BY FRASER RODGERS
Prince George Cougars
The Prince George Cougars had their two-game win streak come to an end on Wednesday, as they dropped a 6-2 decision to the Prince Albert Raiders at the CN Centre.
The Cougars were going up against the top-ranked team in the country, as the Raiders came into Wednesday’s game with 37 wins in 43 games. The Cougars hung in for 40-minutes, before the Raiders pulled away in the third period, scoring three-straight.
Jackson Leppard and Mike MacLean scored in the setback and Taylor Gauthier was admirable in goal, kicking-out 43 of 49 shots. The Raiders got goals from six different players and 14 players hit the scoresheet. Ian Scott stopped 23 of 25 shots in the Raiders’ crease.
The Cougars battled through two periods, coming back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game 2-2 early in the second. The Raiders went ahead 2-0 in the first 11-minutes of the games, but it was Leppard scoring late in the first period, to make it a one-goal game going into the second. Early in the middle frame, MacLean redirected Ryan Schoettler’s point-shot past Scott to tie the game just before the three-minute mark.
However, the Raiders went back ahead on a power-play goal midway through the second stanza and never looked back.
The Cougars did have their chances in the second period, especially when the game was tied 2-2, but Ian Scott was clutch in the Raiders’ goal. He made not one but two point-blank saves off Josh Maser and also a two-on-one with a great arm-save on Vladislav Mikhalchuk.
Leading 3-2 at the start of the third, Prince Albert found another gear, picking up goals from Cole Fonstad, Justin Nachbaur and Noah Gregor to put the game out of reach.
Despite the setback, the Cougars have won three of their last five games, and still hold down the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Raiders [1-0] Sean Montgomery (19) from Brett Leason 7:06
Raiders [2-0] Parker Kelly (21) from Spencer Moe and Zack Hayes 11:11
Cougars [2-1] Jackson Leppard (9) from Brendan Boyle and Josh Curtis 16:46
Cougars [2-2] Mike MacLean (4) from Ryan Schoettler and Rhett Rhinehart 2:40
Raiders [3-2] Aliaksei Protas (8) from Sean Montgomery and Ozzy Wiesblatt 10:51 (PP) / (GWG)
Raiders [4-2] Cole Fonstad (17) 4:50
Raiders [5-2] Justin Nachbaur (11) from Jakob Brook and Sergei Sapego 7:39
Raiders [6-2] Noah Gregor (27) from Sergei Sapego and Max Martin 15:08
*GWG= game-winning goal PP= power-play
Cougars- Taylor Gauthier (Loss)43/4960:00
Raiders-Ian Scott (Win) 23/25 60:00
UP NEXT: The Cougars (16-23-1-2) look to bounce back against their B.C. Division rivals, the Kamloops Blazers on Saturday night, as it’s Treasure Cove Casino “Vegas Night.” Tickets available at the TicketsNorth box office, or online at www.ticketsnorth.ca.