Friday, February 10, 2012

Cougars Crown the Oil Kings in O.T.

Friday in Prince George, the Cougars won a 5-4 overtime thriller with the Edmonton Oil Kings. Campbell Elynuik was the OT hero for the Cougars and Daulton Siwak had a three-point night for the Cougars who earned their 17th victory of the 2011-2012 season.

The Cougars opened the scoring at 3:18 of the first period when Alex Forsberg rifled a wrist-shot through Tristan Jarry for his 12th of the season. Troy Bourke and Daulton Siwak picked up assists.

The Cougars then killed off two Edmonton power plays, and came eerily close to making it 2-0 at the end of the first, but Greg Fraser was unable to convert on a two-on-one opportunity. Edmonton outshot the Cougars 16-10 after one.

The second period provided fans with more back-and-forth play. Both goaltenders (Drew Owsley and Tristan Jarry) were exceptional and the Cougars held on to their 1-0 lead until the tail-end of the period when Dylan Wruck beat Drew Owsley for his 19th of the season. It was an unlucky play for the Cougars as Wruck tried to center a pass, but the puck came right back to him on the rush.

Late in the period the Cougars got into some penalty trouble when Greg Fraser was called for a double-minor high sticking penalty. Early in the third the Oil Kings made the Cougars pay.

Michael St. Croix and Rhett Rachinski scored goals 1:14 apart to give the Oil Kings a quick 3-1 lead early in the third.

Credit the Cougars though for not backing down. They made it 3-2 when Chase Witala tipped home a Cody Carlson point shot for his fourth of the season, and then 40 seconds later Daulton Siwak converted on an Alex Forsberg pass to make it 3-3.

Back came Edmonton. Eight seconds after Siwak’s equalizer, the Oil Kings took a 4-3 lead when Michael St. Croix beat Drew Owsley for his second of the game.

The Cougars stayed resilient. Daulton Siwak tied the game (again) off a gorgeous pass from Jake Mykitiuk. Siwak raced by the defender and beat Tristan Jarry on a back-hand deke for his second of the night, and his 12th of the season to make it 4-4.

Overtime was needed and 2:14 into the extra frame Campbell Elynuik pounced on a loose puck in front of the Edmonton net, and beat Tristan Jarry for his fifth of the season.

For the Cougars it was their 17th victory of the season, and first this season against the Edmonton Oil Kings. The Cougars record now sits at 17-34-0-2.

Lost in the madness of the third period was the play of Cougars netminder Drew Owsley, who faced 52 shots in total and stopped 48 of them. Edmonton finished two-for-six on the power play while the Cougars finished zero-for-two.

Daulton Siwak finished the game with three points and was named the game’s first star. Alex Forsberg, Troy Bourke, Cody Carlson, and Chase Witala all recorded multi-point games for the Cougars who are now four points back of both Victoria and Seattle in the Western Conference standings. The Cougars still hold three games in hand on Victoria and one on Seattle.

The Cougars will look for the weekend sweep when they host Edmonton again on Saturday.

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