Cougars Set for Rematch With Everett.
Less than 24 hours removed from a shootout loss to Everett, the Prince George Cougars are set to get back at it tonight at home. Tonight for a third time in 10 games, the Cougars will square off with Kevin Constantine’s Everett Silvertips. These two teams put forth a highly entertaining and even battle last night through 65 plus minutes, and there is no reason why tonight should be any different.
The Everett Silvertips are off to a terrific 6-1-1 start to the 2013-2014 season. They have only surrendered 16 goals through their first eight games, and are tied with the Medicine Hat Tigers for the best winning percentage in the entire Western Hockey League. Last night’s victory improved their season series record to 2-0 against Prince George.
Who’s Up Front:
20-year-old Joshua Winquist did not disappoint last night for the visitors. The veteran scored on a five-on-three power play and also scored the first goal in the shootout to give his team an early edge. Winquist leads all Silvertips forwards with seven goals, four of which have come against the Cougars. Finding a way to keep Winquist and his linemates in check will be important tonight for the Cats.
Who’s on D:
San Jose Shark’s prospect Mirco Mueller scored the game-tying goal for Everett last night, and put forth a strong effort at both ends of the ice. Mueller and his defense partner Austin Adam are both very tough to play against, and you can certainly see why the San Jose Shark’s though highly enough of Mueller to select him in the first round (18th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft.
Who’s in Goal:
If it isn’t broke, why fix it? Austin Lotz has carried a bulk of the load for the Silvertips here in the early stages, and has been excellent while doing so. Lotz stopped 30 of the 32 shots he faced last night to secure his fifth win of the season. Will Coach Kevin Constantine give Lotz the nod again tonight? Or will backup Daniel Cotton be thrust into action as Everett plays their fourth game in five nights?
A victory tonight for Everett would give them a perfect 4-0 record in their current road trip. Good teams would be content with six of a possible eight points on the road. But great teams never settle, and tonight we will certainly see how much fuel is left in the Everett tank. Winning has to be their only motivator tonight because the bus ride home would be a lot different at 3-1 compared to 4-0.
Mark Holick’s Prince George Cougars are 4-4-0-1 on the season, and are currently ranked third in the B.C. division. Last night they matched Everett stride for stride and shot for shot, but were on the losing end in a bizarre shootout which still has folks around Prince George scratching their heads this morning. Be that as it may, the Cougars need to completely turn the page on the ending of last night’s game and bring their best in tonight’s rematch.
Who’s Up Front:
Zach Pochiro has now tallied two goals and four points over the past two games. The 19-year-old St. Louis Blues prospect is playing some excellent hockey at this time, and is aided by new linemates Chase Witala and Alex Forsberg. The above three contributed to both of the Cougars goals in last night’s game, and were also very responsible in their own end. Another big night from Pochiro, Forsberg and Witala would go a long way for the Cougars in their quest for victory tonight.
Who’s on D:
For a fifth straight game, the Cougars put forth a strong defensive effort keeping a potent Everett offense to only two regulation goals. The Cougars have only allowed four goals in their past five games, and continue to make blocking shots a top priority. Consistency and structure are big keys to the Cougars defensive success, and tonight the Cougars will have another opportunity to build on some of their recent defensive success. If they can keep Everett to two goals or less again tonight, they’ll have done their job.
Who’s in Goal:
One of the biggest contributors to the Cougars recent defensive success has been goaltender Ty Edmonds who once again put forth a strong outing in last night’s game. Edmonds stopped 28 of the 30 shots directed his way in regulation, and also stopped three of the five shootout attempts against him. Edmonds could very well be in line for his sixth straight start tonight, but Mark Holick could very well decide to give Brett Zarowny a look. Either way, the Cougars have a lengthy road trip ahead, and both goaltenders are bound to get a good look over the next week or so.
The Prince George Cougars have now played nine games this season, and have failed to score more than three times in any of them. Sooner or later the Cougars are going to need a breakout game offensively, and there’s no better time than right now to get things started. Troy Bourke, Klarc Wilson and Jansen Harkins were held off the score sheet last night, and hopefully those three can bounce back with some offensive success tonight. If the Cougars can get two or three of their lines chipping in offensively on a nightly basis, they’re going to make things much easier on themselves. The talent is there, now it’s just a question of getting the cylinders clicking all at once.
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