BY FRASER RODGERS
Prince George Cougars
An understaffed Prince George Cougars squad couldn’t overcome a slow start, as the Spokane Chiefs skated to a 7-1 win at the CN Centre on Wednesday night.
The Cougars had just 16 skaters dressed due to a rash of injuries and illness and the Chiefs appeared to take advantage early. The visitors scored four-times in the first period as they built up a commanding leading through 20-minutes. The Chiefs added another goal in the second and two more in the third period.
Jaret Anderson-Dolan led the charge offensively for the Chiefs with a pair of goals as part of a five-point night. Luc Smith had three points (1-2-3) and defenceman Ty Smith chipped in with three helpers. Bailey Brkin picked up the win in net, kicking out 27 of 28 shots.
It was a game dominated by special teams, as the two teams combined for 14 power-play opportunities. The Chiefs scored twice on the man-advantage and also had a short-handed goal. The Cougars went 1-8 on the power-play.
Josh Maser scored the only Cougars’ goal, early in the second period and on the power-play. Maser tallying his team-leading 26thgoal of the season and is just two off from matching his career-high of 28 he had last season. Taylor Gauthier suffered the loss in goal, surrounding five goals on 16 shots in 22-minutes of work. He was replaced by Isaiah DiLaura who stopped 14 of 16 the rest of the way.
With the win, the Chiefs clinched a spot in the WHL playoffs, becoming the sixth team to do so this season. They also sweep the four-game season series and have won eight-straight against the Cougars dating back to last season.
Josh Maser’s power-play goal extends his point streak to four games and his goal streak to three games. Maser has five points (4-1-5) over the last four games.
Chiefs [1-0] Luke Toporowski (18) from Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Nolan Reid :18
Chiefs [2-0] Bobby Russell (5) unassisted 9:04
Chiefs [3-0] Connor Gabruch (3) from Ty Smith and Jaret Anderson-Dolan 16:59
Chiefs [4-0] Nolan Reid (14) from Riley Woods and Jaret Anderson-Dolan 19:28 SHG
Cougars [4-1] Josh Maser (26) from Tyson Upper and Rhett Rhinehart :24 PP
Chiefs [5-1] Jaret Anderson-Dolan (11) from Ty Smith and Luc Smith 2:14 PP
Chiefs [6-1] Jaret Anderson-Dolan (12) from Ty Smith and Luc Smith 4:08 PP
Chiefs [7-1] Luc Smith (27) from Michael King 19:27
Cougars– Taylor Gauthier (Loss) 11/16 22:14 | Isaiah DiLaura 14/16 37:46
Chiefs- Bailey Brkin (Win) 27/28 60:00
UP NEXT: The Cougars (17-37-5-3) head to Vancouver Island to face-off against the Victoria Royals on Friday and Saturday night. Fans can listen to both games on 94.3 The GOAT, or they can watch on WHL Live.