Cougars notch second straight win

 

The Prince George Cougars are going home with back-to-back wins, after taking down the Kamloops Blazers 6-2 Wednesday night at the Sandman Centre.

BOXSCORE

Kody McDonald scored twice in the first period and Joel Lakusta, Aaron Boyd, Nikita Popugaev and Josh Maser also lit the lamp. Dennis Cholowski also chipped in with two assists and Tavin Grant posted his second straight win, kicking out 17 shots.

Connor Zary and Nic Holowko scored for the Blazers who tied a franchise record with their sixth consecutive loss to start the season. Dylan Ferguson started for the Blazers but was replaced by Max Palaga in the second period, after allowing six goals on 29 shots.

It was another good start for P.G., as Lakusta spotted the visitors a lead just five and a half minutes into the first period. The puck came back to Lakusta and his point-shot went off the chest of Ferguson, then up and over the goalie’s shoulder, before Ferguson inadvertently batted it into his own net with his stick.

McDonald doubled the Cougars lead three-minutes later, firing a shot from the slot past Ferguson’s glove and inside the post. Cholowski moved down from the blue-line before dropping the puck back to McDonald who scored his second in as many games at 8:23.

The scoring picked up after that goal, as the two teams combined for three goals over a four-minute stretch in the back half of the period.

First, it was Kamloops getting on the scoresheet, as Connor Zary finished off a feed from Nic Chyzowski at 12:32. The shot from the blue-line was blocked but the puck came to Chyzowski, who slid it over to Zary who was staring down an open net.

P.G. answered right back, as McDonald scored his second of the period just two-minutes later. McDonald grabbed the puck behind the net and tried tucking it in on the far-side on a wrap-around. He was stopped initially but got his own rebound to jam in his third goal of the season at 14:40. The scoring didn’t end there.

Two-minutes later it was Kamloops finding the back of the net again, this time Holowko darting down the right-wing and scoring on the short-side. The Blazers’ forward found the puck outside the zone and went down the right-wing before sliding the puck through Grant’s legs a 16:42.

After the dust settled, Prince George took a 3-2 lead into the intermission, despite outshooting Kamloops 15-4 in the opening period.

The Cougars kept up the pressure in the second and were rewarded early on a terrific rush by Boyd. The Winnipeg, Manitoba, product made it 4-2 seconds into the middle stanza after a determined effort. Boyd carried into the zone and cut to the middle, but his shot block. However, the puck quickly came back to him, and as he was falling, he fired it through the wickets of Ferguson.

The power-play, and Popugaev, padded Prince George’s lead six-minutes later. Just as a five-on-three man-advantage was expiring, Popugaev got all his weight behind a one-timer from the left-wing, blasting the puck over the goalie’s shoulder and underneath the cross-bar at 7:51; Cholowski and McDonald drawing assists.

Josh Maser then made it 6-2 just 35-seconds after the Popugaev goal. Like Lakusta’s goal in the first, Maser scored on a bit of an odd bounce. The puck was rattling around in skates out front, before Maser got his stick to it. His shot was originally stopped, but Ferguson’s pad pushed the puck back over the goal-line.

After that sixth Prince George, Palaga came into the game spelling off of Ferguson.

Final Score: 6-2 Cougars

Shots: 42-19 Cougars

Power-Plays: Cougars 1-6 Blazers 1-4

Three Stars: 1) Josh Anderson 2) Dennis Cholowski 3) Max Palaga

Prince George (2-3-0-0) returns home for a weekend doubleheader against the Kelowna Rockets (2-1-0-1) on Friday and Saturday night. The Cougars are just one point back of the Rockets for second place in the BC Division.

It’s a big weekend off the ice too, as Friday is Autism Awareness Night, and Saturday is Vegas Night. The Cougars and Treasure Cove Casino are teaming up Saturday to give away a roundtrip for two to Las Vegas; fans can enter to win at the game. Tickets are available at the TicketsNorthbox office, or online at www.ticketsnorth.ca

-Prince George Cougars