For the second time this week Joel Hofer and the Portland Winterhawks shutout the Prince George Cougars.
Hofer stopped 25 shots for his fourth shutout, as the Winterhawks blanked the Cougars 3-0 on Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. He shutout the Cougars by the same 3-0 score on Tuesday back at the CN Centre; he stopped 23 shots that night.
Lane Gilliss triggered the Winterhawks’ Teddy Bear Toss with his opening goal in the first period, as over 9,300 fans showered the ice with stuffed toys. Reece Newkirk (short-handed) and Simon Knak tacked on two more goals in the second period.
Taylor Gauthier was tagged with the loss, stopping 43 of 46 shots. He faced 38 of those 46 over the final two periods. Portland peppered him with 18 shots in the third period alone.
The Cougars had a chance to open the scoring on the game’s first shift, as Reid Perepeluk stole the puck in the neutral zone and broke down the right-wing. Hofer managed to get a piece of his shot with the top of his glove to steer the puck away.
Gilliss scored Portland’s Teddy Bear Toss goal for the second consecutive season, as he managed to squeeze a wraparound past Gauthier at the post of the stick side just before the eight-minute mark.
Prince George had their chance to tie it late in the first period as Craig Armstrong had a rebound come to him out at the top of the crease, but he failed to put the puck over an outstretched Hofer.
Early in the middle frame, the Cougars had a power-play when they were down just a goal, but it was Portland taking advantage of the situation and they scored short-handed. They were also the beneficiary of an extremely fortuitous bounce too.
Reece Newkirk came down the left-wing and his wrist-shot was initially stopped by Gauthier. However, the puck popped out of his glove and rolled behind him before going off of Tyson Upper’s skate and across the goal line.
Portland finished off the scoring midway through the middle stanza as Simon Knak tipped the puck in off the rush after a nice setup by Jack O’Brien.
Game Notes: Saturday marked the fourth time in the last nine games the Cougars were shutout. Signed prospect Keaton Dowhaniuk made his WHL regular season debut Saturday. He was an even rating and recorded one shot on net. Craig Armstrong left the game early in the third period after being hit by Portland’s Nick Cicek. Ethan Browne (illness), Blake Eastman (injured), Vladislav Mikhalchuk, and Koehn Ziemmer (AP) were scratched.
Next Up: The Cougars (6-19-0-2) and Winterhawks (19-6-1-2) wrap up their four-game season series tomorrow afternoon at Veterans Memorial Coliseum; the puck drops at 5:00 pm. Fans can watch the game at Brown’s Socialhouse in Prince George, or they can listen to the radio broadcast on 94.3 The GOAT.
Three Stars: 1) Lane Gilliss 2) Joel Hofer 3) Clay Hanus