The Prince George Cougars have regained home ice advantage in their first round series with the Portland Winterhawks.
Wednesday night in Portland the Cats trailed early, but struck for six unanswered goals in a 6-1 victory over the Winterhawks in Game 3. Jansen Harkins paced the Cougars attack with a goal and four assists, while Colby McAuley chimed in with two goals and an assist. Between the pipes Ty Edmonds was sharp again making 40 saves for a second straight night. The Cougars power play finished two-for-five while the Portland power play went scoreless on six opportunities.
Fourteen seconds into the game was all it took though for Portland to get their home crowd into the game. Skyler McKenzie stuffed his own rebound past Ty Edmonds for his second of the series and the Winterhawks had the early lead. From then on in though it was all Cougars.
Jansen Harkins tied the game at the 8:26 mark when he beat the defender wide and ripped a quick shot past the glove of Portland starter Cole Kehler. That goal marked the first of what would become five points on the night for Harkins.
Kody McDonald put the Cougars ahead 2-1 on a power play at the 12:36 mark. The power play was a result of a double-minor high sticking penalty taken by Caleb Jones. McDonald’s blast was his first of the post-season and was assisted by both Brendan Guhle and Jansen Harkins.
Colby McAuley made it 3-1 for the Cougars at 17:42 when he knocked his own rebound in off an initial stick save made by Cole Kehler. The only assist on McAuley’s goal came courtesy of Jansen Harkins. Despite being out shot 23-16 in the first, the Cougars led 3-1.
Tate Olson snagged the game’s next goal at the 12:03 mark of the second period off a low shot from the right point. Olson’s power play marker was assisted by both Jansen Harkins and McAuley. The Cougars power play is now four-for-12 in the series and has clicked in all three games so far in the series. After 40 minutes the Cougars led 4-1 while being slightly outshot 38-33.
Brogan O’Brien knocked home a Tanner Wishnowski rebound at 6:26 of the final period. Then just over a minute later Colby McAuley deflected home a Jansen Harkins shot to make the score 6-1. That spelled the end of the night for Winterhawks netminder Cole Kehler who for a second straight game was yanked in the third period. He made 32 saves on 38 shots faced. In came rookie Shane Farkas who went seven-for-seven in relief.
The final minutes of Game 3 were a lot like the final moments of Game 2. The two teams pushed and shoved after each whistle, and a handful of 10 minute misconduct penalties were assessed. Jesse Gabrielle and Josh Anderson got an early shower for the Cougars while Keegan Iverson, Brett Clayton and Matt Revel were booted early for the Winterhawks.
Prince George finished the game with a 45-41 edge in the shots department. The Game 3 victory means that the Cougars have regained home ice advantage in the series. The two teams will meet again tomorrow night in Portland at 7 PM for Game 4.
- Jansen Harkins’ five points were a career high for Harkins in a single game.
- Ty Edmonds has now stopped 78 of the last 80 shots he’s faced.
- It was the first road victory for the Cougars in a playoff series since April 14, 2007 – A 4-3 victory in Everett.