Cougars Host the Victoria Royals Tonight at the CN Centre.
Tonight at the CN Centre the Prince George Cougars go head-to-head with the Victoria Royals for the first of eight meetings in 2013-2014. So far these teams share identical 2-3 records, and both teams will be looking to build off of their respective victories on Saturday night.
Dave Lowry’s Victoria Royals are coming off a shootout victory against the Kelowna Rockets on Saturday, and will be looking to keep that positive momentum going tonight. Both of Victoria’s wins this season have come on the road.
Who’s Up Front:
Buffalo Sabres prospect Logan Nelson is off to a hot start in 2013-2014. The 20-year-old forward leads all Royals scorers with five points in five games. Last season Nelson played in just five games against the Cougars and recorded five points. Keeping Nelson contained will be a must for the Cougars this week.
Who’s on D:
The Victoria Royals boast one of the most versatile group of defencemen in the Western Conference. They can beat you with skill (Hicketts, Cote) and toughness (Kanzig and Fransoo) and can be a very difficult team to play against when they are hitting their stride defensively. Sophomore defenceman Joe Hicketts is poised for a big second season in the WHL and will definitely be a player to watch for Victoria tonight.
Who’s in Goal:
The goaltending tandem of Coleman Vollrath and Patrik Polivka gives the Royals a chance to win on any given night. Polivka is off to a 1-3 start this season, but was 28-16-2-3 a season ago and was 5-0 against the Cougars. Coleman Vollrath is 1-0 to start the year and was 1-2 against Prince George in 2012-2013.
No Victoria Royal enjoyed more success against the Cougars than 19-year-old forward Branden Magee. Magee led all Royals with eight points in eight games against the Cougars last season, and has recorded 20-or-more goals in each of the past two seasons.
Mark Holick’s Prince George Cougars head into tonight’s game riding a modest one-game winning streak. Saturday against Kamloops the Cougars outshot the Blazers 46-27 and played a very strong game from start to finish. The Cougars haven’t fared well against Victoria at home in each of the past two seasons, and a better record against Victoria would go a long way in helping the Cougars secure a playoff berth this season.
Who’s Up Front:
The trio of Alex Forsberg, Klarc Wilson and Troy Bourke were outstanding in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Kamloops. The veteran trio combined for five points, and factored in on two of the team’s three goals. Forsberg looked right at home playing center, and Klarc Wilson did a great job of opening up space so that Forsberg and Bourke could flash some of their offensive creativity. Another big night from Wilson, Bourke and Forsberg will be in order for the Cougars to secure two points.
Who’s on D:
Defensively the Cougars have been either boom or bust to start the season. The Cougars did a great job of limiting the shots against last weekend against Kamloops and hopefully they can repeat that type of performance tonight against the Royals. Victoria is a very gifted offensive team which means that the Cougars will need to keep things simple and disciplined in the defensive zone. If the Cougars can keep Victoria under the 30-shot mark, that would be a major positive.
Who’s in Goal:
Rookie Ty Edmonds has backstopped the Cougars to both of their victories to start the 2013-2014 season. In both of his starts, Edmonds has only surrendered one goal against, and has made timely saves to keep the Cougars ahead. If the Cougars can score first and give Ty Edmonds a lead, he has shown that he can protect it.
Special teams have also been either boom or bust for the Cougars through five games. When the Cougars score on the power play, they win. When the Cougars kill all their penalties, they win. When the Cougars take a ton of penalties, they lose. When they fail to score on their power play, they lose. Staying disciplined against Victoria is a MUST for the Cougars this week. It’s also important that they capitalize on their power play chances when they arrive. If the Cougars can win the special teams war, they likely win tonight’s game.
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