Ethan O’Rourke scored twice, including in overtime, as the Prince George Cougars toppled the Victoria Royals 4-3 Sunday afternoon at the Langley Events Centre.
O’Rourke’s game-winner came on the power-play with less than a minute left in OT. The Cougars’ forward buried a rebound after Josh Maser had his shot blocked from the slot; the puck skipped over to O’Rourke’s stick for the tap in.
Aaron Boyd and Josh Maser also scored for the Cougars, who picked up their third win on their five-game pre-season road trip. Taylor Gauthier and Isaiah DiLaura split the goaltending duties, as Gauthier stopped 10 of 11 and DiLaura turned aside 15 of 17.
Victoria’s Igor Martynov scored twice in the third period, erasing a 3-1 deficit and forcing OT. but it O’Rourke saving the day, scoring on the Cougars’ four-on-three power-play with just 42-seconds left on the clock. Jared Legien scored the other Royals’ goal in the second period.
Prince George’s penalty-kill was excellent once again, going four-for-four and producing not one but two short-handed goals. Going back to Saturday against Everett, the Cougars’ PK went 10-for-10 over their final two games of the weekend.
The Cougars opened the scoring in the first and doing so with a man in the penalty-box. O’Rourke broke in the Victoria zone on a two-on-one rush, but elected not to pass and he chose wisely. O’Rourke dragged the puck to the middle and fired a wrist-shot up and over the goalie’s glove at 6:04. 33-seconds later the Cougars were at it again short-handed.
Aaron Boyd stripped the puck away from a Victoria defenceman in the neutral zone and broke the other way down the middle on a breakaway. Boyd didn’t waste the opportunity, quickly going upstairs underneath the cross-bar at 6:37.
Victoria was the only team to find the back of the net in the second, as Jared Legien cut into the Cougars’ lead at 7:41. The Royals forward scooped up a rebound and tucked it around Taylor Gauthier to cut Prince George’s lead in half.
Just before that Victoria goal, the Cougars had a couple of good looks to pad their lead. O’Rourke just misfired over the net from in close and seconds before Legien’s goal, Ben Coppinger missed on a rebound at the side of the net.
The Cougars did restore their two-goal lead early in the third. Josh Maser snuck his way to the top of the crease and potted a rebound past the outstretched leg of the Victoria netminder at 1:37. However, the celebration was short lived.
12-seconds after Maser made it 3-1, Martynov answered right back for the Royals, going up top, over the shoulder of DiLaura at the near post. Then Victoria was given a golden opportunity to tie it.
With under seven-minutes left in the third, the Cougars took back-to-back penalties, handing the Royals a five-on-three power-play for nearly a minute. The PK did kill-off both penalties but Victoria and Martynov did come knocking again.
Inside the final three-minutes of the frame, the Royals tied it up. Martynov was at it again, but this time finding a rebound and quickly sliding it around the pad of DiLaura at 17:26.
In OT, Prince George caught a break, as Victoria’s Dino Kambeitz was called for hooking halfway through the extra frame, setting up a four-on-three power-play for PG. With 17-seconds left on the man-advantage, it was O’Rourke playing hero, as he scored on a rebound after parking himself in front of the net.
FINAL SCORE: 4-3 Prince George
Shots: 38-28 Prince George
Power-Plays: Prince George 1-7 Victoria 0-4
The Cougars are now 3-2 in the pre-season and are off until Friday, September 15, when they host the Kamloops Blazers at the CN Centre in their final pre-season game. The season and home opener is September 22 against the Spokane Chiefs. Ticket information is available at www.pgcougars.com
-Prince George Cougars