Cougars Set Sights on A Sweep of the Royals.
Chapter one of the 2013-2014 Cougars- Royals rivalry went to the home team last night in Prince George. The Cougars defeated the Royals 2-0 thanks to a 31 save shutout from Cougars netminder Ty Edmonds and some timely first period offense. Tonight the Cougars will look to do something that they’ve only managed to do twice in the past two years, and that is sweep an opponent in back-to-back games at home.
Dave Lowry’s Victoria Royals come into tonight’s game with a 2-4 record. They are 2-1 on the road and 2-2 against teams in the B.C. Division. Last night’s 2-0 setback was their first road loss of the 2013-2014 season.
Who’s Up Front:
Despite Victoria’s loss, they can’t exactly feel ashamed about their efforts offensively. They put 31 shots towards the Cougars goal, and many of their shots were quality chances, especially early on. Ben Walker, Logan Nelson, Austin Carroll and Branden Magee certainly had chances, but none were able to put the puck past Ty Edmonds.
Who’s on D:
Even though he was held off the score sheet, 17-year-old rearguard Joe Hicketts showed flashes of brilliance in last night’s game. Hicketts controlled the play at both ends, and was one of many Victoria players who had their quality scoring chances denied by Ty Edmonds. Hicketts is as a smooth a skater as it gets for a player his age, and look for him to once again be a big factor for the Royals tonight in Prince George.
Who’s in Goal:
The Royals elected to go with Coleman Vollrath in last night’s game instead of the veteran Patrik Polivka. Vollrath was solid in the second and third periods, and did what he could to keep his team within reach of the 2-0 deficit. That said, it would appear that Patrik Polivka will get the nod tonight. Polivka was 5-0 last season against the Cougars.
Victoria went zero-for-six on the power play in last night’s game. Even if they score on one of those chances, it’s an entirely different game. Tonight the Royals will look to find that power play confidence that has eluded them in the early stages of the season while the Cougars are hoping that the special teams will once again go their way.
Mark Holick’s Prince George Cougars head into tonight’s game with an even 3-3 record to start their season. After dropping their home opener on Friday against Kamloops, the Cougars have responded with two consecutive home victories, both against B.C. Division opponents. Tonight they’ll look to climb above .500 with a win against the Royals.
Who’s Up Front:
20-year-old forward Klarc Wilson continues to supply the Cougars with a little bit of everything. Whether it’s killing penalties, finishing checks or scoring goals, Wilson has done it, and done it consistently. Wilson leads all Cougars with four goals on the young campaign, and from day one of training camp, Wilson has taken the bull by the horns and provided the Cougars with a ton of leadership. Another big night from Wilson and his linemates Alex Forsberg and Troy Bourke would go a long way in helping the Cougars secure another two points.
Who’s on D:
With an assist in last night’s game, 18-year-old Joseph Carvalho now has a modest two-game point streak. Carvalho has also been very steady in his own end and has blocked shots, protected the net and given the Cougars some reliable minutes over the past handful of games. Carvalho is still searching for that first ever WHL goal, but it seems like it’s only a matter of time before it happens. Could tonight be the night?
Who’s in Goal:
Ty Edmonds is on some kind of roll right now for the Prince George Cougars. The 17-year-old rookie earned his first career WHL shutout in last night’s game against Victoria, and has now put together a 3-0 record to start the year. Edmonds has a goals-against-average of 2.27 and a save percentage of .921. Over his past three starts, Edmonds has shown that he can be a real difference-maker, and another strong showing tonight will be needed if the Cougars want to sweep this weeknight double-header with the Royals.
A fast offensive start was crucial for the Cougars in last night’s game, and they delivered with a goal just 67 seconds into the game. Tonight, the Cougars will to start strong again, as the Royals are going to be bound, determined and hungry for a split. If the Cougars can once again score first, and set the tone physically – they could very well earn their first home sweep of the 2013-2014 season.
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