It was just the second regulation loss for the Cougars on the road this season and the first time since September 29th, they failed to pick up at least a single point away from the CN Centre.
Vladislav Mikhalchuk and Josh Maser scored for the Cougars, as they just came up short in their comeback bid. Taylor Gauthier stopped 26 of 29 shots in a losing effort.
Leif Mattson, Kyle Topping, Cal Foote and Carsen Twarynski (empty-net) scored for Kelowna and James Porter made 27-saves in the Kelowna net.
Mattson opened the scoring for the Rockets 12-minutes into the first and all by himself. The rookie came down the left-wing and flung a backhand attempt through Gauthier’s legs from the circle. Gauthier was looking to try and poke-check Mattson but before he could, the Rockets’ forward snuck the puck through his pads.
Prince George tied the game late in the first, inside the final minute, as Mikhalchuk followed up his own rebound. Mikhalchuk tried to split the Kelowna defenders on a rush up the middle but was tied up. The puck came to Brogan O’Brien, who was trailing the play but his shot was stopped. Eventually it came to Mikhalchuk at the side of the goal and he banked it off a defenceman’s skate and it with just 25-seconds left in the period.
The Cougars had a great opportunity to go ahead in the second, as O’Brien was awarded a penalty-shot whilst short-handed five-minutes in. O’Brien was stopped on his attempt, as Porter just got his pad on the puck after O’Brien tried to pull the puck back onto his forehand.
Kelowna went back ahead nine-minutes into the middle frame, after Kyle Topping found the bouncing puck at the side of the net. Kole Lind curled around the goal dished the puck out front, and after going off a skate it came right to Topping who tapped it in from the crease at 9:04.
Cal Foote added to the Rockets lead late, wheeling to the middle of the zone, before firing a wrist-shot over Gauthier’s glove with just 62-seconds left in the second to make it 3-1.
Prince George made a push in the third, first cutting into the deficit courtesy of a Josh Maser power-play goal three-minutes in. Maser got his stick to O’Brien’s shot from the right-circle.
The Cougars pushed late and had a chance to tie it up, again while short-handed. With three-minutes left Kody McDonald was sprung up the middle but couldn’t beat Porter over his shoulder on a breakaway.
The Rockets sealed the win with an empty-net goal by Carsen Twarynski, as the puck caromed off his skate in the neutral zone and trickled all the way down into the Cougars net.
Final Score: 4-2 Rockets
Shots: 30-29 Rockets
Power-Plays: Cougars 1-3 Rockets 0-5
Three Stars: 1) Cal Foote 2) James Porter 3) Brogan O’Brien
Prince George (5-6-2-2) is now 0-1-2-0 in three games against the Rockets this season. The Cougars are a point up the Vancouver Giants for third place in the BC Division after Vancouver lost in a shootout to Victoria Saturday. Forward Jackson Leppard did not play Saturday, as he was sidelined with an undisclosed injury.
-Prince George Cougars