Despite some hectic travel and a ton of hockey as of late the Cougars were 52 seconds away from a regulation victory in Kamloops Saturday. But Deven Sideroff tied the game in the final minute and Collin Shirley netted the overtime winner 59 seconds into the extra period giving the Blazers the second point in a thrilling game between two B.C. Division rivals. Jesse Gabrielle had a goal and two assists in his first game back in the lineup for the Cougars while Brendan Guhle chimed in with two goals. It marked the first victory for Kamloops in three meetings against the Cougars this season.
After 20 wild minutes the Cougars held a 4-2 lead. Jesse Gabrielle got the offense started with a power play goal at 3:29 and Jansen Harkins netted his 15th of the season just 66 seconds later to stake the Cats to an early 2-0 lead.
But the Blazers bounced right back when Lane Bauer one-timed home a Deven Sideroff pass from across the ice on a power play.
Brendan Guhle and Collin Shirley then traded goals for their respective teams at the 7:26 and 8:52 mark respectively, but then Guhle came right back with his second of the game at 13:18 to put the Cougars ahead by two. Kamloops outshot the Cougars 13-9 in the first and went two-for-three on the power play, but they found themselves down 4-2.
Neither team was able to solve the other in the second period as they combined for 28 shots combined. Early in the period Cougars defenceman Brendan Guhle left the game with a lower body injury. He missed the rest of the period but would return for the third. The score remained 4-2 through 40 minutes with the shots 28-22 for Kamloops.
5:22 into the final period Nic Holowko got Kamloops back within one when he jammed home a puck at the side of the Cougars goal.
Brad Morrison and Colby McAuley both had terrific chances to score in response but both hit the post with their attempts, which set the stage for Deven Sideroff’s game-tying goal.
With time winding down in the third period the Blazers left their zone with speed. Sideroff took a pass down the right wing, beat the Cougars forward and defencemen wide and was able to crash the net and sneak a backhand past Ty Edmonds and in for his 27th and a 4-4 tie.
Collin Shirley ended the game 59 seconds into overtime on a two-on-one rush. Shirley skated the puck down the right wing, skated into the slot and wired a perfect shot past the blocker of Edmonds and home for his 20th goal of the season.
Prince George ended the game one-for-three on the power play while the Blazers were two-for-four. The final shots were 40-31 for the Blazers who have now won four straight games and are now within eight points of the Cougars for first in the B.C. Division.
With the single point the Cougars are now 33-13-3-0 and remain a point ahead of Everett for the top spot in the Western Conference. The Cougars will look to snap their two game slide when they face Vancouver at the Langley Event’s Centre on Monday.
-Prince George Cougars