The Prince George Cougars and Edmonton Oil Kings will meet tonight and tomorrow night at CN Centre. Tonight’s game marks the second of three meetings between these clubs. The Cougars are hoping to snap a three-game skid, and are hoping to make some noise against the top team in the WHL’s Eastern Conference.
The Edmonton Oil Kings have won three in a row and are 7-2-1-0 in their last 10 games. The Oil Kings are coming off a 9-5 victory in Calgary on Wednesday and have scored the most goals out of any team in the Western Hockey League with 235. The Oil Kings are 36-12-2-4 and are six points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors for top spot in the East.
Who’s Up Front:
The Edmonton Oil Kings boast some of the strongest depth in the Western Hockey League. They have four lines that can hurt you, and they tend to come at teams in waves. Leading the charge for Edmonton back on January 18th was Michael St. Croix. St. Croix recorded a natural hat-trick against the Cougars and is currently fifth in league scoring with 84 points.
Who’s on D:
18-year-old Martin Gernat leads the Oil Kings with 40 points through 42 games this season. Gernat eight goals and 32 assists and is a major threat on the Oil Kings power play. Gernat had three assists against the Cougars during their last meeting on January 18th.
Who’s in Goal:
The Oil Kings have received stellar goaltending this season from 18-year-old Laurent Brossoit. Brossoit has a 31-10-2-3 record with two shutouts. He has a goals against average of 2.48 and a save percentage of .913. His backup is 16-year-old Tristan Jarry who holds a record of 5-2.
The Prince George Cougars will need to stay as disciplined as possible this weekend against the Oil Kings. Edmonton’s power play struck twice in three opportunities during the last meeting between these teams, and they hold the league’s second best power play with a success rate of 27.5%.
The Prince George Cougars are coming into tonight’s game with a record of 16-34-0-2. They are 2-8-0-0 in their last 10 games and are six points back of both Seattle and Victoria in the race for the eighth playoff spot. The Cougars hold four games in hand on Victoria and one on the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Who’s Up Front:
After battling injuries seemingly since the start of 2012, the Cougars will have some key bodies back in the lineup up front. 16-year-old Alex Forsberg is ready to go along with veteran forward Caleb Belter who has missed significant time as well. Jarrett Fontaine and Linden Springer are also expected back which gives Dean Clark and his staff several more options as far as the forwards go.
Who’s on D:
Defensively the Cougars are going to need all hands on deck this weekend against Edmonton. With the status of Dan Gibb and Reid Jackson still up in the air, the Cougars will need the likes of Cody Carlson, Jesse Forsberg, Ricard Blidstrand, and Michael Mylchreest to log some key minutes. The Oil Kings are a tough team to stop, but with great challenge comes great opportunity for the Cougars.
Who’s in Goal:
After missing both games last weekend with a lower body injury, Drew Owsley should be ready to go this weekend for the Cougars. Owsley has only played once so far in February, and will look to step back in and give the Cougars everything he has against the Oil Kings. Devon Fordyce showed signs of brilliance against Kelowna last weekend and stopped 72 of the 78 shots he faced. He’ll no doubt be ready if called upon.
The Prince George Cougars have started games very well as of late and that trend will need to continue against the Oil Kings. The Cougars have shown that they are a tough team to play against when they hold the lead, and an early goal or two would no doubt help with their confidence and would give the Oil Kings something to think about. The Cougars have shown this season that they can go head-to-head with the league’s best and be successful and this weekend will provide the Cougars with another opportunity to do just that.
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