The Prince George Cougars were yet again on the wrong side of a one-goal game against the Victoria Royals, falling 3-2 in the shootout Friday at the CN Centre.
Victoria’s Tarun Fizer scored the winner in the third round of the shootout, as the Royals won their fifth-straight one-goal game against the Cougars this season. Gary Haden scored twice in the third period to force overtime, as the Royals rallied from a 2-0 deficit. Shane Farkas stopped 40 of 42 shots in 65-minutes to earn third star honours.
Prince George led 2-0 through 40-minutes on goals by Reid Perepeluk in the first period and Ethan Browne (power-play) in the second. However, they couldn’t hang on in the third period, losing for only the second time this season when leading after two periods. Taylor Gauthier was impressive despite the loss, as he kicked-out 32 shots over 65-minutes; he stopped all five shots he faced in overtime. He was the game’s second star.
“Playing to win means you do the little things that lead to a win, but we just didn’t do that late in the game,” stated General Manager & Head Coach Mark Lamb post-game. “Even though we scored a power-play goal, I thought our special teams let us down a bit. We had chances to put them away but didn’t.”
The Cougars went 1-6 on the power-play and scored on an extended five-on-three in the second period. However, they were held to just one goal during that stretch that saw them on the power-play four four-minutes. Victoria’s Kaid Oliver was given a double minor late in the middle stanza for high-sticking Browne and running oer Gauthier.
Perepeluk opened the scoring late in the first period, banging in the rebound that came off the goalie’s pad after Josh Maser took the initial shot. His first goal since November 1st. Browne doubled the Cougars’ lead late in the second, firing a dart to the top corner from the face-off circle. Browne marking his return to the line up with a power-play marker to put Prince George up 2-0 after the middle frame.
Haden scored his first of two in the third period just 12-seconds after the puck was dropped. On a Royals’ power-play, Haden fired the puck over the glove of Gauthier after taking a cross-ice pass. His second came with jut 67-seconds left in regulation and with the goalie pulled. Haden was parked in front of the Cougars’ net and pounced on a rebound and knocked it through Gauthier’s pads.
Fizer was the only player to score out of the six combined shooters in the three-round shootout. He put the puck over Gauthier’s shoulder on the stick side for his second shootout winner against the Cougars this season.
Browne, Vladislav Mikhalchuk and Cole Moberg were the Cougars shooters in the shootout.
Game Notes: Prince George now owns a record of 4-0-1-1 when leading after two periods. The Cougars dropped to 0-3 in the shootout after Friday’s setback; all three losses to the Royals. Victoria has now won 10-straight against Prince George dating back to last season. Browne returned to action after missing the last four games due to an illness. Mikhalchuk returned too after missing the last two games.
Next Up: The Cougars (6-20-1-3) look to split the weekend doubleheader against the Royals tomorrow night; puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm. Tomorrow is the team’s annual Teddy & Toque Toss sponsored by Northland Dodge. Fans are encouraged to bring a new stuff toyed or warm winter clothing, to the game to throw onto the ice when the Cougars’ score their first goal. Tickets start at just $13 per person and are available at the TicketsNorth box office, or online at www.ticketsnorth.ca
Royals – 1/2
Three Stars: 1) Gary Haden 2) Taylor Gauthier 3) Shane Farkas