Wednesday night in Prince George the Cougars became the first WHL team to arrive at 24 victories. Five different Cougars recorded two points and Ty Edmonds made 22 saves as the Cougars earned a 5-3 victory over the Tri-City Americans in front of 2800-plus at the CN Centre. The win helped secure the Cougars their third home ice sweep of the 2016-17 season.
Richard Matvichuk’s team picked up right where they left off from Tuesday night when they struck twice in a 39 second span of the first to take a 2-0 lead. 11:08 into the first the Cougars grabbed the lead when Brad Morrison took a Kody McDonald pass, skated across the blue line and wired a shot past Rylan Parenteau’s glove from the high slot for his 14th of the season. 39 seconds later Jared Bethune took a Jesse Gabrielle pass form the left wing corner and scooped a backhand over Parenteau’s shoulder for his 11th of the season and his second in as many games.
Tri-City answered at the 17:57 mark when Morgan Geekie beat Cougars starter Ty Edmonds with a shot from the right circle to make the game 2-1. Prince George took that 2-1 lead into the first intermission and held a 14-5 edge in the shot department.
19 seconds into the second period the Americans tied the game when their leading goal scorer Michael Rasmussen tipped home a Dalton Yorke point shot past Edmonds for his team-leading 23rd of the season.
A quick answer came 1:41 later courtesy of Cougars forward Brogan O’Brien who took a pass from Sam Ruopp, snuck into the slot and wired a low shot home for his fifth of the season.
Once again though the Ams found an answer and it came at 13:26 off the stick of Jordan Topping who raced down the left wing and placed a perfect shot over the right shoulder of Edmonds and home for his third of the season. Twice the Cougars had led and twice the Americans had forced a tied game.
But with the two teams skating four-on-four the home side once again found an answer. Fittingly it came via Brendan Guhle who snuck past two Tri-City defenders, accepted a Jared Bethune and snuck a backhand shot through the legs of Parenteau and in for his eighth of the season and his sixth goal in a Cougars uniform. He’d finish with two points and now has eight points in his first seven games since joining the Cougars in the trade from Prince Albert.
After two periods the Cougars led 4-3 and held a 23-16 lead in the short department.
Early in the third the Cougars snagged some insurance when Kody McDonald one-timed home a pass from Brendan Guhle in the left circle on a power play for his eighth of the season. The Cougars power play ended the double-header three-for-14 while their penalty kill went a perfect eight-for-eight.
Ty Edmonds made two outstanding saves in the final minutes off of Morgan Geekie and Jordan Topping respectively to help solidify the Cougars victory. His record improved to 19-5-1-0.
With the win the Cougars overall record now sits at a league-best 24-8-2-0. They’ve now won three straight and will now head South for a quick two game road swing before the holiday break. The Cougars will return to action on Friday night at the ShoWare Center against the Seattle Thunderbirds marking the final meeting of the season between the two 2016 playoff foes. The Cougars will also play in Spokane Saturday before returning home for their break.
-Prince George Cougars