The Prince George Cougars division lead is down to two points on the Kamloops Blazers. Sunday night at the Sandman Centre the Blazers scored a goal in each period en route to a 3-0 shutout victory over the Cougars. Collin Shirley, Rudolfs Balcers and Garrett Pilon supplied the goals for Kamloops while Connor Ingram turned aside all 28 shots fired his way to secure the shutout. Ty Edmonds was very busy for the Cougars turning aside 39 of the 42 shots that he faced.
After a back-and-forth first period the Blazers caught a break with less than a minute remaining. Blazer forward Nick Chyzowski’s initial shot from the high slot was blocked by a Cougar defenceman, but the puck bounced directly to Collin Shirley who raced in alone on Ty Edmonds and snapped his 24th of the season past his blocker to give Kamloops the 1-0 lead. They outshot the Cougars 19-12 in the first period.
Early in the second the Cougars had a great chance to tie the game, but Connor Ingram robbed Jesse Gabrielle point blank with the glove to keep his team ahead by one. Ingram’s stellar play would be further rewarded at the 13:46 mark when Rudolfs Balcers cut towards the Cougars goal on his backhand and placed a low shot through the legs of Edmonds and home to make it 2-0. It marked the 34th goal of the season for Balcers and it came unassisted. Through two periods the shots were 34-19 for Kamloops.
Garrett Pilon notched the game’s final goal at the 1:32 mark of the final period when he beat a defender wide before deking out Edmonds for his 16th of the season. The Cougars mustered nine shots in the final period but were unable to solve Connor Ingram who earned his fourth shutout victory of the season. The final shots were 42-28 for Kamloops.
Neither team was able to capitalize on their power play chances with Kamloops going zero-for-four while the Cougars went scoreless on their two power play tries.
With the loss the Cougars record now sits at 38-19-3-1 and their lead in the B.C. Division now sits at two points ahead of Kamloops and seven points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets with 11 games remaining in their regular season. The Cougars will look to snap their two game losing skid when they battle the Red Deer Rebels at home on Tuesday night at CN Centre.
-Prince George Cougars