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Harkins makes history at Cougars dump Blazers

Jansen Harkins now stands alone as the all-time leading scorer for the Prince George Cougars. With a goal and three assists, the Winnipeg Jets prospect arrived at 240 career points, surpassing Chase Witala for the all-time franchise lead. His teammates provided plenty of support in what ended up as a 6-1 victory which helped earn the Cougars their 42nd victory of the season and a weekend sweep of the Kamloops Blazers. Colby McAuley added two goals and two assists and goaltender Ty Edmonds made 22 saves between the pipes. Garrett Pilon had the lone goal in response for the Blazers who are now seven points back of the Cougars for first in the B.C. Division.

After one period the Blazers led the Cougars 1-0 thanks to Pilon’s 19th goal, and a series of clutch saves from starter Connor Ingram. The Cougars outshot the Blazers 16-13 in the first, but Ingram made at least six ‘Grade A’ saves to keep his team ahead. Pilon’s goal came 5:17 of the first and was unassisted.

For a second straight game though the Cougars would strike for five goals in the second period. 54 seconds into the middle frame Colby McAuley knocked home a Jansen Harkins pass from in close for his 24th of the season. A minute and 42 seconds later McAuley and Harkins teamed up again on McAuley’s second goal of the night 25th of the season. Harkins’ second assist moved him within a single point of tying Chase Witala’s franchise scoring record of 239 career points.

Jesse Gabrielle made it 3-1 off a one-timer at 5:14 to secure his 30th goal of the season. It marked the second consecutive season that Gabrielle has recorded 30-or-more goals. Nikita Popugaev then padded the Cougars lead to 4-1 off a blast from the high slot at 14:13.

At 15:50 of the second Jansen Harkins tied Chase Witala’s franchise record with a gorgeous goal off a deke in close on Connor Ingram. It marked the 20th goal of the season, the 74th of his career and the 239th point which he achieved in his 270th career game.

Period two ended with the Cougars ahead 5-1 and the shots were 41-19 favoring the Cougars.

Early in the third on a power play Harkins would complete his historical night when he assisted on Kody McDonald’s 16th of the season at 2:26 of the final period. Harkins teammates snagged the historical puck and made him lead the fly-by past the bench. The nearly 4000 fans stood in unison, giving the North Vancouver, B.C. native a standing ovation.

Prince George outshot Kamloops 16-4 in the final period and would finish with a season high 57 shots on goal in what ended up as a 6-1 victory.  The Cougars power play finished at two-for-seven while the Blazers went zero-for-three.

With the win, the Cougars improve their B.C. Division leading record to 42-20-3-2. They hold a four point lead on the Kelowna Rockets for first in the B.C. Division and have five games remaining in their regular season schedule. Up next for the Cougars: A trip to Portland, Oregon to kick off the start of a three game US road swing that will also feature stops in the Tri-Cities and Spokane.

-Prince George Cougars

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