There was a moose sighting at the CN Centre on Wednesday night. Josh Maser scored not one, not two, not three but four goals, in the Prince George Cougars 4-3 overtime win against the Vancouver Giants.
Affectionately known as “Moose” by his teammates, Josh Maser had himself quite the night on Wednesday. Maser not only recorded his second hat-trick of the season but he also scored the overtime winner, as the Cougars earned a split against the Vancouver Giants.
Rarely in a game with seven goals has all the scoring done between just two players, but that was the case Wednesday, as Ty Ronning had a hat-trick in a losing cause for Vancouver. It was Ronning’s second hat-trick against the Cougars this season and both have come in overtime losses.
Taylor Gauthier picked up his fifth win of the season, stopping 27 of 30 shots in nearly 63-minutes of work, and got his first WHL point, an assist on the Cougars’ first goal. David Tendeck was tagged with the loss, kicking-out 33 of 37 shots
The Cougars clawed their way back from a 2-0 second period deficit to win for just the second time when trailing after two periods.
Vancouver went ahead 1-0 midway through the first period, as Ty Ronning capitalized on a turnover in the Cougars zone. The puck squirted off the wall and out to Ronning in the slot, and he fired a wrist-shot over the pad of Gauthier at 10:16; Ronning scoring on the just the Giants second shot.
Despite a very strong start, where the Cougars outshot the Giants 13-11, they trailed by one going into the second.
Ronning added to the Giants lead eight-minutes into the middle period, as he found himself in the right place at the right time. Bo Byram had his point-shot go wide off the boards behind net, but the puck bounced right back out to Ronning on the other side of the goal for the easy tap-in at 7:53.
Maser got the Cougars on the scoreboard not even two-minutes later. After Taylor Gauthier stopped Ronning on a partial breakaway, Josh Curtis raced the puck up ice, before going across to Maser in the face-off circle. As he was falling, Maser let go a wrist-shot that he put underneath the cross-bar, over Tendeck’s shoulder at 9:17.
That goal provided the Cougars a bit of a spark going into the third period, as they outshot the Giants 15-7 in the middle frame and 28-18 through 40-minutes.
Maser and the Cougars didn’t need much time in the third period to draw level. Just eight, yes, eight-seconds into the period Maser tied it up. The Houston, BC, product grabbed the puck off the face-off, moved down the left-wing, and beat Tendeck with a shot underneath his blocker from the face-off circle.
The Cougars grabbed their first lead with just three-minutes left, as Maser finished off the natural hat-trick. The Houston, BC, product took the puck to the bottom of the left face-off circle, and tried to go upstairs on the near-side but Tendeck made the save against the post, only to have the rebound go off of a Giants defenceman in front and bounce back in behind Tendeck.
There was a slight delay before they dropped the puck as Cougars fans tossed their hats onto the ice.
When action resumed, the Giants pulled their goalie for the extra-attacker inside the final minute and it paid off. With just half a minute left, Ronning got his hat-trick goal and team-leading 39th, as he just poked a rebound across the goal-line. James Malm walked out front on his backhand but he was stopped, however the puck trickled towards the post and Ronning was there to nudge it across.
In overtime, Ryan Schoettler thought he had the game-winner, when he flew off the bench and danced down the middle, but his wrist-shot went off the cross-bar. Fans and a few players on the ice, from both sides, thought that shot went in but Maser alertly reached out and swatted the rebound in the net.
FINAL SCORE: 4-3 Cougars
Shots: 37-30 Cougars
Power-Plays: Cougars 0-3 Giants 0-2
Three Stars: 1) Josh Maser 2) Ty Ronning 3) Josh Curtis
The Cougars (16-19-4-3) split their eight game season series with the Vancouver Giants, taking nine out of 14 points. Maser’s four-goal game is his third multi-goal game this season; he had a hat-trick on December 10th against Victoria. The Cougars are the first team to beat the Giants when trailing after two periods, as Vancouver was 17-0-0-0.
Prince George hits the road for a two-game US Division road starting Friday in Spokane, before stopping in Kennewick to face Tri-City. Both games can be heard on 94.3 The GOAT and are available via WHL Live.
-Prince George Cougars