Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cats Sink Winterhawks in O.T.

Wednesday night in Prince George the Prince George Cougars beat the Portland Winterhawks 4-3 in overtime. Greg Fraser scored the OT winner at 2:55 of overtime to lead the Cougars to victory. Fraser had two goals and an assist while Chase Witala had a goal and two assists. Cougars netminder Drew Owsley made 39 saves to record his ninth victory of the season.

The first period ended with a zero-zero score, but the Cougars have their penalty-kill and goaltender to thank for that. The Winterhawks outshot Prince George 17-3 and had three power play chances but were unable to capitalize.

Early in the second period the Prince George Cougars woke up in a big way. Greg Fraser’s initial shot was stopped by Brendan Burke, but the rebound came free for Josh Smith who potted his first ever WHL goal to give the Cougars the 1-0 lead.

The lead did not last long as Brad Ross tied it at 6:34 unassisted as he intercepted a Cougars clearing attempt, and beat Drew Owsley up high.

The Cougars rebounded with two unanswered goals. The first came via Chase Witala who knocked home a Dan Gibb rebound past Brendan Burke for his second of the season.

The Cats shortly followed with a goal from Greg Fraser and late in the period they led 3-1.

The Cougars were given a power play in the final two minutes of the second, but it was Portland who stole momentum. After a highly controversial non-call on a Winterhawk collision with Cody Carlson behind the play, Ty Rattie stole the puck and raced in alone on Drew Owsley. Rattie made no mistake for his 32nd of the season.

The Cougars took a 3-2 lead into the third period.

The Winterhawks quickly got back even in the third when Nicolas Petan buried his seventh off a pass from Sven Bartschi at 4:13 of the frame.

From there, it was all Drew Owsley. The Prince George netminder made several highlight reel stops in the third period, and kept the game tied with time winding down.

Halfway through overtime the Cougars raced up ice on a two-on-one. Martin Marincin led the rush up the right wing and then he slid a pass to Greg Fraser who made no mistake for his second of the night, and team leading 10th of the season.

It was the first victory of the season for the Cougars in overtime, and third of the season at CN Centre. Both the Cougars and Winterhawks went zero-for-four on the power play, and the Winterhawks outshot the Cougars 42-24 through 63 minutes of play.

The win improves the Cougars record to 10-19-0-2 and moves them within one point of the Seattle Thunderbirds for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Fittingly the Cougars and Thunderbirds are squaring off on Friday in Kent, Washington.

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