Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Three Cougars Sign Pro Contracts.

The Prince George Cougars are pleased to announce that 20-year-old forward Spencer Asuchak, 20-year-old defenceman Cody Carlson, and 19-year-old forward Campbell Elynuik have signed professional contracts. Asuchak is California bound, and will be joining the Ontario Reign of the East Coast Hockey League. Carlson is heading to Texas to play for the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees in the Central Hockey League. Elynuik has signed an amateur tryout contract with the Adirondack Phantoms of the American Hockey League.

Asuchak (Kamloops, B.C.) finished the 2011-2012 season tied for the team lead in goals with 18, and he finished with a new season-high in points with 36. Asuchak played a total of 224 games in the Western Hockey League and recorded 49 goals and 95 career points along with 208 penalty minutes. Asuchak joins an Ontario squad that is currently ranked first in the ECHL’s Pacific Division. Through 65 games, the Reign are 39-18-5-3.

Cody Carlson (Victoria, B.C.) was the only Cougars player to suit up for all 72 games this season. He finished with nine goals and 39 points which led all Cougars defencemen. Carlson played over 300 games in the Western Hockey League and scored 25 career goals and 135 career points. The Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees are currently ranked fourth in the CHL’s Berry Conference with a record of 30-27-7.

Elynuik (Calgary, AB) led the Prince George Cougars in penalty-minutes this season with 156. The 6’4, 190 pound winger was acquired by the Prince George Cougars in an October trade with the Regina Pats. Elynuik scored four goals, 11 points and tallied 132 penalty-minutes in 52 games with Prince George during the 2011-2012 season. Elynuik had previously spent parts of three seasons with the Everett Silvertips before being traded to Regina prior to the 2011-2012 season.

The Prince George Cougars wish to congratulate all three, and wish them all of the best in their professional hockey paths.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Season One Reflections.

To all readers,

First and foremost I want to extend a heartfelt 'thank you' to all of you who regularly visited my blog during the 2011-2012 Prince George Cougars season. Admittedly I was not as active on the blog as I would have liked to have been, but I am proud that this blog has been active for four full hockey seasons now. I can honestly say that I didn't have those kind of expectations when I started it, and it's neat to double-back and read some old entries as well as some recent ones. But enough about the blog.

I've been using the past 10 days or so to reflect on the season that was, and also the future that will be for the Prince George Cougars. I admit that it's a tough feeling watching WHL playoff highlights, and reading WHL previews knowing full well that the Cougars aren't a part of the discussion. The rink feels a lot different without the youthful energy of the Prince George Cougars players, and I definitely miss making the walk downstairs for my interviews and my interactions with the guys.

Admittedly this whole season was a bit of a whirlwind for me. I started with the Cougars on August 22nd, and training camp started the very next weekend. There were several bumps along the road, but by the time September 24th rolled around I felt familiar and confident enough with my knowledge of the Prince George Cougars to put a compelling broadcast on the air.

September 24th, 2011 in Kamloops marked my first of what would be 71 broadcasts in 2011-2012. The Prince George Cougars blanked the Blazers 1-0 thanks to a 32 save shutout from newly acquired goaltender Drew Owsley. It was the first time in six years of hockey broadcasting that I had ever called an opening night victory, and to do so on this stage, in that rink was a very special feeling.

Some broadcasting highlights of the season for me included:

- Calling games in Prince Albert and Saskatoon alongside my good friends and colleagues, Cody Nickolet and Matt Ryan. It was great being back in Saskatchewan so quickly after leaving in August. It was awesome getting a chance to visit with some friends, and experience the WHL with them close by.

- My first broadcast at the historic Rink on Renfrew in Vancouver. I vividly remember watching my first ever NHL game at the Pacific Coliseum, and growing up nearby, I watched a ton of games from that building. It was an honor to call a game from the same booth as the likes of Jim Robson, Jim Hugheson, and Bob Cole. Similar to Saskatchewan, I had a lot of close friends and family attend the games in Vancouver, and I am so grateful for their moral support and friendship. Next year I can't wait to call my first victory in that building!

- Perhaps one of the most fun stretches occured in early December, when the Cougars defeated Portland at home in overtime on December 7th and then went to Seattle and Spokane and won both of their games on the road that weekend. The Spokane game on December 10th sticks out for obvious reasons. The Cougars went into the third period down 3-0 to a Spokane team that appeared to be firing on all cylinders. But the Cougars had other ideas. Alex Forsberg, Jordan Tkatch, and Spencer Asuchak scored third period goals to tie it, and then Cody Carlson scored the shootout winner to lead the Cougars to a 4-3 victory in front of a sold-out crowd in Spokane. That game was easily the first-half highlight for yours truly, and I'm sure for many others as well.

- Trips to Victoria and Portland were also very memorable. I greatly enjoyed the trip to Victoria because of the beautiful scenery and vibrancy of the city, while Portland was great because of my overall love for the state of Oregon. For those that don't know, I'm a pretty big Oregon Ducks fan, and getting a chance to visit their team store alone was a really cool experience. Of course I'll also remember the trip to Portland because of the 'cell phone broadcast.' At the time, it was a living hell, but looking back I'm pleased to say that we got every second of the game on the air, and I never received any hate mail!

- The second-half highlight took place in Kennwick, Washington on Tuesday, March 13th. The Prince George Cougars erased a 3-1 defecit to the top team in the Western Conference, and then skated to a 5-4 overtime victory thanks to some overtime heroics from captain Jesse Forsberg. That victory kept the Cougars playoff hopes alive, and gave them hope heading into the final weekend of the season. It was so nice to see Drew Owsley earn a victory against his former team.

There are so many people who I'd like to thank for the role that they played in my first of what will hopefully be many seasons behind the mic for the Prince George Cougars.

First off I want to thank my family. I owe an equal amount of thanks to my wife-to-be Julie and also to my Dad.

Julie boldly left a comfortable life in Saskatchewan to accompany me to Northern B.C. She had no job prospects, and no real knowledge of Prince George, other than the fact that it meant a dream opportunity for me. She is now working full-time in Prince George in her profession of choice, and is doing some great things. I am so proud of her, and I am so glad she was rewarded to her efforts and her patience.

To My Dad who proudly calls himself the 'travelling Cougars fan.' One of the major perks of moving back to B.C. was the fact that I was now a whole lot closer to my Dad. Having recently lost my Mom to cancer in 2010, it meant a lot to me to be closer to him. We got to spend some true quality time together over the course of my WHL travels this year, and I'm very happy that we got to spend his birthday together in Kamloops. His support of the Cougars means an awful lot to me, and I'm so thankful for the many parents who helped make him feel welcome at the games.

The Prince George Cougars Hockey Operations staff has been amazing. I'm forever indepted to the Brodsky family, Dallas Thompson, Wade Klippenstein, Dean Clark, Jason Becker, Brent Arsenault, Phil Guenter, Chico Dhanjal and the entire group of Prince George Cougars scouts for making me feel welcome from the very beginning. It is an honor to represent the Cougars organization alongside all of you, and I look forward to many future successes together.

To the office staff who I spent a majority of my non-hockey time with. Amy, Shannon, Bev, Kathy and Judy were all so wonderful to work with, and I'm happy that I was able to fit in with them so smoothly. I want to wish both Judy and Shannon all of the best on their future endeavors. You both deserve all of the happiness and success that is bound to come your way.

I owe a huge amount of thanks to my fellow broadcasters and Media Relations coordinators in the Western Hockey League. So many of you went the extra-mile to make me feel welcomed in your city. It was a very gratifying experience getting a chance to meet you all and share some laughs and some stories with you. Thanks for your wisdom, guidance, interview help and most importantly making the new guy feel at home in the WHL.

- To the Cougars bus-driver/photographer Ralph Posteraro. You got us from A to B safely and promptly all season long. Thank you so much for braving the elements, staying awake and ensuring that the Prince George Cougars reached their various destinations. Thanks for being one of the main driving forces behind the Prince George Cougars.

- I want to thank the media for their coverage this season. Thank you for attending our press conferences and games throughout the season. I'm glad I got the chance to get to know you guys.

- To the many corporate sponsors of the Cougars. Your contribution is obvious, yet is oh-so important. Thanks for trusting me/us to promote your businesses. And here's to a successful 2012-2013 season.

- I want to thank the Cougars volunteers, interns and off-ice officials for all of their hard work throughout the season as well. I'm so happy to have gotten a chance to get to know you all throughout the season. You all make coming to the rink a sincere joy, and I hope you all enjoy your summer. See you in the fall!

- To the crew at 99.3 The Drive for helping with the broadcasts this season. Allan Bristowe was awesome to work with, and I'm very proud of the work that we did together on the radio. From the very beginning, Allan has made me feel welcome in Prince George from the start, and I am grateful for all of his help this season. Once more a big thanks to Dave Ross and Patrick Kilcullen for all of their help behind the scenes to make the broadcasts what they were.

I'm almost done.

- I want to thank the many fans, billets, and parents who I got the chance to meet and visit with this season. Your words of encouragement meant an awful lot to a young broadcaster trying to make his mark on a new city with a new team. Thanks for going out of your way to introduce yourself and make me feel welcome.

- Lastly I want to thank the Cougars players. You guys were amazing to deal with. Thanks for helping me with interviews, videos, and player appearances. I've said it many times this season, and I'll say it once more: You guys are great players on the ice, and exceptional men off of it. I have every confidence in your collective ability in the ice, and I look forward to seeing what you guys are capable of in 2012-2013. Have a great summer boys, and keep in touch.

Thank you all for helping make my first season in the WHL an unforgettable experience. Here's to 2012-2013 and the many exciting memories and victories that await us.

- Dan O'Connor (The Voice of the Cougars)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

To All Cougars Supporters, Thank You!

With excitement and optimism already brewing for the 2012-2013 season, the Prince George Cougars Hockey Club would like to thank the many individuals and groups who helped shape the 2011-2012 season. Without the assistance of the volunteers, off-ice officials, interns, billets, sponsors, media, season-ticket holders, and the fans, this team would not be able to function.

We are so fortunate to have such hard-working and loyal volunteers. Without your presence at the CN Centre, we would not be able to provide such a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for our fans. Your hard work and dedication did not go unnoticed this season, and we are so thankful for the time you spent volunteering at our games.

The Prince George Cougars are very proud of our off-ice officials who worked tirelessly to help make the games run smoothly. There is no denying your importance to the hockey club, and we thank you for the many hours you all put into the 2011-2012 season.

This season, the Prince George Cougars benefited greatly from all of the hard-work and enthusiasm of our interns. You were a tremendous asset to our game nights. Your assistance during in-game promotions and your creative ideas were a huge help to us, and we thank you for the many hours that you put into making our Hockey Club better.

Without billets, there can be no team. To the billet families that opened their homes and their lives to our players, thank you. Your warmth and hospitality knows no bounds, and we sincerely hope that the relationships formed this season between the players and billets can last a life-time.

We would also like to recognize our loyal corporate sponsors for all of their support this season. It means a lot to us that you are willing to attach your business to ours through sponsorship, and we look forward to pursuing new and innovative sponsorship ideas with you in 2012-2013.

Our local media also needs to be commended and thanked for their coverage and support in 2011-2012. Your presence at our games, press conferences and community functions were extremely appreciated. We are thankful for the fact that you took an interest in our Hockey Club, and we look forward to further growing our relationship with all local media in 2012-2013.

To our loyal and passionate season-ticket holders, thank you. Your continued support means so much to us. We appreciate the fact that you are willing to spend your hard-earned money on our product. Through thick and thin we saw a lot of the same faces attending our games and supporting our players night-after-night. Thank you for being so knowledgeable, and passionate about the Prince George Cougars.

The Prince George Cougars are grateful to each and every fan who attended a Cougars game this season. You proved this season that your knowledge and enthusiasm rivals any other fan-base in the Western Hockey League, and we look forward to seeing you again in 2012-2013.

Rest assured that the Prince George Cougars Hockey Club is hard at work on all levels trying to ensure some more success in 2012-2013. We believe that we have the right leadership, and a talented nucleus of young forward and defence that are destined for great things. One more time we want to thank you for supporting us in 2011-2012, and we look forward a successful 2012-2013.


The Prince George Cougars.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cougars Get Third Overall Pick in 2012 Bantam Draft.

The Prince George Cougars will have the third-overall pick in the 2012 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft taking place on May 3rd, 2012 in Calgary.

The Western Hockey League held a bantam-draft lottery this morning in Calgary, AB where it was announced that the Seattle Thunderbirds had won the lottery. The Prince George Cougars went into the lottery with the second-highest chance of securing the first overall pick.

Prince George also has the 11th overall pick (originally belonging to the Regina Pats) in this year’s draft. The Prince George Cougars acquired Regina’s first round pick as part of the January 10th trade that sent Martin Marincin to Regina.

Last season, the Prince George Cougars selected defenceman Jordan Harris (10th overall) with their first round selection.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cougars MVP Drew Owsley Speaks.

Check out my interview with Cougars goaltender and MVP Drew Owsley before the Cougars final regular season game of 2011-2012:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Game #72 - Blazers @ Cougars Preview.

Only one game remains in the regular season for the Prince George Cougars. Tonight, in front of their home fans, the Cougars will go head-to-head with Kamloops for the tenth time this season. The Cougars playoff hopes were officially quashed yesterday with their 10-4 loss coupled with Seattle’s victory in Spokane. That doesn’t mean though that the Cougars don’t have anything to play for.


Heading into tonight’s game, the Kamloops Blazers boast the top record in the B.C. Division. They are 47-19-2-3 and are 4-5-0-1 in their last 10 games. They are guaranteed to finish second in the Western Conference, and will either be facing Seattle or Victoria in the first round of the playoffs.

Who’s Up Front:

The most dangerous offensive weapon in the Blazers lineup last night was 20-year-old forward Brandon Herrod. Herrod scored once and added three assists. He along with his linemates Brendan Ranford and Jordan DePape combined for 10 points against the Cougars during yesterday’s victory.

Who’s on D:

With an assist in last night’s game, Blazers defenceman (and Columbus draft-pick) Austin Madaisky became the eighth player this season to reach the 50-point mark for Kamloops. Madaisky has scored 11 power play goals and is arguably the Blazers most reliable defenceman at both ends of the ice.

Who’s in Goal:

The Kamloops Blazers got great goaltending once again from Cole Cheveldave, who improved his record to 6-0-0-0 this season against Prince George with the win last night. Given last night’s result, it would seem unlikely that Cheveldave would go again for Kamloops, but Guy Charron may very well choose to play the hot hand in his team’s final regular season game.


The Kamloops power play went three-for-five in last night’s game and showed just how lethal it can be. The Cougars will need to be more mindful of this tonight, and will need to do their best to stay disciplined and play as much five-on-five hockey as possible.


Last night’s result is no doubt a disappointing one for the Cougars who had their playoff hopes erased with their loss and Seattle’s victory, but it’s important for this young group to keep their head held high. It’s important to keep in mind that this Cougars group went to battle many nights with as many as seven or eight 95-born players in the lineup. Sure there have been some tough lessons along the way, but you can’t help but note the improvement in all of these players. While this season might be viewed by many as a disappointment, it may also be viewed (a year or two down the road) as an important development year for a future playoff powerhouse.

Who’s Up Front:

Tonight’s game will be the last one for 20-year-old forward Spencer Asuchak. The Kamloops, B.C. product comes into tonight with 16 goals and 34 points this season, and has 93 career points in 223 games played. His speed, size and hustle were all huge factors in allowing him to play 223 games in the Western Hockey League.

Who’s on D:

Cougars defenceman Cody Carlson will also be suiting up for his final WHL game tonight against Kamloops. The Victoria, B.C. native will finish first on the Cougars in scoring for defencemen, and comes into tonight’s game with 39 points this season to go with 135 points for his career. Cody Carlson is the only Cougar to (likely) play in all 72 games this season. His shot-blocking, timely offense and leadership will long be remembered by the Cougars faithful.

Who’s in Goal:

Drew Owsley’s remarkable WHL career will sadly come to an end after tonight’s game with Kamloops. Drew Owsley has done everything asked of him this season, and has provided this team with so much hustle and heart over the course of the season. He comes into tonight with 98 career victories (22 as a Cougar) and you know that he’ll do everything in his power to end his career on a winning note.


The Prince George Cougars will need to dig deep. They have a chance to end their season in a winning note in front of their home fans. Collectively the Cougars will need to come together and put their best foot forward not only for themselves, but for the three over-agers (Asuchak, Carlson, and Owsley) who will be playing in their final games in the WHL.

Cats Playoff Push Comes to an End in Kamloops.

After a valiant effort down the stretch, the Prince George Cougars quest for a playoff spot came to an end on Friday night in Kamloops. The Blazers scored six goals in the third period and secured a 10-4 victory over the Cougars. Ricard Blidstrand had three helpers for the Cougars in a losing cause while Alex Forsberg, Jesse Forsberg, Jake Mykitiuk and Caleb Belter supplied the goals. Colin Smith scored three goals for Kamloops while Brandon Herrod finished the game with a goal and three assists.

Prince George opened the scoring in the first period at the 10:11 mark. Caleb Belter earned his seventh of the season off a Ricard Blidstrand point shot that deflected in off of Belter’s lower-body.

Kamloops would tie it late in the first on the power play. It was Jordan DePape who converted his fifth of the season to tie the score at one. The shots were 7-7 after one.

Early in the second, the Cougars took their lead back when Jake Mykitiuk made a nice move to the middle and fired a wrist shot past Cole Cheveldave for his sixth of the season.

Less than two minutes later, Brendan Ranford tied the score with his 40th goal of the season. Then Colin Smith made it 3-2 when he took advantage of an errant shot-block that would up right on his stick in front of the net.

Jesse Forsberg tied the score at 12:47 of the second on a point-shot from the left side. The Cougars captain has now scored four goals in the month of March and continues to be a major bright spot for the Cougars at both ends of the ice.

The tie game didn’t last long. Less than two minutes later, Brendan Ranford centered a pass for Jordan DePape who made no mistake for his sixth of the season and second of the game, and the Blazers took the 4-3 lead into the second intermission.

The third period was all Kamloops. Colin Smith scored early in the third to make it 5-3, and then Kamloops quickly took advantage of some power plays. Brandon Herrod and Colin Smith scored power play goals to make it a 7-3 lead, and then Cole Ully, Ryan Hanes and Chase Souto all scored within a five minute span to make the score 10-3.

Alex Forsberg rounded out the scoring with a late power play goal for Prince George.

Kamloops outshot the Cougars 39-27 while finishing the game with three power play goals on five attempts. The Cougars responded by going one-for-three on the man advantage.

The Cougars loss, coupled with Seattle’s victory in Spokane officially eliminated the Cougars from playoff contention. The Cougars record now sits at 23-46-0-2 heading into tomorrow night’s regular season finale at CN Centre, which is also against Kamloops.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cougars Prepare for Final Weekend of Regular Season.

The final weekend of the WHL regular season is upon us, and the Prince George Cougars will wrap it up with a home-and-home showdown with the Kamloops Blazers. These teams are no strangers to each other, having already played eight times against each other. Strangely though they haven’t met since early January. For the Cougars, the message is simple: WIN. If the Cougars can win tonight’s game, they could very well be still playing for a playoff spot tomorrow, depending on how things go around the league. It all starts with the Cougars finding a way to beat the Kamloops Blazers.


Heading into tonight’s game, the Kamloops Blazers boast the top record in the B.C. Division. They are 46-19-2-3 and are 4-5-0-1 in their last 10 games. They have lost two straight though heading into the weekend.

Who’s Up Front:

The most dangerous offensive weapon in the Blazers lineup is 19-year-old forward Brendan Ranford. Ranford leads the Blazers with 39 goals and 89 points. He’s got 14 power play goals and is a very dynamic player in this league.

Who’s on D:

Austin Madaisky comes into the weekend leading the Blazers with 49 points from the back end. He’s managed 11 goals on the power play, and has proven to be a responsible player in both ends of the ice.

Who’s in Goal:

The Kamloops Blazers have received solid goaltending contributions all season long from the duo of Cole Cheveldave and Cam Lanigan. In 54 games, Cheveldave has put up 33 victories and has a save percentage of .910. His goal against average sits at 2.60 heading into the weekend. His backup Lanigan is 12-7 this season with a save percentage of .892.


The greatest strength of the Kamloops Blazers is their depth. They have seven players who have all eclipsed the 50-point mark and may soon have eight provided Austin Madaisky gets a point over the next two games. This team gets offense from all four lines and the Cougars will have to be at their best regardless of whom they are up again on the ice.


What an impressive stretch it has been lately for Dean Clark and the Cougars. They have won four of their last six altogether, and have managed to keep themselves afloat in the WHL playoff race. The Cougars are 2-6 so far this season against Kamloops, but have shown lately that they can defeat top teams in the WHL.

Who’s Up Front:

Troy Bourke has been Mr. Everything for the Prince George Cougars as of late. The 17-year-old draft eligible forward has 10 points in his past seven games, and leads the Cats in goals (18) and points (56). If the Cougars are to make the playoffs, they’ll need Bourke and his linemates Caleb Belter and Spencer Asuchak to keep the offensive train rolling.

Who’s on D:

Cougars captain Jesse Forsberg scored the biggest goal of the Cougars season to date in overtime on Tuesday. Forsberg has scored five goals now on the season, and of those five, three have been game-winners. Forsberg has been physical, passionate and has been the inspirational leader for the Cougars down the stretch.

Who’s in Goal:

Drew Owsley stopped 31 of the 35 shots he faced on Tuesday and was able to score a victory against his former team. Owsley has had his struggles this season against Kamloops, but you know that he’ll be ready to go tonight and will give the Cougars every opportunity possible to win and keep their playoff dreams alive.


The Prince George Cougars will need to play one of their best games of the season defensively tonight if they want to win. This means shot-blocks, avoiding odd-man rushes against, and simply plays up the ice. If the Cougars can keep the Blazers in check with their defense, the offense will likely be able to get the job done for the Cougars. It should be an exciting night in Kamloops.

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.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cougars - Americans (Part Two)

The Prince George Cougars will take the ice tonight for game three of a four-game road trip. Their opponents again tonight are the Tri-City Americans. The Cougars gave the Ams all they could handle during Sunday’s 5-3 Tri-City victory, and the Cougars will need to find a way to record at least a point in tonight’s game if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive down the stretch.


Jim Hiller’s Americans are tied with the Edmonton Oil Kings for the top record in the WHL. They head into action tonight with 101 points, and a one point lead on Portland for top spot in the West. They are 8-2-0-0 in their last 10 games and are 49-17-1-2 this season.

Who’s Up Front:

Brendan Shinnimin and Adam Hughesman shined in Sunday’s win for Tri-City. Hughesman had three goals while Shinnimin had two goals and two assists, including the game winner. These are two of the top players in the WHL and they showed on Sunday just how clutch they can be. Shinnimin leads the WHL with 129 points this season.

Who’s on D:

The Americans got a great performance by Justin Feser on the back end on Sunday. Normally a left winger, Feser played defense on Sunday, and drew an assist on the game tying goal by Adam Hughesman. Feser has 37 goals on the season and 77 points, which provides a great compliment to the top trio of Hughesman, Holland and Shinnimin.

Who’s in Goal:

Eric Comrie started Sunday’s game for Tri City, but did not finish it. Instead, Ty Rimmer relieved the young netminder after nine shots and three goals, and stopped everything he faced form then on out. Rimmer was named the WHL goaltender of the week and will likely be the guy who the Cougars face tonight.


The top three showed on Sunday that they can almost single-handedly win a game for the Americans if they have to. It’ll be important for the Cougars to limit these three by any means necessary. The Cougars did a great job with discipline, holding Tri-City to only two power plays on Sunday. A repeat performance may be necessary to give the Cougars their best shot.


The Prince George Cougars head into tonight’s game with a lot to feel good about. They’ve won three of their last five, and have competed extremely hard over the course of these past five games. They can keep their playoff hopes alive tonight with at least a point in tonight’s game, plus some help from the Portland Winterhawks in Victoria. The Cougars trail the Royals by five points with three games left in their regular season.

Who’s Up Front:

Alex Forsberg led the way offensively for the Cougars with a goal and an assist on Sunday. The rookie forward now has 36 points on the season, and could very well get to 40 before all is said and done. Forsberg was not afraid to play physically against Tri-City, and showed some strong confidence at both ends of the ice. Here’s hoping that continues in tonight’s game.

Who’s on D:

Cougars captain Jesse Forsberg knocked home his fourth of the season on Sunday. His fourth goal doubles his previous season-high of two. Forsberg has really shined as of late, and has led by example with the way he plays and the way he conducts himself in all situations. A big night again from the Cougars captain might be needed against the Tri-City Americans tonight.

Who’s in Goal:

Cougars goaltender Drew Owsley made his long-awaited return to the Tri-Cities on Sunday, and was denied of at least one point for his team thanks to the last minute goal by Brendan Shinnimin. There is no doubt that Drew Owsley will be ready to bounce back and give the Cougars a great chance to win tonight’s game as well. He’s been a ‘big game goalie’ his whole career, and tonight he has another chance to win a big one for the Cougars.


The main thing for the Cougars right now is to stay confident. They deserved better than what they got on Sunday, and they are more than capable of putting up a similar (if not better) performance against the Americans. The Cougars just need to stay true to their systems and do the things that have helped them find success as of late, and that should translate into some success tonight against the Tri-City Americans.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Americans 5 - Cougars 3

Sunday night in Kennewick, Washington the Prince George Cougars were 49 seconds away from earning at least one point against the Tri-City Americans, but Brendan Shinnimin potted his 56th of the season to snap a 3-3 tie and help lead the Americans to victory. Adam Hughesman chipped in three as well for the Ams while Alex Forsberg and Chase Witala had two-point nights for the Cougars in response.

The Cougars took a 3-1 lead into the first intermission thanks to some timely scoring in the first. After surrendering a 1-0 lead early, the Cougars bounced back with three unanswered goals.

Chase Witala got the Cats on the board after he banged home a Jake Mykitiuk rebound for his eighth of the season. Exactly seven minutes later Jesse Forsberg scored his fourth of the season off a brilliant pass from Caleb Belter and the Cougars led 2-1.

The younger Forsberg would add to the lead when he skated down the left-wing and roofed one over the shoulder of Eric Comrie for his 14th of the season. That goal spelt the end of Comrie’s night, and former Cougars goaltender Ty Rimmer replaced him.

Early in the second, Tri-City grabbed their second goal of the game when Adam Hughesman knocked home a Brendan Shinnimin pass for his 45th of the season. Then at 7:16, Hughesman completed the hat-trick when he beat Drew Owsley off a Justin Feser rebound.

The teams would skate into the second intermission tied at three, and the third period proved to be very exciting with both teams getting a couple of good looks at the net. Both Ty Rimmer and Drew Owsley kept the door shut until the final minute.

Brendan Shinnimin grabbed the puck in his own zone and he skated up the ice. Once he crossed the blueline, he moved a few feet to his left and fired a wrist-shot over the glove of Drew Owsley for his 56th of the season. Shinnimin would add an empty-netter 18 seconds later to seal the 5-3 victory for Tri-City.

30-26 were the final shots on goal in favor of Tri-City who finished the game zero-for-two on the power play. Prince George, for all of their efforts were not given a single man advantage throughout the night.

The loss moves the Cougars record to 22-45-0-2 and now they sit five points back of Victoria and six points back of Everett. The Cougars are still mathematically able to reach the post-season, but they would need to record five points over the course of their next three games, and hope that Victoria goes winless in both of their games against the Portland Winterhawks.

The Cougars will get back at it on Tuesday night with a rematch with the Tri City Americans.

Cougars - Americans Preview.

The Prince George Cougars continue their four-game road trip tonight in Kennewick, Washington where for the first time since late October, the Prince George Cougars will go head-to-head with the Tri-City Americans. The Cougars come into tonight’s game four points back of eighth placed Victoria and will need to try and find a way to earn points against one of the top teams in the Western Conference.



The Tri-City Americans head into tonight’s game 8-2-0-0 in their last 10 games. They have 99 points on the season and are just one point back of the Portland Winterhawks for first overall in the Western Conference. The Americans are as deep and as talented as any team in the league and you know that the Cougars will need to be at their best defensively in order to beat them.

Who’s Up Front:

The Tri-City Americans boast perhaps the top trio in the Western Hockey League with Brendan Shinnimin, Adam Hughesman and Patrick Holland. The three have combined for 336 points this season with Shinnimin leading the way with 125. Shinnimin has scored 20 of his 55 goals on the power play while Hughesman has chipped in 18 on the man advantage.

Who’s on D:

Defensively 18-year-old Zachary Yuen leads the Ams. He comes into tonight’s game as a +41 for the season and has 34 points to lead all Tri-City blueliners. Yuen will no doubt be one of the key focal points for the Americans on the blueline, and the Cougars will need to try and limit his effectiveness by any means necessary.

Who’s in Goal:

The Americans have two extremely capable goaltenders in Ty Rimmer and Eric Comrie. Rimmer of course spent last season in Prince George, and this season has really blossomed into one of the league’s most statistically successful goaltenders. Both Rimmer and Comrie have a goals against average well under three, and both provide the Ams with a great chance to win on a nightly basis.


The Americans are a lethal bunch five-on-five but are even more so when they have the power play. Heading into tonight’s contest the Americans are sixth in the WHL with a power play percentage of 23.7. If the Cougars can minimize their chance on the man advantage they’ll give themselves every opportunity to win.



Dean Clark’s team is heading into tonight’s game on a two-game winning streak and they sit just four points back of eighth place in the Western Conference with four games remaining in the regular season. Everett, Victoria, and Seattle are all in action tonight, so it will be key for the Cougars to take care of their own business with a victory and the rest should take care of itself. The Cougars are 22-44-0-2 this season and 3-7-0-0 in their last 10 games.

Who’s Up Front:

Troy Bourke had two goals and an assist in last night’s game, and has now tallied eight points in his past five games altogether. Bourke has taken his game to a new level as of late, and he will need to bring the same type of game tonight for the Cougars to have their best chance at winning.

Who’s on D:

Dean Clark called last night’s game one of the best defensive efforts of the season. He praised his team’s ability to silence Kelowna through the neutral zone, and tonight he hopes to see more of the same. The Cougars are going to need lots of shot blocks, physicality and hustle from everybody to find success defensively.

Who’s in Goal:

Cougars 20-year-old netminder Drew Owsley played three full seasons in a Tri-City uniform and won 76 career regular season games and 18 playoff games with the Americans over the course of his career. Tonight for the first time since a summer trade that sent him to Prince George, Drew Owsley will get to play some games in Tri-City in front of many of his friends and fans. Earlier this morning, Owsley called it a “surreal” feeling being back in the Tri-Cities, and tonight the Cougars probably MVP will get a chance to showcase his abilities in a visiting uniform. When you factor in the Cougars push to the playoffs, and Owsley’s return. Tonight has the potential to be an incredibly special night for Drew Owsley and the Cougars.


The Cougars power play is clicking at a great pace right now. The Cougars have scored five (official) power play goals in their last four games, and even when they aren’t scoring, they seem to be moving the puck around with a ton of confidence. If the Cougars can draw some penalties and keep their power play success going – They give themselves a much better chance of stealing some points from one of the top squads in the Western Conference.

Cats Kickoff Road-Trip With 3-1 Win in Kelowna.

The Prince George Cougars were able to keep their playoff hopes alive on Saturday night thanks to a 3-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. Troy Bourke paced the Cougars with two goals and an assist and Drew Owsley stopped 24 of the 25 shots he faced to lift the Cougars to their 22nd victory of the season.

After killing off two early penalties, the Cougars drew first blood offensively when Ricard Blidstrand buried his fifth of the season from the right point. Adam Brown stopped Caleb Belter point-blank, but the rebound came all the way back to Blidstrand who made no mistake.

Prince George kept their positive momentum going in the second period. They were given three power plays, and though they did not score, they sure came close on a number of different occasions. Chase Witala and Spencer Asuchak had the best chances to score, but Adam Brown did his part keeping the game at 1-0 through 40 minutes.

Late in the third, the Cougars added to their lead when Troy Bourke put home a Caleb Belter rebound for his 15th of the season on a power play. Bourke’s goal would prove to be an important one, because 19 seconds later the Kelowna Rockets moved within one when Myles Bell weaved through the defense and roofed one over the glove of Drew Owsley for his 15th of the season.

Kelowna then kept their pressure up and nearly tied the score, but Drew Owsley stood tall and the rest of the Cougars in front of him were very diligent in blocking shots and keeping the puck out of their net.

All of the hard work defensively paid off and Troy Bourke sealed the deal with an empty-netter for his 16th of the season.

The Cougars outshot Kelowna 31-25 and finished the game one-for-four on the power play. Kelowna went zero-for-two on their opportunities.

With the victory, the Cougars move within four points of eighth placed Victoria in the Western Conference standings. The Cougars have four games remaining in their regular season and are still mathematically alive in the race for eighth in the West.

The Cougars will keep their playoff quest going tomorrow night when they square off with the Tri City Americans.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cougars - Rockets Preview.

The Prince George Cougars and Kelowna Rockets will square off tonight for the eighth and final time this regular season. The Cougars are coming off a 3-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds on Wednesday, and are still in dire need of some victories down the stretch in order to keep pace with Everett and Seattle. The Cougars are still mathematically able to grab a playoff spot, but it’s going to require a winning streak, and some help.


The Kelowna Rockets are coming into tonight’s game with a record of 29-30-3-6 on the year. They are guaranteed to finish sixth in the Western Conference playoff race, and will no doubt be a tough out for anybody that faces them. Last night they had a winning streak snapped by Victoria. The Royals scored three in the third to defeat the Rockets 3-1.

Who’s Up Front:

Shane McColgan continues to lead the way offensively for the Kelowna Rockets. The 93-born California product has 62 points in 67 games, which leads the team. He’s got 45 assists on the season, and always seems to make life difficult for the Cougars.

Who’s on D:

Rockets defenceman Myles Bell leads all Kelowna blueliners with 40 points through 52 games this season. Last night, Bell appeared to be getting a regular shift as a forward, and that might be something we see tonight. Whether he’s up front or on the back-end, the Cougars need to pay close attention to Bell and keep him contained.

Who’s in Goal:

20-year-old goaltender Adam Brown played last night for Kelowna against Victoria and was especially sharp through the first two period. Granted he didn’t get a ton of help in the third, but was still credited with the loss to Victoria. Does Ryan Huska go back with Brown who is 6-1-0-0 against the Cougars this season? Or do the Cougars get their first look at Rockets backup Jordan Cooke?


The one player that the Cougars did not have to concern themselves with during their last two meetings with Kelowna was forward Brett Bulmer. Bulmer was out with an illness during those games and did not play. Bulmer has 57 points through 49 games this season and he leads the Rockets with 32 goals.


Heading into tonight’s game, the Prince George Cougars are five points back of eighth place in the Western Conference standings. With five games remaining they have 10 possible points up for grabs. A win tonight for the Cougars is practically essential if they want to keep pace with the teams ahead of them. So far they are 1-6-0-0 against Kelowna but their lone victory against the Rockets did come on the road.

Who’s Up Front:

Alex Forsberg had a strong game on Wednesday for the Cougars when they defeated Seattle 3-1. The younger Forsberg brother had the empty-netter and also an assist on his big brother’s winning goal in the second period. Alex Forsberg has shown this season that he can be a true difference maker, and he’ll need to be again tonight if the Cougars want to find success.

Who’s on D:

With the game-winner in the second period, Jesse Forsberg now has a new season-high for goals with three. The Cougars captain was named the first star on Wednesday not only for his offensive exploits, but defensively he was solid and reliable and no doubt he’ll be one of the main guys tasked with stopping the likes of Brett Bulmer and Shane McColgan. The Cougars captain will no doubt he up for the challenge.

Who’s in Goal:

Drew Owsley was rock-solid for the Cougars on Wednesday as he turned aside 31 of the 32 shots he faced for the victory. Owsley will need to continue to be sharp down the stretch during this march towards the post-season.


When the Cougars power play scores. They tend to win games. They are 14-10-0-1 in games when they score at least one goal on the power play. If the power play can keep it going tonight, the Cougars have a great shot at their second straight victory.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cougars 3 - Thunderbirds 1

The Prince George Cougars kept their playoff hopes alive and well with a 3-1 victory Wednesday against the Seattle Thunderbirds. Jesse Forsberg scored the game-winner on a second period power play, and Drew Owsley stopped 31 of 32 shots faced for the Cougars 21st victory.

Prince George opened the scoring just 3:41 into the first period when Jarrett Fontaine grabbed a pass from Reid Jackson and fired one off of Braedon Laroque and past Calvin Pickard for his fourth of the season.

The Cougars got into some penalty trouble in the late stages of the first, but they were able to kill off a lengthy five-on-three power play and keep the game 1-0 after one period of play.

Early in the second, Seattle converted just seconds after a Cougars penalty had expired. Luke Lockhart potted his 14th of the season off a Chance Lund rebound, and the game was tied at one.

After receiving four unanswered power plays, it was Seattle’s turn to get into some penalty trouble. The Cougars were given a lengthy five-on-three man advantage, and while they didn’t score on the five-on-three they converted shortly thereafter when Jesse Forsberg knocked in his third of the season off a beautiful pass from Troy Bourke to give the Cougars the 2-1 lead.

After a back-and-forth third period the Cougars put the game away when they went to a five-on-three power play late in the final period. Alex Forsberg scored into an empty –net with less than a second remaining to seal the deal for the Cougars and give them their 21st victory of the season.

Prince George finished the night two-for-six on the power play while Seattle went zero-for-six on their opportunities. Seattle outshot the Cougars 32-24.

The victory moves the Cougars a point closer to eighth. They trail eighth placed Victoria by four points, and each team has five games remaining in their season.

The Cougars will look to gain some more ground on eighth place when they head to Kelowna for a Saturday night showdown with the Rockets.

Cougars - Thunderbirds Part Two.

The Prince George Cougars and Seattle Thunderbirds square off for the fourth and final time this season tonight at CN Centre. The Cougars will look to bounce back from a 3-1 loss last night to Seattle. Two points tonight for the Cougars could move them within three points of eighth place in the Western Conference.


The Seattle Thunderbirds head into tonight’s game with a 3-7-0-0 record in their last 10 games. Yesterday’s victory marks the first time this season that Seattle was able to beat Prince George. Seattle comes into tonight’s game trailing eighth place by one point in the Western Conference standings.

Who’s Up Front:

The game-winning goal last night was scored by Thunderbirds captain Luke Lockhart. Lockhart comes into tonight’s game with 13 goals and 29 points which is third on the team. Lockhart was effective alongside Burke Gallimore and Colin Jacobs in last night’s contest.

Who’s on D:

16-year-old defenceman Shea Theodore leads the T-Birds blueliners with 28 points on the year and was named the game’s third star last night. His was strong at both ends of the ice, and used his speed and skill to his advantage. The Cougars will need to key in on Theodore and limit his abilities to pass the puck and make plays.

Who’s in Goal:

Calvin Pickard faced 22 shots and turned aside 21 for his 22nd victory of the season last night. Pickard was square to the puck, and was able to make some tough saves early to keep the game close. I’d expect another strong goaltending battle tonight between Calvin Pickard and either Drew Owsley/Devon Fordyce.


Defensively the Thunderbirds were strong in last night’s game, and they’ll need a similar performance tonight. They were strong against the walls, and were able to keep the Cougars to the outside a fair-bit throughout the game. The T’Birds will need a similar effort defensively if they want to find success again.


Heading into tonight’s game the Prince George Cougars hold a record of 20-44-0-2. They are five points back of eighth place with six games remaining. If the Cougars want to make the playoffs, they’ll need at least six points in their next six games, and will require some help along the way. The Cougars can help themselves tonight with a win at home against the Thunderbirds.

Who’s Up Front:

The Prince George Cougars were happy to have Alex Forsberg back in the lineup last night, and you know that he’ll be one of the one’s to watch tonight for the Cougars. Forsberg didn’t have the easiest night in his return, but he is too talented to stay silent for long. A big night from Alex Forsberg and his linemates will be a great confidence booster for the Cougars in a ‘must-win’ game.

Who’s on D:

20-year-old defenceman Cody Carlson will suit up in his 300th career game tonight. For Carlson it has been a lengthy journey with several ups and downs, but this season he has put it all together and is just two points shy of reaching 40 for the season. Carlson and Reid Jackson have looked strong together in recent games, and you know that Cody Carlson will try to do everything possible to help lead his team to victory tonight from the back end.

Who’s in Goal:

Cougars goaltender Drew Owsley is now 14-3-0-0 lifetime against Seattle through 19 appearances. The 20-year-old from Lethbridge will look to bounce back tonight and help lead his team to victory. Owsley stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced, but he may need to be even better tonight if the Cougars want to keep their playoff push going.


In each of the past two games, the Cougars have received excellent contributions from their fourth-line. Jake Mykitiuk has been especially impressive as of late, providing the Cougars with quality scoring chances and a two-game assist streak. Linden Springer has provided the necessary grit, and Austin Daae was a great compliment to those two last night, and was able to score his second of the season. If these three can continue their strong play, the rest of the team will surely feed off of it tonight against Seattle.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Thunderbirds 3 - Cougars 1

For the first time this season, the Seattle Thunderbirds were able to solve the Prince George Cougars. Luke Lockhart scored at 14:05 of the second period to break a 1-1 tie and the Seattle Thunderbirds secured a 3-1 victory against Prince George. Austin Daae had the lone goal for the Cougars in response.

It was a scoreless tie after 20 minutes, but the Cougars definitely led the way in chances. Jake Mykitiuk was robbed by Calvin Pickard mid-way through the first period. Seattle took a 12-7 edge in the shot department into period two.

The Cougars opened the scoring at 3:27 of the second period. Calvin Pickard stopped a Jake Mykitiuk shot, but Austin Daae was able to stuff the puck home from the side of the goal for his second of the season. The referees did go upstairs to confirm the goal, and it counted.

15 seconds later Seattle scored a strange one of their own. Brad Deagle put a shot towards the goal from the left-point, and his shot redirected off of the upper-body of a Cougars defender and in past Drew Owsley. For Deagle it was his third of the year, and it evened the score at one.

Luke Lockhart scored the eventual game-winner off a one-timer in the high slot at 14:55. The Cougars were unable to clear the puck, and Colin Jacobs found Lockhart at the side for his 13th goal of the season.

The Cougars had some chances in the third, but were unable to solve Calvin Pickard.

Seattle extended their lead at 11:01 of the third when Connor Sanvido raced down the right wing and beat Drew Owsley with a wrist-shot. Sanvido’s seventh of the season put the game away for Seattle who earned their 22nd victory of the season and defeated the Cougars for the first time in the 2011-2012 season. The Cougars record falls to 20-44-0-2 and they are now five points back of eighth place with six games remaining in their regular season.

Both teams were scoreless on the man advantage while Seattle outshot the Cougars 26-22 through sixty minutes.

Next up: The rematch. These teams will duke it out again tomorrow (Wednesday) night at CN Centre.

Cougars - Thunderbirds Preview

The Prince George Cougars and Seattle Thunderbirds will renew acquaintances tonight and tomorrow at CN Centre. These teams last faced off on Friday, December 9th in Seattle, where the Cougars delivered a 1-0 victory. The Cougars are 2-0-0-0 against Seattle this season, and will likely need two more victories in order to keep pace with Everett and Victoria in the Western Conference.


The Seattle Thunderbirds head into tonight’s game with a 2-8-0-0 record in their last 10 games. Steve Konowalchuk’s team has lost four straight, and they currently hold a two-point edge on the Cougars for ninth place in the Western Conference standings. The Thunderbirds are 21-41-1-1 this season.

Who’s Up Front:

Leading the way up front for Seattle is 20-year-old forward Burke Gallimore. The 20-year-old from Edmonton, Alberta leads the T-Birds with 38 points in 64 games played this season. With 20 goals, Gallimore leads the team, and this season marks the second year in a row that he has been able to eclipse the 20-goal mark.

Who’s on D:

16-year-old defenceman Shea Theodore leads the T-Birds blueliners with 28 points on the year. Theodore is a strong skater, and moves the puck extremely well from the back-end. Only Dave Sutter (four goals) has scored more goals than Theodore from the back-end.

Who’s in Goal:

Cougars fans will be treated to a fine display of goaltending this week from both Drew Owsley and Seattle netminder Calvin Pickard. The WHL career save leader has recorded all 21 victories for Seattle this season. He’s got a goals against average of 3.53 and a save percentage of .908.


Special teams are going to be a big factor this week for both teams. Heading into tonight’s game, the Seattle Thunderbirds have the league’s second-worst power play percentage of 15.0. If the T-Birds want to find success on the road, they’ll likely need some help from their power play. If they can get that, they’ll certainly put up a strong fight against the Cougars.


Dean Clark’s Prince George Cougars are coming off a 4-3 overtime victory against Spokane. The victory helped snap a seven game losing streak for the Cougars, and even though the Cougars have seen some lofty ups-and-downs this season, they still remain within striking distance of eighth place in the Western Conference. The Cougars are 20-43-0-2 and are two points back of Seattle for ninth in the West.

Who’s Up Front:

17-year-old draft eligible forward Troy Bourke continues to lead the Cougars offensively this season. Bourke had three points in Saturday’s victory against Spokane, and now has 48 points through 64 games this season. Bourke has eight points in his last eight games overall, and seems to find success with whoever he is lined up with. Saturday it was Caleb Belter and Chase Witala. We’ll see if Bourke can continue his push towards 50 points tonight.

Who’s on D:

Both Cody Carlson and Reid Jackson had multi-point nights on Saturday against Spokane, and all of a sudden this new-look pairing for the Cougars appears to be gelling. Cody Carlson had the game-winner on Saturday, and continues to be a consistent performer. Reid Jackson has had an up-and-down season due to injuries, but now appears healthy and has contributed greatly over the past handful of games.

Who’s in Goal:

Cougars goaltender Drew Owsley always seems to bring his best against the Seattle Thunderbirds. Owsley is 14-2-0-0 lifetime against Seattle with a save percentage of .911 against them. Fans should come to the rink for the goaltending matchup alone this week between Drew Owsley and Calvin Pickard.


The Prince George Cougars power play exploded on Saturday with three goals and all of a sudden the Cougars appear to have a little confidence on the man-advantage. The Cougars power play is still ranked 22nd in the league, but if the power play can heat up down the stretch, it will greatly help the Cougars push towards eighth place.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Siwak Named Player of the Month.

Cougars fans have chosen Daulton Siwak as the Hubbell Designer Goldsmiths Player of the Month for February. Siwak recorded five goals and eight points for the Cougars during the month of February. His February highlight took place on Friday, February 10th when he scored twice and added an assist during the Prince George Cougars 5-4 overtime victory against the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Since joining the Cougars on December 29th in a trade with Red Deer, Siwak has scored 10 goals, which leads the team for the second-half of the season.

Fans voted in an online poll at, with Siwak receiving 37 percent of the votes. Siwak will be honoured on the red carpet on Tuesday, March 6th when the Cougars take on the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Each month the Hubbell Designer Goldsmiths Player of the Month, as chosen by the Prince George Cougars fans, will receive a gift certificate for Shogun courtesy of Hubbell Designer Goldsmiths. At the end of the season fans will have the opportunity to vote for each of the five finalists to take the title as Player of the Month. The winner of that vote will receive a 14k handcrafted gold ring courtesy of Darrell Hubbell at Hubbell Designer Goldsmiths.

To vote for the Hubbell Designer Goldsmiths Player of the Month for March visit the Cougars website at

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Cougars Down the Chiefs in O.T.

The Prince George Cougars are still in the mix for the top eight of the Western Conference thanks to a 4-3 overtime victory on Saturday against Spokane. Cody Carlson scored the winner 18 seconds into the extra period, and Troy Bourke paced the Cougars with three assists in the victory. The Cougars power play was three-for-five.

The Spokane Chiefs drew first blood on a power play marker of their own. Mitch Holmberg potted his 26th of the season on a five-on-three man advantage to give his team the early lead.

Shortly past the mid-way point of the first, the Cougars got it back on a power play of their own. Caleb Belter whacked home a rebound for his sixth of the season, making it 1-1. Troy Bourke and Cody Carlson drew the assists.

Early in the second, Spokane took their lead back when Dominik Uher beat Drew Owsley for his 29th goal of the season.

This time there would be no second-period collapse though. Linden Springer evened the score at 6:55 of the second after he put home his own rebound for his second of the year. Both of Springer’s goals this season have come against the Spokane Chiefs.

Chase Witala gave the Cougars their first lead when he put home a Troy Bourke pass on a two-on-one. Witala’s seventh gave the Cats a 3-2 lead heading into the mid-way portion of the period.

Corbin Baldwin evened the score when he scored from the left-point. Baldwin’s shot went off of the Cougars defense and in past Drew Owsley and the score was 3-3 after 40.

The third period solved nothing, and overtime was needed.

Prince George started over-time on a power play as Spokane was assessed a too-many-men penalty with just 16 seconds left in regulation.

18-seconds into overtime, Cody Carlson one-timed a Troy Bourke pass by Eric Williams for his ninth of the season.

The victory gives the Cougars a record of 20-43-0-2 and they manage to stay five points back of Everett for eighth place in the West.

Prince George finished three-for-five on the power play, and were outshot 37-28.

Next up: Two huge games at home against the Seattle Thunderbirds on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Cougars - Chiefs Preview (Part Two)

The Prince George Cougars and Spokane Chiefs will meet tonight for the final time during the regular season. So far the Cougars are 2-1-0-0 against the Chiefs. The road team has won every game so far during this season series, and the Cougars are hoping to end that trend tonight in front of their home crowd.


Don Nachbaur’s Spokane Chiefs have won three straight games, and are now back in fourth place in the Western Conference standings. They head into action tonight one point ahead of the Vancouver Giants. The Chiefs are 35-22-4-3 overall this season.

Who’s Up Front:

Only one Chiefs forward registered more than a point in last night’s 4-1 victory and it was 18-year-old Mike Aviani. The product of Surrey, B.C. recorded two assists and has put up 42 points through 62 games this season for Spokane.

Who’s on D:

Spokane defenceman Davis Vandane was named the game’s first star last night for his efforts at both ends of the ice. The Yorkton, Saskatchewan native assisted on the game-winning goal, and provided the Chiefs with quality minutes. His size, poise and patience were on full display last night, and the Cougars will need to key in on Vandane and also the likes of Brenden Kichton and Corbin Baldwin on the back-end.

Who’s in Goal:

The Spokane Chiefs got reliable goaltending last night from Mac Engel who became the first Spokane goalie this season to defeat the Cougars. He stopped 17 of the 18 shots he faced, and had to make some tough saves late in the game to keep his team ahead by three. No word yet on whether Engel will go again for Spokane, but it would be hard to argue against it.


The Spokane Chiefs proved last night that they are not afraid to involve their defense in the offense. The first two goals from the Chiefs were a direct result of their defencemen making great plays to set up goals. The Cougars will need to protect the lanes a little better tonight and minimize the effectiveness of the Spokane blueliners.


The Prince George Cougars head into tonight’s game looking to snap a seven-game losing streak. The Cougars now find themselves five points out of eighth place in the Western Conference standings, and with only eight games remaining, time is starting to run out for the Cougars. A win tonight would put them right back into striking distance with two big matchups looming against Seattle on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Who’s Up Front:

Cougars forward Troy Bourke found the score-sheet again last night with an assist on Daulton Siwak’s first period goal. Bourke leads the Cougars with 45 points through 63 games, and has been one of the team’s most consistent players all season long. With Daulton Siwak’s status uncertain for tonight, even more of an onus will be played on Troy Bourke and his linemates to create offense against a tough Spokane team who doesn’t give up a whole lot.

Who’s on D:

Reid Jackson has certainly gained a lot of positive attention as of late for his play on defense for the Prince George Cougars. While Jackson’s numbers aren’t flashy, his steady play has been a huge asset for the Cougars. Jackson was used as a shut-down guy earlier this week against Medicine Hat, and was used alongside Cody Carlson for a large majority of last night’s game with Spokane. If Jackson can bring another strong effort tonight, it bodes well for the Cougars.

Who’s in Goal:

Drew Owsley turned aside 34 shots on 38 attempts last night for the Cougars, and certainly played well enough to earn another start tonight. But with two must-win games against Seattle coming up, perhaps this game tonight opens up the door for Devon Fordyce to get the call. Whoever goes for the Cougars tonight will need to be at their best, and perhaps steal a victory to help snap this losing skid.


The Prince George Cougars must receive secondary scoring tonight if they hope to be victorious. Troy Bourke and his linemates have been the most steady point producers as of late, and tonight perhaps more than ever, the rest of the forward corps will need to elevate their game and convert on the chances that they get. If the Cougars can head into the third period either tied for the lead or ahead, they’ll give themselves a great opportunity to win tonight.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Chiefs 4 - Cougars 1

For the first time in 2011-2012, the Spokane Chiefs were able to defeat the Prince George Cougars. Friday night in Prince George, Spokane scored twice in a 41-second span in the second period en route to a 4-1 victory.

The Cougars started strongly, and opened the scoring at 7:39 of the first period. Daulton Siwak, freshly off of being named Player of the Month for February scored his 15th of the season off his own rebound. Troy Bourke did a fine job of getting Siwak the puck in front of Mac Engel. Siwak did the rest to record his team-leading 10th goal in the second-half of the season.

Moments later, Campbell Elynuik and Chiefs captain Darren Kramer dropped the gloves and had a spirited tilt. Each combatant landed some good shots before they were separated by the linesman.

Spokane tied the score at 15:56 when Marek Kalus potted his 18th of the season. Cole Wedman held a shot in at the point, and then found Kalus in front of Drew Owsley who made no mistake.

Both teams traded chances early in the second period, but both Mac Engel and Drew Owsley were solid for their respective teams in goal.

Todd Fiddler gave Spokane the 2-1 lead at 10:53 of the second. Fiddler put home a Davis Vandane pass at the side of the goal for his 12th of the season. 41 seconds later the Chiefs added to their lead when Darren Kramer converted off a Mike Aviani pass to the left-wing side.

Spokane would take their 3-1 lead into the third, and would add a quick one early in the final frame. Dylan Walchuk whacked home his seventh of the season from in close on Drew Owsley. Walchuck was able to find the loose puck underneath Drew Owsley and shovel it home.

The Cougars were given a string of late power plays, and while they didn’t score, they sure moved the puck around well. Mac Engel had to make a couple of big saves towards the end of the game to keep the game at 4-1.

Spokane finished with a 38-18 edge in shots. Neither team was able to record a power play marker.

With the loss, the Cougars are now five points back of the Everett Silvertips for eighth place in the Western Conference standings. The Cougars have eight games remaining, with four games at home and four on the road.

Spokane pushed the season series to 2-1-0-0 in favor of the Cougars.

These teams meet again tomorrow night (Saturday) at CN Centre.

Cougars- Chiefs Preview.

The Prince George Cougars continue their eight-game homestand tonight when they host the Spokane Chiefs for the first time this season. So far the Cougars are 2-0-0-0 against Spokane having posted both victories away from home.


Don Nachbaur’s Spokane Chiefs are heading into tonight’s game having won two straight games against the Victoria Royals. The Chiefs are 4-6-0-0 in their last 10 games, and right now they sit fifth in the Western Conference just one point back of the Vancouver Giants. The Chiefs overall record is 34-22-4-3.

Who’s Up Front:

Leading the way offensively for Spokane up front is import center Dominik Uher. Uher leads the Chiefs with 27 goals and is second on the team with 58 points in 54 games played. Uher is shifty, strong and fast. He has also scored six short-handed goals for Spokane this season.

Who’s on D:

The Spokane Chiefs leading scorer is defenceman Brenden Kichton. The 19-year-old product of Spruce Grove, Alberta has 62 points through 62 games and leads all WHL defencemen in scoring this season. He’s got 22 points on the power play and will likely log a ton of ice-time against the Cougars top forwards. Kichton is the total package, and will need to be kept in check this weekend.

Who’s in Goal:

The Spokane Chiefs have a solid goaltending tandem of Mac Engel and Eric Williams. Engel is 26-17-1-2 this season and has a goals against average of 2.74. Williams is 14-20-3-2 and has a save percentage of .879.


Aside from Brenden Kichton, the Spokane Chiefs roster may lack the star-power compared to other teams in the league. But don’t let the lack of star-power fool you. Spokane is a gritty, fast, and hard-working group that is well-coached and well conditioned. They have five players on their roster with 40-or-more points and four more with over 30. They can come at you in waves, and the Cougars will need to minimize their mistakes if they want to find success this weekend.


The Prince George Cougars head into this weekend needing points more than ever. With nine games left in their regular season, the Prince George Cougars are four points back of eighth and six points back of seventh. The problem the Cougars have is that Everett and Victoria still have some games against each other, as do the Thunderbirds and Silvertips. It is imperative that the Cougars take advantage of these games at home this weekend if they want to keep pace with Seattle, Everett and Victoria.
Who’s Up Front:

Cougars forward Greg Fraser notched his 16th goal of the season on Wednesday against Medicine Hat. The goal ties Fraser’s season-high for goals. The Cougars will need Fraser and his linemates Campbell Elynuik and Caleb Belter to provide similar secondary scoring this weekend. If these three returning players can all play to their strengths this weekend against Spokane, the Cougars will be well positioned for victory.

Who’s on D:

Cody Carlson was the hero for the Cougars back on December 10th in Spokane. Carlson assisted on the game-tying goal and also had the shootout winner for the Cougars who were able to erase a 3-0 deficit to defeat Spokane. The 20-year-old Carlson is closing in on game number 300 for his career, and you know that he’ll need to be at his best this weekend against a tough Spokane opponent.

Who’s in Goal:

Drew Owsley is 2-0-0-0 this season against Spokane and you know that he’ll be up for the challenge tonight. Owsley is no stranger to the Chiefs, having seen a lot of them during his time in Tri City. Hopefully that familiarity can help Owsley this weekend. Cougars backup Devon Fordyce hasn’t played since Monday, February 21st in Portland. He’ll be ready if/when called upon this weekend as well.


Confidence. The Cougars are winless in their last six games, but are heading into a stretch of games where they’ll be facing teams that they have not yet lost too this season. The Cougars need to harness as much confidence as possible in preparation for tonight’s game and beyond. If the Cougars can win these next four games at home, they’ll be able to keep pace with everybody else in the race for a playoff spot. The Cougars went into Spokane twice and won in a hostile environment, and now they’ll look to take advantage of their meetings at home. It starts and ends with confidence.