Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cats Keep Playoffs In Sight With O.T. Win in Kennewick.

The Prince George Cougars kept their playoff hopes alive on Tuesday thanks to some overtime heroics from their captain. Jesse Forsberg shoveled a back-hander past Ty Rimmer just 62 seconds into overtime and the Prince George Cougars defeated the Tri-City Americans 5-4. Troy Bourke led the way with two goals while Linden Springer and Spencer Asuchak added singles for the Cougars.

Spencer Asuchak opened the scoring for the Cougars at 3:06 of the first period when he converted Caleb Belter’s pass for his 16th goal of the season. It wouldn’t last long.

Tri-City went to the power play a minute later, and very quickly they tied the score when Adam Hughesman knocked in a Justin Feser pass for his 47th goal of the season.

62 seconds later the Americans went back to the power play and took the lead when Brendan Shinnimin moved into the left circle and wired one past Drew Owsley for his 58th goal of the season.

Malte Stromwall extended the Tri-City lead at 16:02 when he blasted home a shot from the right point, and the Americans appeared to be in full control.

Late in the first, Troy Bourke helped bridge the gap to 3-2 when he beat Ty Rimmer off a Ricard Blidstrand rebound and the Cougars trailed 3-2 after 20 minutes.

Mid-way through the second, the Cougars would tie the score when Linden Springer intercepted a pass from behind the Americans goal, and roofed one on Ty Rimmer for his third of the season. Less than two minutes later, Troy Bourke gave the Cougars their lead back when he grabbed a rebound from Spencer Asuchak’s shot from the slot for his 18th of the season and second of the game.

Shortly after the Bourke goal, Cougars captain Jesse Forsberg got into a fight with Tri-City forward Jordan Messier which seemed to spark the crowd in a big way. The Cougars were able to keep the Americans contained and they took a 4-3 lead into the second intermission.

Early in the third, Tri-City tied it when Adam Hughesman potted his second of the night. It was an unlucky play for the Cougars who blocked the point-shot, but the puck deflected off the Cougars defender and directly to Hughesman at the side of the goal.

The Cougars penalty-kill stood tall and kept the game tied mid-way through the third, and after 60 minutes, the game was tied 4-4.

Early into overtime the Cougars ended the game when Alex Forsberg placed a pass perfectly on his older brother’s stick in the high slot area. Jesse Forsberg zigged his way through the defense and caught Ty Rimmer cheating to one side. Forsberg slid a back-hander into the net for his fifth of the season.
Tri-City outshot the Cougars 35-24 and finished the game two-for-four on the power play. The Cougars were zero-for-two on their power play chances.

The victory moves the Prince George Cougars within three points of eighth placed Victoria in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Cougars head to Kamloops still needing two victories in their final two games, and they’ll also need Portland to help them by defeating Victoria twice.

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