BY FRASER RODGERS
Prince George Cougars
Seventeen games and 41 days later, the streak is finally over. The Prince George Cougars snapped their 17-game losing streak Friday, beating the Kamloops Blazers 2-1 in a shootout at the Sandman Centre.
Ethan Browne and Vladislav Mikhalchuk scored in the shootout and Taylor Gauthier shut the door, as the Cougars picked up their first win since January 12th. Gauthier made 41 saves through 65-minutes and was named the game’s second star.
“It feels so good,” said Assistant Coach Nick Drazenovic. “The boys played their hearts out. Kamloops had a push in the third but our motto going into it was bend but don’t break. Top to bottom, we battled and we were rewarded.”
Josh Maser scored the Cougars’ only goal in regulation, eight-minutes into the first period on the power-play, as the Cougars held a 1-0 lead for nearly 45-minutes. Maser’s goal was his team-best 23rd of the season.
That lead held up until the 13-minute of the third period, when the Blazers’ Zane Franklin tied the game. The Blazers pushed in the final frame, as they fired 19 shots on net. Nearly matching their total from the first two periods combined (20).
Overtime solved nothing, despite chances at both ends of the rink. The Blazers outshot the Cougars 3-2 in the five-minute three-on-three period.
The Cougars made quick work of the shootout, scoring on both of their chances. Browne scored in the first-round and Mikhalchuk won it in the second-round, after the Blazers missed on both of their attempts. The Cougars evened their record to 3-3 in the skills competition with Friday’s win.
Prince George didn’t come out of the game unscathed, as defenceman Cole Moberg was forced out of the game late in the second period with an upper-body injury. Moberg was hit by Kamloops’ Jeff Faith, who was given a two-minute charging penalty. Austin Crossley came to the aide of Moberg, as he dropped the gloves with Faith.
Cougars [1-0] Josh Maser (23) from Ethan Browne and Cole Moberg 8:13 PP
Blazers [1-1] Zane Franklin (26) from Sean Strange 13:16
Cougars- Ethan Browne, Vladislav Mikhalchuk
Blazers- No scoring
Cougars- Taylor Gauthier (Win) 41/42 65:00
Blazers- Dylan Ferguson(Loss) 31/32 65:00
UP NEXT: The Cougars (17-35-4-3) move onto face the Everett Silvertips on Saturday night at the Angel of the Winds Arena. It’s the third meeting this week between the two teams; the puck drops at 7:05 pm. Fans can listen to the game on 94.3 The GOAT, or they can watch online via WHL Live.