Blazers’ special teams dismantle Cougars

 

The Prince George Cougars lost to the Kamloops Blazers Friday night. James Doyle photo
The Prince George Cougars lost to the Kamloops Blazers Friday night. James Doyle photo

The Kamloops Blazers picked up their first win of the season Friday, topping the Prince George Cougars 4-1 on Mega 50/50 Jackpot Night at the CN Centre.

Boxscore

For Kamloops, it was their first win in nine games, as they were in a season starting slump entering Friday’s game. Prince George missed an opportunity to leapfrog the Kelowna Rockets for second place in the BC Division, after the Rockets fell 4-3 at home to Calgary Friday night.

The Blazers power-play had its finger prints all over the victory as they scored three times on six opportunities; their penalty-kill was sharp too, going a perfect five-for-five.

Garrett Pilon paced the Blazers offense, as he was in on all but one of their goals, as the Washington Capitals prospect finished with three points. Connor Zary and Brodi Stuart also scored power-play goals and Jermaine Loewen scored an empty-netter. Dylan Ferguson was the Blazers backbone in goal, as he kicked 24 of 25 shots for his first win on the season; he stopped 25 Cougars’ shots over the final 40-minutes.

Kody McDonald was the only Cougar to beat Ferguson, as he scored his eighth of the year in the first period, extending his point streak to six-games in the process. Jared Bethune also extended his point streak to six-games, as he assisted on McDonald’s tally. Tavin Grant was tagged with the loss, as he yielded three goals on 20 shots.

McDonald broke the scoreless tie eight and a half minutes into the game and after a terrific pass from his line-mate. Bethune spun a backhand pass down to McDonald in front of the net, and he outwaited the goalie before tucking the puck in on the far-side.

Kamloops gained momentum late in the first and equalized on a power-play with just 43-seconds left in the frame. The Blazers worked the puck around before it eventually came back to Pilon, who wired a wrist-shot over Grant’s shoulder at 19:17.

Then in the second, Connor Zary put the Blazers ahead for the first time less than four-minutes in, and again it was on the power-play. Zary fired a shot from the left face-off circle that beat Grant over his glove at 3:49; Zary scored against Prince George back on October 4.

Prince George had a great opportunity to tie the game early in the third but couldn’t capitalize on a four-minute power-play. McDonald also came close to bringing the Cougars level but he was robbed by Ferguson who lunged out and made a great glove save.

Kamloops added an insurance marker midway through the frame, as Brodi Stuart poked in a rebound underneath Grant at 9:23. Grant knocked down Pilon’s shot from the wing, but the puck spilled right out to Stuart who jammed it in for another Blazers’ power-play marker.

Jermaine Loewen put the finishing touches on the with, with an empty-net goal with two-minutes left. Luc Smith missed the open net from his own blue-line, but Loewen beat out the icing call and tapped in the rebound.

Final Score: 4-1 Blazers

Shots: 25-21 Cougars

Power-Plays: Cougars 0-5 Blazers 3-6

Three Stars: 1) Garrett Pilon 2) Dylan Ferguson 3) Kody McDonald.

It was the Cougars’ Mega 50/50 Jackpot Night, in partnership with the Northland Auto Group. The pot was well over $54,000, with proceeds from the 50/50 draw going to the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation. The Cougars would like to thank the Northland Auto Group for their tremendous support.

Prince George (3-4-2-0) looks for the weekend split against the Blazers (1-9-0-0) on Saturday at 7 pm. Tickets are available at the TicketsNorth box office at the CN Centre, or online at www.ticketsnorth.ca

-Prince George Cougars