Wednesday night in Prince George the Cougars earned a single point in a 3-2 shootout loss at the hands of the Vancouver Giants. Rookie goaltender David Tendeck was phenomenal for Vancouver making 38 saves through 65 minutes and turned aside five of the Cougars six shootout attempts. Johnny Wesley snuck a low shot past Ty Edmonds in Round 6 of the shootout to secure the Giants their first victory in nine games and their second victory of the season against the Cougars. Jared Bethune and Jackson Leppard had the two goals for the Cougars who with a single point now hold a seven point lead on Kamloops for first in the B.C. Division.
Despite outshooting the Cougars 14-6 in the opening period the game remained scoreless through one. David Tendeck made some big early saves for the Giants while Ty Edmonds was steady at the other side for the Cougars. Both teams failed to connect on early power play chances.
It wasn’t until the mid-way point of the second period that the first goal would be scored, and it came courtesy of Cougars rookie forward Jackson Leppard. The young forward skated into the slot, and wired the puck through traffic past Tendeck on the Cougars 21st shot of the game to put the home side ahead 1-0. For Leppard it was his first ever goal in the WHL.
30 seconds later though the Giants answered when New York Rangers prospect Ty Ronning pounced on a James Malm rebound and fired it past Edmonds for his team leading 21st.
Then just a minute and 53 seconds later Vancouver grabbed a 2-1 lead when Johnny Wesley snuck a shot past the left pad of Ty Edmonds and home on a Giants power play. The visitors took their one goal lead into the second intermission despite being outshot 26-16.
Early in the third period Ty Edmonds kept the Cougars within a goal when he made a dazzling glove save off of Tyler Popowich from in close. That save would prove vital as the Cats would get back on even terms in the later stages of the period.
With less than 10 minutes remaining the Cougars would tie the game thanks to some power play heroics of their own. David Tendeck made an initial save off a Brogan O’Brien shot but Jared Bethune shoveled the rebound home for his 16th. Bethune’s goal came with 6:28 remaining in the final period.
Despite a late push in the final minutes the Cougars could not solve Tendeck, and the Giants had no answer for Ty Edmonds, which meant that the Cats and Giants would need over time for a third time in eight meetings.
A back-and-forth overtime featured more incredible heroics from both goaltenders. David Tendeck sprawled to his left and robbed Kody McDonald of what could have easily been the game winner, then seconds later Ty Edmonds turned aside Johnny Wesley on a breakaway to ensure that the game continued.
65 minutes solved absolutely nothing and for the first time all season a shootout would be required at the CN Centre.
Nikita Popugaev and Ty Ronning scored for their respective teams in Round 1 of the shootout, but neither team could solve the other in Rounds 2-5.
Jared Bethune was turned away by David Tendeck in Round 6 which put the game on the stick of Giants forward Johnny Wesley. The 19-year-old skated in close on Ty Edmonds and snapped a low shot past his blocker and in to secure the second point for the Giants, snapping their eight game losing streak in the process.
40-25 marked the final shot total favoring the Cougars who are now 1-2-0-1 on their current home stand and 37-16-0-1 overall. They finished the night one-for-four on the power play and two-for-three on the PK. Their division lead now sits at seven points over Kamloops and their conference lead to six points thanks to the single point secured Wednesday.
Next up for the Cougars: A Monday afternoon showdown at 2 p.m. against the Spokane Chiefs.
-Prince George Cougars