Friday night in Red Deer the Prince George Cougars fell 5-2 to the Red Deer Rebels. Michael Spacek had a goal and two assists while Evan Polei chipped in with two goals for the home side. Jared Bethune countered with a goal and an assist for the Cougars who were outshot 45-32. It marked the second victory in a span of 17 days for the Rebels over Prince George.
With less than a minute remaining in the opening period Red Deer jumped out to a 1-0 lead. Brandon Hagel forced a turnover at the Cougars blueline and then he and Michael Spacek combined on a give-and-go play, which set up Spacek all alone in front of Cougars starter Ty Edmonds. Spacek made no mistake from in close for his 21st of the season. Red Deer outshot the Cougars 10-7 in the first period.
At 9:18 into the second period Red Deer made it 2-0 when Cameron Hausinger snapped home his fifth of the season from the slot. Seconds earlier Dawson Martin forced a turnover in front of the Cougars goal to create Hausinger’s open look at the net. Red Deer outshot the Cougars 22-12 in the second and controlled much of the period.
But late in the second the Cougars went to a power play and were able to move back within one. Tate Olson blasted home his fifth goal of the season through traffic off a shot from the right point. Brogan O’Brien and Jared Bethune added assists.
During the month of January the Cougars have four come-from-behind wins when trailing heading into the third, and they made some noise early in the third when Jared Bethune roofed his 14th goal of the season over the left shoulder of Rebels goaltender Lasse Petersen. A 2-0 deficit was now a 2-2 game with plenty of time to go in the third.
Near the mid-way point of the third the Rebels were given a four-minute power play due to a high-sticking infraction, but couldn’t get anything going for the first full two minutes. Jared Bethune and Jansen Harkins both had excellent chances to score shorthanded, but were unsuccessful.
With just over a minute remaining in the power play the Rebels caught a break when Alex Alexeyev’s point shot bounced off the boards and into the feet of Ty Edmonds. The puck was lodged free and defenceman Carson Sass pounced on it and buried his fourth of the season to restore Red Deer’s lead.
Evan Polei would then add some insurance at the 13:14 mark when he tipped home a pass from Austin Glover in close on Ty Edmonds. Polei then sealed the game with an empty netter at 19:13 to help secure the Rebels 22nd victory of the season.
Each team finished the game with a power play goal as the Cougars went one-for-three and the Rebels went one-for-six. The Cougars record is now 1-1-1-0 on their current five game road trip and they will look to get back into the win column Saturday when they clash with the Edmonton Oil Kings.
-Prince George Cougars