The Prince George Cougars broke out the brooms on Saturday, as they swept their weekend doubleheader against the Kamloops Blazers with a 5-3 win at the CN Centre.
Tyson Upper, Josh Maser, Vladislav Mikhalchuk, Mitch Kohner, and Josh Maser scored for Prince George, who were coming off a 4-3 Friday over Kamloops. The star of the game was Taylor Gauthier, who turned in another first star performance, stopping 48 of 51 shots. He stopped 89 of 95 shots on the weekend.
Zane Franklin, Ryley Appelt, and Connor Zary scored for the Blazers. Two of Kamloops’ three goals came on the power-play. Dylan Garand suffered the loss in goal, yielding five goals on 20 shots.
Upper opened the scoring two-minutes into the first period and Maser scored in the back half of the opening frame, as the Cougars led 2-1 after 20-minutes. Upper tipped in Kohner’s shot at 2:18 for his first goal in 15 games. Just 17-seconds after the Blazers tied it on the power-play, Maser darted down left-wing and scored from the face-off circle to put Prince George back ahead 2-1; Maser finished with a goal and an assist.
The Blazers did tie it midway through the second period, after Appelt cashed in on a rebound in front of the Cougars’ net at 9:02. However, the Cougars had an answer for that goal too.
Four minutes after Kamloops tied it 2-2, it was Mikhalchuk picking up his first of the season at 13:54. Ryan Schoettler wrapped the puck around the boards and Mikhalchuk quickly fired a shot from the right-wing that surprised Dylan Garand and got through his pads. Mikhalchuk’s first goal since rejoining the team from the KHL.
It was 3-2 for the Cougars after 40-minutes and it stayed that way until nearly seven-minutes into the third frame. Connor Zary brought the Blazers back level, scoring on the power-play at 6:52. Zary found space between the post and Gauthier from the bottom of the face-off circle.
Like they did in the second, Prince George wasted little time generating a response in the third. 62-seconds after the Blazers scored, Mitch Kohner put the Cougars back on top. Kohner streaked down the left-wing and fired a shot past the glove of the Blazers’ goaltender at 7:54
Ethan Browne sealed the win with two and a half minutes left. Browne stripped the puck from Zane Franklin at the Kamloops’ blue-line and broke in all alone. He was initially stopped by Garand but he managed to convert on his own rebound.
Game Notes: Saturday marked the first time the Cougars scored five goals in a game this season. Prince George now leads the nine-game season series two games to one over Kamloops. The two teams meet again in January at the CN Centre. Rhett Rhinehart and Ryan Schoettler finished with a game high +3 rating. The Cougars improve their record to 3-9-0-2 against the B.C. Division. Gauthier has stopped 95 percent of the shots he has faced against Kamloops in three games. Mitch Kohner finished with two points (1-1-2) Saturday.
Next Up: The Cougars (6-16-0-2) head out on the road next Saturday, November 30th, against the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place. Fans can watch the game at Brown’s Socialhouse, or they can listen to 94.3 The GOAT.
Cougars [1-0] Tyson Upper (4). Assists: Mitch Kohner, Craig Armstrong 2:18
Blazers [1-1] Zane Franklin (16). Assists: Connor Zary, Ryan Hughes 12:57 POWER-PLAY
Cougars [2-1] Josh Maser (10). Assists: Rhett Rhinehart, Filip Koffer 13:14
Blazers [2-2] Ryley Appelt (3). Assists: Quinn Schmiemann, Logan Stankoven 9:03
Cougars [3-2] Vladislav Mikhalchuk (1). Assists: Ryan Schoettler, Josh Maser 13:54
Blazers [3-3] Connor Zary (17). Assists: Zane Franklin, Max Martin 6:52 POWER-PLAY
Cougars [4-3] Mitch Kohner (5) 7:54
Cougars [5-3] Ethan Browne (2) 17:29
Blazers – 2/2
Three Stars: 1) Taylor Gauthier 2) Josh Maser 3) Mitch Kohner