Friday, January 27, 2012

Silvertips 5 - Cougars 2

Friday night in Prince George, the Prince George Cougars dropped a 5-2 score to the Everett Silvertips. Dominik Bittner scored twice for Everett in the first period, and the visitors scored four times in the first 40 minutes to earn their 11th win of the season. Spencer Asuchak had both goals in response for Prince George.

The Cougars opened the scoring early in the first period while short-handed. Spencer Asuchak out-skated the Silvertips defender, and managed to stuff the puck past Kent Simpson while he was hauled down to put the Cougars on the board. It was Asuchak’s 11th of the season and fourth of the year against Everett.

The Silvertips evened the score a few moments later when Dominik Bittner let a point-shot go that deflected off the Cougars defence and in past Drew Owsley. For Bittner it was his first goal in the Western Hockey League.

Late in the period, Bittner struck again off a Cougars turnover. Bittner walked into the slot and flipped once into the net for his second of the period.

The Cougars lost the services of defenceman Dan Gibb who was injured in the late stages of the first period. Gibb left with about three minutes remaining in the period and did not return.

The second period belonged to Everett. The Silvertips outshot Prince George 15-10, and were rewarded offensively when Josh Birkholz weaved his way into the front of the goal and beat Drew Owsley up high for his 21st of the season.

Late in the period the Silvertips added to their lead when Ryan Chynoweth put home his first ever goal in the WHL. Chynoweth had the final whack at a puck that was bouncing around in the goal-mouth area.

The Cougars really turned it on in the third though, and moved within two goals when Spencer Asuchak scored off a face-off in Everett territory. For Asuchak it was his 12th of the season, which gives him the team lead in goals outright.

The Cougars then continued to press, but Everett netminder Kent Simpson kept the door shut the rest of the way.

Kohl Bauml added an empty-netter for Everett who secured their 11th win of the season, and are now one point back of the Cougars in the Western Conference standings. That said: The Silvertips have played in three more games.

Prince George and Everett both finished the game zero-for-three on the power play. Everett outshot Prince George 37-36.

The Cougars (15-30-0-2) will head into Saturday’s rematch with Everett (11-30-1-8) trailing Victoria by five points in the Western Conference standings. Victoria secured a 4-2 victory against Kamloops while Seattle defeated Kelowna in a shootout to move six ahead of the Cougars in the playoff race.

The Cougars and Silvertips meet for the final time on Saturday night from CN Centre.

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