Sunday, February 19, 2012

Victory in Victoria.

After a 4-2 loss on Friday, the Prince George Cougars bounced back with a 3-1 victory on Saturday and earned a valuable split with the Victoria Royals over the weekend. Caleb Belter led the way with a goal and an assist, and Drew Owsley stopped 28 of 29 shots faced for his 18th victory of the season.

The Cougars opened the scoring at 8:23 of the first period and it came off the stick of Dan Gibb. Caleb Belter found Dan Gibb at the right point, and Gibb made no mistake. He fired a shot past Keith Hamilton for his first goal of the season.

Caleb Belter added to the lead at 16:39 on the power play when he skated up the ice and fired a wrister past Hamilton from the high slot. For Belter it was his fourth of the season and his second in as many games.

Greg Fraser would make it 3-0 while short-handed. Fraser stole the puck from Jordan Fransoo at the Cougars blueline, and fired a shot past Keith Hamilton. Fraser’s goal spelt the end of the night for Hamilton, who was pulled after surrendering three goals on 10 shots faced.

In came Prince George product Jared Rathjen and the Royals seemed to get a boost. Hayden Rintoul scored on the same power play at 19:22 to give the Royals some life, but the score was 3-1 for the visitors after one period.

The second period went back-and-forth but the Cougars held their ground. Campbell Elynuik had a spirited fight with Keegan Kanzig and the Cougars came awfully close on a five-on-three man advantage, but Rathjen held his team in it.

Prince George received a bench-minor at the end of the second, and Victoria started the third period on the power play. Drew Owsley made a glorious save off of Logan Nelson to keep the game at 3-1.

Mid-way through the third period another fight broke out. Reid Jackson delivered a clean open-ice body check to Tim Traber. Traber and Jackson then dropped the gloves. Traber was given an instigator for fighting but the Cougars couldn’t take advantage.

Victoria was given a late power play, but Drew Owsley made some key saves off of Steven Hodges and Logan Nelson, and the Cougars held on for the 3-1 victory.

Both teams were one-for-five on the power play and Victoria finished the game with a slight edge in the shots department: 29-27.

The victory improves the Cougars record to 19-36-0-2 and they now trail both Seattle and Victoria by two points in the Western Conference playoff race.

Next up for the Cougars: The Portland Winterhawks. The Cougars and Winterhawks will square off on Monday afternoon at 3:00 and then again on Tuesday night.

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