The Prince George Cougars will head into the weekend alone in first place in the B.C. Division thanks to a single point earned in a 3-2 shootout loss Tuesday at home against Red Deer. Lasse Petersen turned aside 34 shots for the visiting Rebels and then an additional three during the shootout while Jared Freadrich had a goal and an assist for the Rebels who snapped an eight game losing streak with the victory. Kody McDonald and Radovan Bondra had goals for the Cougars who are now a single point ahead of Kamloops for top spot in the B.C. Division.
7:56 into the opening period the Cougars got on the board when Radovan Bondra parked himself in front of the Red Deer net and whacked home a Nikita Popugaev rebound through Lasse Petersen for his team leading 28th. The Cougars outshot Red Deer 15-6 in the opening period and took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
At the 5:33 mark of the second period Brogan O’Brien was assessed a goaltender interference penalty which staked the Rebels to their fifth power play of the game. Cougars head coach Richard Matvichuk adamantly disagreed with the call, claiming O’Brien was pushed into Lasse Petersen by a Rebels defender. and was given a bench minor penalty in the process. The Rebels would convert on the full two-minute five-on-three when Jared Freadrich solved Ty Edmonds with a blast from the slot.
Back came the Cougars though with a late strike off the stick of Kody McDonald. Aaron Boyd took a Brad Morrison pass from the right wing, slipped into the slot before placing a perfect pass across the ice to the waiting McDonald who one-timed home his 13th of the season to restore his team’s lead. The shots were 22-15 for Prince George though two.
Early in the final period though the Rebels found an answer when Lane Zablocki fired his 21st of the season past Ty Edmonds from the top of the right circle. The Cougars responded with some good looks, but Lasse Petersen did his part keeping the game tied, and 60 minutes would ultimately decide nothing.
Overtime came and went without a goal on either side, but both goaltenders stood tall in their respective nets. Ty Edmonds and Lasse Petersen took turns making clutch saves, and for a sixth time this season the Cougars would need a shootout to decide their fate.
Rebels forward Brandon Hagel would end up with the only goal of the shootout in Round 1 to help secure the second point for the Rebels. Nikita Popugaev, Radovan Bondra and Jesse Gabrielle were all unsuccessful in their attempts on Lasse Petersen.
The single point though is huge for the Cougars who, despite a 7-0 Kamloops victory in Edmonton remain a point ahead of the Blazers for first in the B.C. Division with 10 games remaining. The Cougars lead on the Kelowna Rockets is now at eight points, though the Rockets hold three games in hand.
Next up for the Cougars: A two-game double-header with the Edmonton Oil Kings starting Friday night at the CN Centre.
- Cougars forward Jansen Harkins left the game early in the first period with an upper body injury and did not return.
- Defenceman Cole Moberg suited up in his fourth game of the season as an AP for the Cougars.
- Of the Cougars 10 remaining games: Five are at home (EDM, EDM, KAM, KAM, KAM) and Five (KEL, POR, TC, SPO, KAM) will be played on the road.
-Prince George Cougars