Cougars Head to Kamloops To Face the Blazers.
For the third time in eight games, the Prince George Cougars and the Kamloops Blazers will square off tonight in Kamloops. Although it’s still technically early, it’s an important game for both teams as both Kamloops and Prince George find themselves a game below .500 in what so far has been a very tight bottom fourth of the B.C. Division. So far the Cougars are 1-1 against the Blazers, but both of those games were played in P.G. in late September.
Dave Hunchak’s Kamloops Blazers head into tonight’s game with a 2-3 record. Last night at home they defeated the Victoria Royals 4-3. So far every game Kamloops has played has been against a B.C. Division opponent and obviously they are hoping to continue their recent success against the Cougars in Kamloops. The Cougars have only won once in Kamloops dating back to September 24th, 2011.
Who’s Up Front:
Since joining Kamloops from the Red Deer Rebels, 20-year-old forward Tyson Ness has provided his new club with steady goal scoring through the first five games. Ness leads the Blazers with four goals on the season, and two of those came in Prince George against the Cougars last weekend.
Who’s on D:
So far the Blazers defence has been led by 18-year-old Prince George product Josh Connolly. Connolly had two goals and two assists against the Cougars back in September, and finds himself tied for the team lead in scoring through five games. Connolly has shown that he can be responsible defensively all while providing Kamloops with a legitimate offensive option from the back end.
Who’s in Goal:
Last night the Blazers started Bolton Pouliot who grabbed his first win as a Blazer in a 4-3 decision over Victoria. The Cougars will likely face Taran Kozun tonight, who made a heck of an impression in Prince George a few weeks ago. Kozun stopped 80 of the 85 shots he faced en route to a 1-1 split against the Cougars. His goals-against-average currently sits at 3.06 and his save percentage is .924.
So far through seven games, the Prince George Cougars are 3-0 when they score first, and 0-4 when they don’t. If the Kamloops Blazers can get on the score sheet early and force the Cougars to play from behind, they are going to give themselves a strong opportunity to win at home. As was previously mentioned, the Cougars have had a tough time winning in Kamloops over the past two seasons, and an early lead would certainly go along way for Kamloops to secure a .500 record and a 2-1 season record against the Cougars tonight.
Mark Holick’s Prince George Cougars head into tonight’s game with a 3-4 record on the year and a 1-2 record away from the CN Centre. Earlier this week the Cougars split a weeknight double-header with Victoria winning 2-0 and losing 1-0 in the process. A lack of goal-scoring and power play success have been two early hurdles for the Prince George Cougars to deal with, and hopefully tonight is the night that they can start their turnaround.
Who’s Up Front:
Through the first seven games, the Prince George Cougars have yet to score more than three goals in a game. It’s a strange stat given the fact that this team has offense on all four lines, but for whatever reason they haven’t been able to strike often in the early going. Klarc Wilson leads the team with four goals, but other than Wilson, only Troy Bourke and Brad Morrison have scored more than once. Hopefully tonight can be the night when other offensive guys like Zach Pochiro, Alex Forsberg, Jansen Harkins and Chase Witala can get rolling.
Who’s on D:
Over their past three games, the Prince George Cougars have only surrendered two goals against. Collectively the Cougars have been blocking more shots, and making better plays in their defensive zone, which has greatly aided goaltender Ty Edmonds. This type of defensive success will need to continue tonight. Teams generally win on the road because of strong defense and timely offense. The Cougars will need all 20 skaters to buy in defensively tonight while also chipping in offensively when it’s safe and possible to do so.
Who’s in Goal:
Cougars goaltender Ty Edmonds has only surrendered three goals against in his first four WHL starts. Edmonds has stopped 101 of the 104 shots he’s faced over that span and has a save-percentage of .971 and a goals-against-average of 0.75. For the season, Edmonds has a goals-against-average of 2.02 and a .928 save percentage which are both currently the fourth best totals in the entire WHL respectively.
Through seven games, Cougars captain Troy Bourke leads the team with six points. The good news: All three of Troy Bourke’s goals have been scored on the power play. The bad news: Those are the only three power play goals the Cougars have scored. Tonight the Cougars need the power play to click. Even if they don’t score a goal, it’s important for them to use the power play to their advantage and to help build them some positive momentum over the course of the game. Special teams are a determining factor in most WHL games, and tonight’s should be no exception.
Previous Story - Next Story
Return to Home