The Prince George Cougars ushered in the new decade with a 4-3 win over the Everett Silvertips at the CN Centre on Friday night.
Playing in their first game of the new year, the Cougars topped the Silvertips for the second time in a week and by the same, 4-3 score. Friday was the Cougars’ third win in their last five games and they’ve now collected points in six of their last seven games.
Ryan Schoettler scored the game-winner, on the power-play, midway through the third period to break a 3-3 tie. Tyson Upper, Ethan Samson, and Vladislav Mikhalchuk also scored. Upper was named the game’s first star after finishing with three points. Schoettler tacked on an assist as well. Taylor Gauthier stopped 39 of 42 shots to pick up his seventh win.
Bryce Kindopp scored twice for Everett and Wyatte Wylie had their other goal, as the Silvertips winless streak stretched to three games. 16-year-old Braden Holt made his first career start in the Silvertips’ crease. He stopped 34 shots in a losing cause.
Upper opened the scoring in the first period as the Cougars led 1-0 through 20-minutes. With two minutes left in the opening frame, Upper got in behind the goalie and was first to the puck and jammed it across the goal line for his fifth goal of the season.
Everett turned the game around in the second, as Kindopp scored two goals 62-seconds apart to give the visitors 2-1 lead, albeit brief. Kindopp tied the game on the power-play at 7:32, then he scored the go-ahead goal right after a face-off at 8:34. The goals kept coming.
Twenty-eight seconds after Everett took the lead, the Cougars responded. Samson scored his second goal of the season on a wrist-shot from the blue-line at 9:02. Craig Armstrong worked the puck back to Samson, who picked the corner on the stick side of Holt for his first goal since October 5.
In total, the two teams combined for three goals in a 90-second stretch in the middle frame. When the dust settled, it was 2-2 after two periods.
Before the second period ended, Armstrong dropped the mitts with Everett’s Justyn Gurney, and did well despite giving up a sizeable weight and reach advantage. That bout seemed to spark the Cougars.
35-seconds into the third period, Mikhalchuk put Prince George back ahead. Jack Sander fired a breakaway pass up the middle to Mikhalchuk at the Everett blue-line. The 20-year-old broke in alone and slide the puck around the outstretched goaltender. His third making it 3-2.
Everett came back and tied the game near the midway mark of the third. On a delayed penalty call against the Cougars, Wylie took a drop pass from Cole Fonstad and scored from the slot at 8:29 to make it 3-3.
Prince George, to their credit, didn’t fold but pushed back and scored not even two-minutes later. On the power-play, Ryan Schoettler gave the Cougars the lead back after his one-timer from the right-wing found its way past a maze of bodies and the goaltender’s outstretched arm. His third goal this season made it 4-3 with just over nine-minutes left on the clock.
Game Notes: Upper’s goal was his first since November 23rd against the Kamloops Blazers. It was his first multi-point game since October 18th. The win on Friday was the Cougars’ first home win against Everett since November 10th, 2017. Prince George improved their home record to 6-10-1-2 and are now 4-7-1-0 against the U.S. Division.
Next Up: The Cougars (10-21-2-3) look for the weekend sweep against the Silvertips tomorrow, Saturday, January 4th; face-off is 7:00 pm. Single game tickets start at just $13 per person, per game. Fans can get their tickets at the CN Centre box office, or online at www.ticketsnorth.ca
Silvertips – 1/3
Three Stars: 1) Tyson Upper 2) Bryce Kindopp 3) Ryan Schoettler
-Prince George Cougars