Cougars ground Rockets

Connor Bruggen-Cate #20 of Kelowna Rockets tries to put the puck past Ty Edmonds #35 of Prince George Cougars on September 28, 2016 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)

The Prince George Cougars picked up their first win of the pre-season on Saturday, doubling up the Kelowna Rockets 4-2 at Prospera Place.

Tyson Upper broke a 2-2 tie late in the third period, then iced the game with an empty-net goal in the final seconds. Kjell Kjemhus (short-handed) also scored in the third period and Arjun Atwal scored the Cougars’ first goal in the second.

Isaiah DiLaura and Tyler Brennan split the goaltending duties. Brennan picked up the win, stopping seven of eight shots over the final 27-minutes. DiLaura was sharp, kicking aside 16 of 17.

Both teams struggled on the power-play, as the two teams were a combined 0-for-13.

Kelowna carried a 1-0 lead into the second period, but Atwal brought the Cougars level at 3:52. Atwal finished off a four-on-one rush for his first of the post-season.

Kjemhus gave the Cougars their first lead just 1:39 into the third period, after he stole the puck out front of the net and snuck it five-hole on Cole Tisdale.

The Rockets equalized just before the four-minute mark, when Nolan Foote beat Brennan to the puck in front of the Cougars net.

The game remained tied deep into the third, before Upper scored the eventual game-winning goal. Tyson Phare got his point-shot through and it was Upper who touched the puck last, forcing it over the goal-line at 14:08.

Kelowna drew a late power-play, with just two-minutes left, but the Cougars withstood the late push and it was Upper scoring into an empty-net from the neutral zone.

The Cougars continue their pre-season schedule next weekend in Langley, as the Vancouver Giants hos a pre-season tournament September 7-9.

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