BY FRASER RODGERS
Prince George Cougars
The Prince George Cougars are still in search of their first win after dropping a 2-1 decision to the Victoria Royals Friday at Save on Foods Memorial Centre.
Royals’ (1-1-0-0) Swiss import forward Keanu Derungs broke a 1-1 deadlock five-minutes into the third period, scoring his first WHL goal and leading Victoria to a win in their home opener. Shane Farkas picked up the victory in his home debut, as the 20-year-old stopped 22 of 23 shots in the Royals’ crease.
Cougars’ (0-3-0-0) Czech import, Matéj Toman, scored his first goal of the season early on in the second period to give the visitors their first lead of the season. Toman reached out and deflected Ryan Schoettler’s point-shot over the goaltender’s glove near the six-minute mark.
The home team roared back midway through period two, as it was Carson Miller scoring on a drop pass from Gary Haden to even the game up at 1-1 with just seven-minutes left. Miller scored as time expired on a Royals’ power-play. Then the Cougars went down a goal on a bit of a bad bounce.
Derungs’ game-winner in the third period was the result of Brandon Cutler’s no-look pass going off the side of the net and out front to the Swiss rookie. Derungs quickly slammed the puck through Taylor Gauthier’s pads from the top of the crease.
Gauthier had his best outing of the young season, turning aside 33 of 35 shots, including 13 in the third period. His best save came near the midway mark of the middle stanza. With the Cougars holding onto a 1-0 lead, Gauthier sprawled across to get a pad on Gary Haden’s wraparound bid at the far post. Gauthier was named the game’s third star.
Cole Moberg and Ilijah Colina did not play due to upper-body injuries.
The two teams meet again Saturday night in Victoria; puck drop is 7:05 pm. Fans can listen to the game on 94.3 The GOAT, or they can watch online via http://www.whllive.com.
Prince George returns home to face the Kelowna Rockets on October 4th & 5th. Single game tickets are on-sale and start at just $13, and there is also great pricing for seniors and youth as well. Tickets are on sale at the TicketsNorth by Treasure Cove Casino box office, or online at www.ticketsnorth.ca
Cougars [1-0] Matéj Toman (1) from Ryan Schoettler and Rhett Rhinehart 5:40
Royals [1-1] Carson Miller from Gary Haden and Logan Doust 13:15
Royals [2-1] Keanu Derungs from Brandon Cutler and River Fahey 4:56
Three Stars: 1) Carson Miller 2) Keanu Derungs 3) Taylor Gauthier