Cougars Earn a Point in Kamloops.
The gap that separates the Prince George Cougars from a playoff spot is now at four points after Saturday’s game in Kamloops. Down 3-1 in the third period, the Cougars clawed their way back to force overtime, before ultimately dropping a 4-3 decision to the Kamloops Blazers. Cole Ully paced the Blazers with two goals while Todd Fiddler responded with a goal and two assists for the Cougars.
From the drop of the puck, the last placed Kamloops Blazers meant business. Just 2:14 into the game, Mitch Friesen raced in on a two-on-one and fired a shot past Ty Edmonds’ glove for his first ever WHL goal.
Kamloops kept the pressure on, but the Cougars dug their heals in, and prevented any further offense. They killed two penalties in the first period, and escaped down only 1-0 despite being outshoot 11-5.
Colin Shirley extended the Blazers lead to 2-0 at the 5:48 mark of the second. Carson Bolduc wrapped the puck around the goal and found Shirley in front of the net, and Shirley did the rest, burying his 11th.
Klarc Wilson moved the Cougars back within a goal at the 13:17 mark of the second off a two-on-one rush with Zach Pochiro. For Wilson it was his 23rd goal of the season.
Back came the Blazers though as Cole Ully restored the two-goal lead for Kamloops with a goal at 17:10 of the second on a play that was eerily similar to the second Blazers goal.
Late in the period, the Cougars took another penalty and would have to start the third period on the penalty kill. Shots on goal favored Kamloops by a 22-14 margin after two periods.
Penalty troubles continued for the Cougars early in the third, and the Blazers were given a brief five-on-three power play chance. Fortunately the Cougars were able to kill off the five-on-three and a few seconds later made the game 3-2 thanks to some shorthanded heroics from Todd Fiddler.
Fiddler took a pass off of the left wing boards, and raced in alone on Boulton Pouliot. Fiddler launched a high shot over Pouliot’s glove and in to give him 38 goals, and more importantly helped inch the Cougars back within one.
Just over two minutes later, Troy Bourke raced in on a two-on-one with Fiddler and roofed a shot over Pouliot to even the score at three.
From there, the teams traded chances, but 60 minutes would not be enough and for a third straight meeting in Kamloops between these to teams, overtime was needed.
Cole Ully ended the game at 3:27 of overtime after he followed up an Edson Harlacher chance from in close. Ully’s 28th of the season gives Kamloops their first win in 12 games, and robs the Cougars of a very valuable second point that was up for grabs.
Kamloops outshot the Cougars 37-25, but finished the night zero-for-five on the power play. The Cougars only had two power play chances, but did not capitalize.
With the overtime loss, the Cougars record now sits at 24-29-3-5. The single point moves them within four points of the Tri-City Americans who dropped a 7-0 score on Saturday to Spokane. The Cougars have still played in two more games than Tri-City, and will make that three when they head to Seattle tomorrow night to face the Thunderbirds.
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