The Prince George Cougars unwrapped a Christmas present early on Tuesday as they shutout the Vancouver Giants 3-0 at the Langley Events Centre, as they head into their Christmas break with back-to-back wins.
Taylor Gauthier stopped all 32 shots fired in his direction for his first shutout of the season and his fourth of his career. He was named the game’s second start and the Western Hockey League’s first star of the night.
Josh Maser scored twice and Rhinehart added another as the Cougars scored all three of their goals on the power-play. Tuesday marked the second time this season the Cougars have scored three power-play goals in a game.
The win also snapped a lengthy losing streak on the road, as the Cougars picked up their first win away from the CN Centre since October 27th, which was also in Langley against the Giants. Before Tuesday, they had lost seven-straight on the road.
After a scoreless first period, Rhinehart opened the scoring in the fleeting moments of the second period. Rhinehart took a cross ice pass from Ilijah Colina and scored on a one-timer from the face-off circle with just 1.6 seconds left on the clock. The power-play goal was Rhinehart’s third of the season and first since November 22.
In the final frame, the Cougars added to their lead after the Giants ran into more penalty trouble. Midway through the frame, the Cougars were given a five-on-three man-advantage and they made no mistake. Maser scored the first of his two in the period after Ethan Browne set him up at the top of the crease after he fired a centering feed from just above the goal line. Then, with just over two-minutes left, Maser scored his second of the frame, again on the power-play, into an empty-net. The Giants elected to pull their goalie for the extra skater.
Gauthier made timely saves throughout the contest, but none was bigger than his save on Milos Roman midway through the third period. Just before Maser made it 2-0, Tyler Preziuso set up Roman right on the doorstep after they exchanged passes down-low, but Gauthier slid to his left and denied Roman’s five-hole attempt and more importantly kept the score 1-0 at the time.
Game Notes: Gauthier’s shutout was his first since January 12th, 2019 against the Kelowna Rockets. Tuesday was the third-straight game Gauthier stopped 32 shots. Tuesday was Maser’s first two-goal since March 9th, 2019 against the Portland Winterhawks. With the win, the Cougars are now 2-3-0-0 against the Giants this season. They improve their road record to 3-10-0-1.
Next Up: The Cougars are off for the next nine days before they return from the Christmas break on Friday, December 27 against the Everett Silvertips. Their next home game in Friday, January 3 against the Silvertips. The Cougars organization like to wish its season ticket holders, corporate sponsors, billets, and volunteers a very Merry Christmas.
Giants – 0/2
Three Stars: 1) Josh Maser 2) Taylor Gauthier 3) Trent Miner