kamloops. All three got on the score-sheet, and as the game wore on, it seemed like their chemistry was building. Asuchak provides the size and muscle for the likes of Bourke and Forsberg who are gifted play-makers.

Who’s on D:

What a difference it was for the Cougars having all of their defenceman healthy and able to play on Saturday. Martin Marincin’s return to the lineup made the Cougars instantly better on the man-advantage, and I look for Marincin to be a big factor this weekend. The 19-year-old Slovak blueliner has eight points this season.

Who’s in Goal:

Given that there are three games in three nights upcoming for the Cougars I would expect to see both Drew Owsley and Devon Fordyce get some playing time. Drew Owsley is 4-10-0-1 on the season while Fordyce is 1-2.


When the Prince George Cougars are disciplined they are successful. It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s especially important for the Cougars to come out tonight and play a disciplined, smart game. They’ve had success on the road when they’ve blocked shots and stayed responsible defensively. If they do that tonight, they’ll be just fine.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Blogging From Everett.

The Prince George Cougars have safely arrived in Washington State.

We crossed the border successfully this morning at around 8:00 AM, and after a breakfast in Bellingham, we have touched down in Everett where the Cougars are currently practicing.

Given the fact that I'm only 18 games into my WHL broadcasting career, there is still plenty that I have yet to see and experience. The Comcast Arena in Everett, WA is one of them.

I've heard nothing but good things about Everett. Apparently the atmosphere and energy in this building is awesome, and as I look around here it's easy to see why.

Even though I've never seen a game from this building, I am no stranger to Everett, or Washington State as a whole. Having grown up nearby in B.C. I have forged a lot of friendships in the Northern Washington area, and I am likely going to get to see some of them during my weekend in Everett. Hopefully they'll be treated to a couple of Cougars victories against their beloved Silvertips.


Heading into this weekend the Prince George Cougars are a healthy hockey team. Barring anything unexpected, the Cougars will have 25 eligible players ready to go tomorrow night. This is why practice is so important. A healthy lineup forces everybody to pick it up a notch, and if a player gets caught dogging it in practice, chances are good that he'll be sitting in the stands for games. Coach Dean Clark has not hesitated to sit players who he feels were not playing up to their usual standard.


Even though it's only early/mid November the statistical importance of this weekend is quite clear. The Silvertips and Cougars are tied in the Western Conference standings with 11 points each, and if the Cougars can head back North with three-or-four points, it will help build their confidence, and also help get them back into the thick of things in the B.C. Division.

Right now the Kelowna Rockets are one point ahead of the Cougars in the B.C. Division standings, and you know that the Cougars would feel great about themselves should they be ahead of Kelowna when all is said and done this weekend.

In saying that, Prince George Cougars Assistant Coach Jason Becker brought up a good point yesterday during an interview. He stressed the fact that the coaching staff is not concerning themselves with 'who is where' in the standings. The primary focus of the Cougars is simply improving their record, and it doesn't matter who it's against or what the circumstances may be along the way.

If you win games, the standings take care of themselves.


A couple of observations from Cougars practice this morning:

- Both Jarrett Fontaine and Jake Mykitiuk can really shoot the puck. These two continue to prove on a daily basis that they belong at this level, and they will not be intimidated. Jake Mykitiuk finished with the most votes in my recent blog-poll for Cougars unsung hero through the first 18 games. A well deserved winner to this point of the season, in my opinion.

- Drew Owsley has made some big-time saves in practice today. I think that Drew Owsley could be poised for a big weekend. In all four of his victories this season he has been nothing short of brilliant.


I'll be posting my Friday preview either tomorrow morning or later this afternoon. Enjoy your day, and don't forget to tune in to the broadcasts this weekend.

Thanks for stopping by.

- DO

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cougars to Host Alumni Golf Tournament.

Prince George, B.C. - The Prince George Cougars in conjunction with the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation are pleased to announce the inaugural Prince George Cougars/Hospital Pro Am Golf Tournament will be taking place on Friday, August 17th at the Prince George Golf and Curling Club. The event will also include an auction, a meet and greet and a social on Thursday, August 16th.

“This event has been in the works for a long time,” said Prince George Cougars General Manager Dallas Thompson. “I want to thank Don Gowan, Ken Goss, Jason Becker and Gary Samis who have all come forward to help spear-head this event.”

Numerous Prince George Cougars alumni will be on hand to participate in the event including one of the Cougars most notable alumni defencemen, Dan Hamhuis.

“Playing in Prince George was a great experience for me,” said Hamhuis. “I look forward to the chance to come back to the community and be a part of the first annual Cougars alumni golf tournament,”

Dallas Thompson adds, “With great pleasure we welcome Nick Drazenovic, Eric Hunter, Garrett Thiessen, and a long list of others who are all excited to come back at the same time to see one another and to help give back to a community that helped them.”

“We are ecstatic to be partners with the Cougars in this alumni tournament,” said Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Don Gowan. “Not only will it bring some great players from the NHL and the Cougars past back to Prince George but it will also help us raise much needed funds to help us enhance healthcare in our community in a big way.”

“This is a great opportunity for Prince George citizens to see stars and future stars of the NHL,” said organizer Gary Samis, a long-time Prince George Cougars supporter who recently retired from Petro Canada. “At the same time it also provides a great opportunity to support our local hospital.”

Dan O’Connor
Broadcasting, Corporate Sales and Media Relations
Prince George Cougars
PH 250-561-0783
Fax 250-561-0743


Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation
1475 Edmonton Street, Prince George BC - V2M 1S2
Tel 250-565-2515
Fax 250-565-2595
E Mail spiritofthenorth@northernhealth.ca

A Memorable Weekend for Fordyce.

What a weekend for Prince George Cougars rookie goaltender Devon Fordyce. The 2009 Cougars sixth-round pick earned his first ever WHL victory, and did so against one of the league’s elite teams.

After a 5-1 loss Friday to Kamloops, Fordyce was called into action on Saturday by head-coach Dean Clark. It was up to the 17-year-old Fordyce to lead the Cougars at home against the B.C. Division leaders.

Before the game, Dean Clark said that all Fordyce had to do was keep things simple, and remain calm.

Fordyce’s confidence was tested early after Kamloops scored 3:30 into the game on their first shot. It would have been easy for Fordyce to cave under the early stress, but he bounced back and was flawless from there.

“Their first goal actually helped settle me down a bit,” said Fordyce during the post-game show Saturday. “You never want to let a goal in, but at least I was into the game.”

From there, Fordyce stopped all 26 remaining shots that he faced and the offense rose to the occasion and helped his cause.

Brock Hirsche scored at 5:38 of the first period to tie the score at one, and then Troy Bourke notched a power-play marker in the second period to give Prince George a lead that they would not surrender.

After being badly outshot through two periods, Kamloops came on big-time in the third. They fired 13 shots at Fordyce who turned them all away. He made big stops on Colin Smith, Dylan Willick and JC Lipon to keep his team ahead.

Alex Forsberg put the game away with an empty-netter, and Fordyce was able to celebrate his first WHL victory.

“It’s great for his confidence moving forward,” said Cougars General Manager Dallas Thompson. “Devon has worked hard and has been patient, and it was nice to see him rewarded.”

Drew Owsley remains the ‘go-to guy’ in goal for Prince George, but a little healthy competition is a good thing in hockey, and Fordyce’s success can only mean good things for the Prince George Cougars moving forward.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cougars Down the Blazers 3-1.

Prince George Cougars rookie goaltender Devon Fordyce earned his first career WHL victory thanks to a solid 26-save outing, and the Prince George Cougars defeated the Kamloops Blazers 3-1. Troy Bourke and Alex Forsberg each had two points in victory.

The Cougars trailed 1-0 early when JC Lipon converted on a nice back-door pass from Colin Smith. The goal from Kamloops came at 3:30 of the first period.

But the Cougars bounced back just two minutes and change later. Brock Hirsche grabbed a bouncing puck in the high slot and fired one underneath Cam Lanigan for his first of the 2011-2012 campaign. The Cougars skated into the locker room tied 1-1 after 20 minutes, but were outshooting the Blazers 15-6.

The Cougars took the lead in the second period on the power play when Alex Forsberg found a sneaking Troy Bourke in front. Bourke one-timed the pass home past Lanigan for his fifth of the season, and the Prince George Cougars took a 2-1 lead into the third period. The Cougars were outshooting Kamloops 24-16 through two periods.

The third period was a little more back-and-forth with Kamloops holding a decided edge in shots at 13-7. But Devon Fordyce stopped them all including a Kamloops five-on-three man advantage. Alex Forsberg wrapped up the game with an empty-netter and the Cougars notched their fifth win of the season.

The Cougars improve their mark to 5-12-0-1 on the season and defeated Kamloops for a second time. The Cougars finished the game one-for-six on the power play while Kamloops finished zero-for-three.

Next up for the Cougars: a southern road-swing to Everett for a Friday and Saturday weekend series, followed by a Sunday battle in Vancouver.

Cougars - Blazers (Part Two)

After a 5-1 setback last night at home, the Prince George Cougars are back at it tonight against the Kamloops Blazers. The Cougars were impressive through 35 minutes of last night’s contest but were simply unable to regroup after a late second period goal from Brendan Ranford.


The Kamloops Blazers continue to roll. They are 12-4 and currently hold the top spot in the BC Division with 22 points. They are 8-2 in their last 10 games and have scored 67 times through 16 games this season.

Who’s Up Front:

17-year-old Tim Bozon was a big-time threat for Kamloops last night. Bozon struck twice and the puck at time seemed like a magnet on his stick. Bozon had a lot of help from linemates Colin Smith and JC Lipon, but his two goals really helped pave the way for Kamloops in their victory.

Who’s on D:

Defensively the Cougars were strong one-through-six in last night’s game. One of the most impressive d-man though was 20-year-old Josh Caron. Caron only has four points this season, but is a +9 and is as tough as they come. He had a spirited fight with Campbell Elynuik, and logged some key minutes for Guy Charron when the game was close.

Who’s in Goal:

Goaltender Cole Cheveldave has now had two strong outings in a row against the Prince George Cougars. Cheveldave stopped 35 of 36 shots he faced in last night’s game, and came up big for his team in the first period when Kamloops were under siege. Guy Charron may elect to go back with Cheveldave tonight, or may decide to give Cam Lanigan the start. Lanigan has won five games this season while Chevedave has won six.


The Blazers showed last night that if they go on the power play they are lethal. They moved the puck around very quickly, and seemed to have a different look every time they were out there. The Cougars will need to minimize the Blazers’ opportunities on the power play and do their best to win the special-teams war.


The Prince George Cougars were marvelous through the first half of last night's game, but had the wind taken out of their sails after the Blazers' second goal. The Cougars are still a little snake-bitten offensively and are only averaging two goals per game through 17 games this season. Tonight could very well be the night that they break out offensively given the number of quality chances they seem to be getting on a regular basis.

Who’s Up Front:

The most consistent trio of forwards last night were Jake Mykitiuk, Caleb Belter and Campbell Elynuik. While it’s great to see those three contributing offensively, they are not necessarily the players looked upon to produce consistent offense. The Cougars will need a similar outing tonight from Mykitiuk, Belter and Elynuik, but also need the other three lines to match the intensity of the aforementioned trio. The Cougars are going to need to find a way to score more goals because winning 1-0 and 2-1 most nights is very difficult to do in the WHL.

Who’s on D:

Martin Marincin returns to the lineup tonight after serving a four-game suspension that he received October 25th in Vancouver. This is great news for Dean Clark who now has a full 25-man roster to choose from when it comes to tonight’s lineup. Marincin’s eight points have him tied for third in team scoring.

Who’s in Goal:

Drew Owsley didn’t get a ton of help or luck in last night’s loss to Kamloops. Dean Clark has every reason to go back with Owsley tonight, who has shown throughout the season that he’s able to bounce back from less-than-stellar outings. That being said, Devon Fordyce is waiting in the wings, and could be in line to get the call against Kamloops. Either way, the goaltender tonight will need to be big, and make all of the easy stops, and maybe one or two that most goalies shouldn’t make. When a team is struggling to score goals, the onus is even more on the goaltender to rise up and make big saves.


Troy Bourke played center in last night’s game and I thought he performed very well. He was good on face-offs and did a good job down low with the puck. Bourke hasn’t scored a goal since October 12th in Swift Current, and could be due to break out offensively in tonight’s game with Kamloops.

Searching for Puck Luck.

Last night was a weird night.

It was another one of those nagging reminders of how cruel the sport of hockey and sports in general can be sometimes. It would be easy to look at the box score and see a 5-1 Kamloops final and assume that the BC Division leading Blazers took it to the fifth place Cougars rather easily.


Let me preface these thoughts by first saying that I'm not taking anything away from the Kamloops Blazers. They earned their breaks, they took advantage on their opportunities, and ultimately earned the two points against Prince George. They're a first place team for a reason and this piece is not going to cry foul on their part whatsoever.

That being said, sooner or later the Prince George Cougars players, coaches, and fans (don't forget broadcasters) have to wonder out loud, "When is the other shoe going to drop." When are things going to start going our way?

The Prince George Cougars were awesome in the first period. They took it to Kamloops and out-chanced, out-hit and out-performed the BC Division's top statistical team.

Early in the second period the Blazers strike on a two-on-one where Tim Bozon essentially passed the puck to himself after his attempted pass goes off Jesse Forsberg's stick and right back to him. Bozon was awesome for Kamloops, but surely even he'd admit that luck was on his side when his pass found it's way directly back to him.

Even with the 1-1 score, the Cougars respond well, continue to push hard, and unfortunately can't bury on their opportunities in Period Two. Fast forward to the end of the second when an innocent shoot-in by Marek Hrbas turns into disaster for Prince George.

The puck bounces off the glass and hits the Cougars goal-post and right to the stick of Brendan Ranford who knocks it in to make it 2-1.

If you're the Prince George Cougars, how could you not be demoralized by such poor misfortune. You've carried the play. You've been peppering Cole Cheveldave with quality shots all night, and then you head into the intermission down 2-1 after 40 minutes ultimately becauase of a freak-bounce off the glass.

Shortly after the 2-1 goal, the Cougars got into penalty-trouble, which greatly contributed to their demise in the third period when the penalties continued. A couple more power play goals and ultimately the game is over at 5-1.

The beautiful thing about this situation is that there's another chance. Fortunately for the Cougars they have a chance to put last night's bad luck behind them and get things going again tonight against Kamloops.

Last weekend after a 4-2 loss, Dean Clark's team responded very well on Saturday and defeated Don Hay's Vancouver Giants. There is no reason why the same can't be done tonight.

If the Cougars continue their strong work-ethic, puck-luck is certain to come their way. Sooner or later the shots are going to start going in, and I've always maintained that once this team has a big offensive night, the goals are going to start coming in bunches. A little bit of confidence can go a long way in this league.

This team deserves your support, and they deserve better than what their record indicates. Tonight for the first time they'll have a full-lineup going for them, and an opportunity to showcase their true potential against a rival opponent.

I've been fired up for this game since the second I woke up this morning and I anticipate an enjoyable night tonight at CN Centre between two BC Division Rivals with no love loss for one another. Here's hoping you can make Cougars hockey a part of your Saturday night in one way shape or form.

See you at the rink.