BY FRASER RODGERS
Prince George Cougars
Another slow start was the culprit in the Prince George Cougars 4-3 setback to the Victoria Royals, Friday at Save On Food Memorial Arena. The Royals scored three times in the first period, as they handed the Cougars fourth-straight loss.
Former Cougar Kody McDonald continued to haunt his former team, scoring twice and finished with three points. McDonald has scored four goals in the last two games against the Cougars. Phillip Schultz and Tarun Fizer also scored for the Royals who have won seven of eight games against the Cougars this season.
Josh Maser scored his team-leading 27thgoal on the power-play in the first period and Matéj Toman and Reid Perepeluk added goals in the third period. Taylor Gauthier was pulled for the second consecutive game after surrendering four goals on 18 shots in 24-minutes. Isaiah DiLaura stopped all 10 shots he faced in 33-minutes of work.
“We didn’t come ready to compete off the face-off and you have to against a team like Victoria who plays such a hard, heavy game at home,” said Associate Coach Steve O’Rourke. “We did eventually adjust, got engaged and were more aggressive and dominated the last 30-minutes.”
It was a quick start for the Royals who got out to a 2-0 lead six-minutes in. McDonald scored nearly four-minutes into the game after putting the puck off the back of Gauthier and it from behind the net. Then after McDonald was stopped, it was Schultz crashing the net for the rebound to make it 2-0 at 6:16.
Maser cut the deficit in half, scoring on a rebound during a Cougars’ power-play at 11:20. Maser bagging his 27thgoal of the season.
The Royals restored their two-goal lead five-minutes later with a power-play goal at 16:03. McDonald then made it 4-1 early in the middle stanza, as he came down the right-wing and beat Gauthier on his glove-side with a wrist-shot from the bottom of the face-off circle.
The Cougars put their foot on the gas in the third period, as they scored twice and outshot the Royals 19-5. Toman made it 4-2 after getting a piece of Jack Sander’s shot with his stick and redirecting it past Outhouse at 2:05
Then Perepeluk made things real interesting late in the third. With half a minute on the clock, he darted down the wall and surprised Outhouse with a low shot between his legs to make it 4-3. However, with the goalie out of the net for the six-on-five the Cougars couldn’t’ generate a tying goal.
It was heated Friday, as both Matéj Toman and Tyson Upper picked up their first career fighting majors. Rhett Rhinehart was saddled with a game misconduct in the first period.
Royals[1-0] Kody McDonald (19) from Igor Martynov and Jameson Murray 3:47
Royals [2-0] Phillip Schultz (16) from Kody McDonald 6:16
Cougars [2-1] Josh Maser (27) from Joel Lakusta and Ryan Schoettler PP
Royals [3-1] Tarun Fizer (13) from Jameson Murray and Mitchell Prowse 16:03 PP
Royals [4-1] Kody McDonald (20) from Tarun Fizer and Scott Walford 4:26
Cougars [4-2] Matéj Toman (8) from Reid Perepeluk and Jack Sander 2:05
Cougars [4-3] Reid Perepeluk (2) from Jackson Leppard and Joel Lakusta19:26
Cougars- Taylor Gauthier (Loss) 14/1824:26| Isaiah DiLaura 10/10 33:5
Royals- Griffen Outhouse (Win) 32/35 60:00
UP NEXT: The Cougars (17-38-5-3) face the Royals in the rematch tomorrow at 7:05 pm. Fans can listen to both games on 94.3 The GOAT, or they can watch on WHL Live.