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March 24, 2017 8:58 pm

Cougars in Red Deer

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 @ 12:40 PM

Amidst the chaos of Trade Deadline 2017 it’s important to remember  the Cougars also have a game to play tonight!

Despite a busy morning on the trade front, the Cougars are focusing on the task at hand tonight as they kick off a four-game in five-night swing through Alberta. Tonight they kick off the trip in Steve O’Rourke’s old stomping grounds: Red Deer!

RED DEER REBELS

OVERVIEW:

Record: 18-17-4-2

Home Record: 12-6-2-0

Last Game: A 3-1 loss in Lethbridge on Saturday

Goals For/Goals Against: 133 GF/152 GA

Power Play: 17.1% (16th in WHL)

Penalty Kill: 76.9% (15th in WHL)

Leading Scorers: Michael Spacek (31 GP – 16G – 26A – 42PTS), Brandon Hagel (38GP – 18G – 21A – 39PTS), Colton Bobyk (41GP – 4G – 30A – 34PTS)

WHO’S UP FRONT:

Michael Spacek: The Winnipeg Jets prospect leads the Rebels in scoring with 42 points in 31 games. He played a big role for the Czech Republic in the recent World Junior tournament and is an offensive game-breaker that can change the course of a game in a flash.

Brandon Hagel: Buffalo Sabres prospect Brandon Hagel leads the Rebels in goals with 18 and sits second on the team in scoring behind Spacek. Hagel’s previous season high for points in 47, so he’s on pace to smash that mark in 2016-17.

WHO’S ON D:

Colton Bobyk: The 20-year-old power play specialist has had another strong season for the Rebels. He leads all Rebels defencemen with 34 points through 41 games and has chipped in with 13 power play points so far this season. Given the recent departure of talented defenceman Josh Mahura, Bobyk will be forced to play an even bigger role at both ends of the ice tonight against the Cougars.

WHO’S IN GOAL:

Riley Lamb: The 18-year-old has played a majority of the minutes between the pipes for Brent Sutter’s club this season and has posted a record of 10-10-1-1. His counterpart is 19-year-old Lasse Petersen who is 8-6-3-0. Both goaltenders have similar save percentages hovering just below .900 and the goals-against-average between the two isn’t too far off either as Petersen has a 3.21 while Lamb is a 3.43.

X-FACTOR:

Adam Musil:  The St. Louis Blues prospect is a big bodied veteran who can do a lot of damage in all areas of the ice. This season he’s got 14 goals and 14 assists through 33 games and also recently represented the Czech Republic at the World Junior championships. He’s dangerous from in close and will be a handful defensively for the Cougars d-corps.

PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS

OVERVIEW:

Record: 28-11-2-0

Road Record: 14-5-1-0

Last Game: A 4-2 home ice victory over the Victoria Royals on Saturday

Goals For/Goals Against: 139 GF/106 GA

Power Play: 16.4% (17th in WHL)

Penalty Kill: 87.1% (1st in WHL)

Leading Scorers: Nikita Popugaev (42GP – 23G – 30A – 53PTS), Jansen Harkins (35GP – 10G – 30A – 40PTS), Brad Morrison (40GP – 16G – 23A – 39PTS)

WHO’S UP FRONT:

Nikita Popugaev: The big Russian scored his first goal in a Cougars uniform on Saturday against Victoria and looked darn good alongside Jansen Harkins and Jesse Gabrielle on a line. The more he plays the more comfortable he’s bound to become on his new team and hopefully he can continue to put up points for his new club during this challenging road swing through Alberta.

Jansen Harkins: Had a goal on Saturday to push his point totals to 40 on the season. The Winnipeg Jets prospect has been consistently putting up points all season for the Cougars and they’ll need a big effort from him tonight against a pretty physical, rough and tumble Red Deer Rebels team.

WHO’S ON D:

Tate Olson: Scored a power play goal on Saturday to give him four now for the season. The Vancouver Canucks prospect has been awesome for the Cougars over the past month or so, and a big reason why is that he’s made some tremendous strides forward in the defensive zone. Olson will likely get a ton of minutes tonight alongside Shane Collins against some of the Rebels top players.

WHO’S IN GOAL:

Ty Edmonds: The Cougars 20-year-old is looking primed for his fourth straight start after he made 22 saves on 23 shots faced Saturday against Victoria at home. Edmonds is just five wins shy of the all-time franchise record for wins by a goaltender. He’s been the Cougars MVP this season and hopefully he’s excited for the task at hand tonight.

X-FACTOR:

Confidence: Even though Radovan Bondra and Tanner Wishnowski will not play tonight for the Cougars, it’s got to feel good as a fan, player, coach, staff member or supporter of this organization knowing that Todd Harkins has done all he can to put this team in an excellent position to pursue a championship. Sure it will take awhile for things to gel together, but the Cougars are ‘all in’ and that should be a huge motivator tonight for the Cougars as they begin an important road trip through Alberta.

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