The Prince George Cougars clawed back to earn a point in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Spokane Chiefs in a back-and-forth affair at the CN Centre on Tuesday.
Chiefs’ forward and LA Kings prospect Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored the game-winner four-minutes into the extra frame. The Chiefs also got scoring from Jake McGrew in the first period and Egor Arbuzov and Filip Kral in the third period. The visitors led 1-0 through 40-minutes before the two teams combined for a five-goal third period.
“Overall, I’m very proud of our team. We’re learning the hard way, that’s for sure but there’s no easy way to learn how to win in hockey,” said General Manager & Interim Head Coach Mark Lamb. “The process we’re going through is exciting even with these results, I can see the buy-in from our players.”
Jackson Leppard, Rhett Rhinehart and Josh Maser scored in the third period for the Cougars. Leppard and Rhinehart scored four-minutes apart, as the Cougars grabbed a 2-1 lead eight-minutes into the frame. After the Chiefs stormed back to make it 3-2, it was Maser scoring his team-leading 25thgoal with just 1:13 left on the clock to force overtime. Taylor Gauthier stopped 30 of 33 shots in the Cougars’ crease.
Down 1-0 at the start of the third, the Cougars rallied to take the lead and then rallied again to force overtime.
“I’m starting to see a little belief in what we’re doing, and you can see it on the bench when the guys start to feel it. They’re saying the right things and you see they’re energy and that’s what you need to have,” commented Lamb.
Spokane’s Jake McGrew opened the scoring eight and a half minutes into the first period and that was only the scoring until early in the third period. Jackson Leppard, who was named the game’s third star, tied the game on a great individual effort.
The Cougars’ forward intercepted the puck in the neutral zone, drove down the middle and followed his own rebound behind the net, before wrapping it in on the short-side at 3:47. Leppard’s 10thof the season.
Then on a power-play, Rhinehart gave his team their first lead of the night. The puck came back to the blue-liner and his shot deflected off a Chiefs’ defender and in at 7:53. Rhinehart’s first goal since December 14th. Rhinehart picked up an assist as well and was second star.
Egor Arbuzov tied the game for the Chiefs nearly four-minutes after Rhinehart’s goal. The Russian pounding the puck in from the blue-line after a blocked shot caromed right back to him at the top fo the zone.
The Chiefs retook the lead with three and a half minutes left in regulation. Filip Kral took a drop pass on four-on-two rush and beat Gauthier on the stick-side to make it 3-2. However, the Cougars weren’t done.
With Gauthier out of the net for the extra-skater, it was Maser scoring with 73-seconds left on the clock. Rhinehart’s shot went back off the end boards and out the other side. Maser was there at the far-post to muscle the puck past the Chiefs’ goaltender and over the goal line.
Late in overtime, on a delayed penalty call, it was the Chiefs’ Anderson-Dolan darting down the left-wing and firing a bullet off the post and in for the game-winner at 3:58.
The Cougars won the special teams battle Tuesday, as they scored a power-play goal in the third period and were perfect on the penalty-kill. The Cougars kept the Chiefs second-ranked power-play off the scoresheet on five opportunities.
Chiefs [1-0] Jake McGrew (24) 8:27
Cougars [1-1] Jackson Leppard (10) 3:47
Cougars [2-1] Rhett Rhinehart (4) from Ryan Schoettler, Matéj Toman 7:53 PP
Chiefs [2-2] Egor Arbuzov (4) from Luc Smith, Luke Toporowski 11:38
Chiefs [3-2] Filip Kral (7) from Riley Woods 16:36
Cougars [3-3] Josh Maser (25) from Rhett Rhinehart 18:47
Chiefs [4-3] Jaret Anderson-Dolan (10) from Ty Smith, Eli Zummack 3:58
Cougars- Taylor Gauthier (Loss) 30/33 63:23
Chiefs- Reece Klassen (Win) 25/28 63:58
UP NEXT: The Cougars (17-36-5-3) wrap up the midweek double-header against the Spokane Chiefs on Wednesday night; the puck drops at 7 pm. All Pacific Western Brewing products are just $5. Fans can get their tickets at the TicketsNorthby Treasure Cove Casino box office, or online at www.ticketsnorth.ca