The Prince George Cougars were 39 seconds away from picking up a crucial point on the road but Cody Glass and the Portland Winterhawks had other ideas, as they rallied to beat the Cougars 2-1, Wednesday night at the Moda Center.
The win snapped the Winterhawks three-game slide and handed the Cougars their second straight setback on the road. Prince George is now 2-2-2-0 on their seven-game road trip, which ends Friday in Everett.
Glass, the Vegas Golden Knights first draft pick in franchise history, scored the game-winner with 39-seconds left in regulation, as the Winterhawks scored twice in the third period for the come-from-behind win. Rookie Mason Mannek tied the game early in the third period for Portland, who trailed 1-0 through 40-minutes.
Kody McDonald scored the Cougars only goal, late in the second period, breaking a scoreless deadlock that lasted nearly 35-minutes. Tavin Grant was once again stellar against the Winterhawks, kicking-out 41 of 43 shots and was named the game’s third star.
Portland outshot the Cougars 18-11 in a scoreless opening 20-minutes but both teams had their scoring chances. Dennis Cholowski and Ethan O’Rourke arguably had the two best opportunities for Prince George. Cholowski was stopped right out front after a nice drop pass from Josh Curtis, and O’Rourke was robbed the goalie’s glove, after he tried to go upstairs on an odd-man rush.
Grant held his own in the Cougars net and his best save in the first was on Winterhawks import Joachim Blichfeld. Kieffer Bellows passed out front from the wing but Blichfeld’s tip on the doorstep was knocked down by Grant’s arm.
The second was highlighted by more great goaltending at both ends but it was Prince George breaking the scoreless deadlock late. Portland turned the puck over inside the Cougars zone and they quickly counter-attacked the other way. McDonald carried down the left-wing and he snapped a shot through Kehler’s arm for his ninth of the season at 14:55.
Portland almost tied it up in the dying seconds of the middle frame but Tavin Grant made another timely save off of Bellows. The Winterhawks forward tried to jam the puck in past Grant on his backhand as he was falling, but Grant lunged across with his pad to deny Bellows in the crease.
However, the Winterhawks broke through early in the third period as Mason Mannek burst down right side, and beat Grant over the blocker at 1:39 to tie the game 1-1. Mannek breaking at 61-minute scoreless drought against Grant and the Cougars dating back to October 1st.
That goal seemed to provide Portland with a spark, as they pressed for a go ahead throughout the period. The breakthrough came late, inside the final minute, as the Winterhawks capitalized on an odd-man rush.
The Cougars tried to pinch down from the blue-line to keep the puck the Portland zone, but it was chipped out and the home side went down the ice on a three-on-two the other way. Bellows moved into the right-wing circle and threw the puck across to Cody Glass on the backside. Glass fired a laser that went up and underneath the cross-bar with just 39-seconds left
Final Score: 2-1 Winterhawks
Shots: 43-31 Winterhawks
Power-Plays: Cougars 0-2 Winterhawks 0-4
Three Stars: 1) Cole Kehler 2) Cody Glass 3) Tavin Grant
Forwards Aaron Boyd and Jackson Leppard did not play Wednesday, as both sat out due to injuries. Prince George (5-7-2-2) wraps up their seven-game road trip in Everett on Friday against the Silvertips at Xfinity Arena. Fans can listen to the game on 94.3 The Goat, or they can watch online via WHL Live.
-Prince George Cougars