The Prince George Cougars opened their six-game East Division road trip with a 5-4 shootout loss to the Regina Pats at the Brandt Centre Wednesday night.
Filip Koffer scored twice for the Cougars and Brendan Boyle and Connor Bowie also scored in regulation. The Cougars led 2-0 midway through the first, 3-1 after 20-minutes and 4-3 going into the third period. Taylor Gauthier suffered the loss in net but was named the game’s third star. Gauthier stopped 41 of 45 shots through 65-minutes.
Carson Denomie and Logan Nijhoff each scored twice for the Pats in regulation, who won despite never leading through 65-minutes. Max Paddock picked up the win in net, turning aside 31 of 35 shots. Regina snapped a three-game losing streak with the victory.
Regina made it 2-1 late in the first on Denomie’s first of two but just 42-seconds later it was Boyle banging in a rebound at the top of the crease to restore the Cougars two-goal lead.
It remained 3-1 for the Cougars until the midway mark of the middle period, when the Pats scored twice in 50-seconds to tie it 3-3. Nijhoff made it 3-2 after finishing off a two-on-one rush with Riley Krane at 12:43. Then, right from a face-off, Denomie scored his second of the game, tipping in Kyle Walker’s point-shot at 13:33.
Prince George had another pushback, as Bowie restored the Cougars’ lead late in the middle stanza. The play started when Koffer drove the net from the left-wing, but he never got his shot off. Luckily for him, Bowie was right behind him to whack the loose puck into the open net at 17:30.
It remained 4-3 for the Cougars until the final minutes of regulation. Nijhoff picked up his second of the night at 16:48 to tie it 4-4. Nijhoff jammed in the loose puck at the top of the crease after it squirted over to him from the side of the net.
Each team had two shots on net in overtime but neither materialized a game-winner. Tyson Upper had a great chance in the final seconds of the extra frame but failed to jam the puck past Paddock who went for the poke-check.
The shootout went five-rounds. The Cougars grabbed a lead courtesy of Ilijah Colina in round one, but Cole Dubinsky tied it for Regina in round-three, and then Zack Smith got the extra point for the Pats with his shootout-winner in the fifth and deciding round.
Game Notes: The Cougars dropped to 0-4 in the shootout after Wednesday’s loss. It was also just their third loss when leading after two periods (6-0-1-2). Jack Sander had a pair of assists in the loss Wednesday; he now has three points (1-2-3) in the last two games. Mitch Kohner marked his return to the lineup with two assists. The Cougars have lost their last four games in Regina dating back to January 24th, 2014. They last won at the Brandt Centre on October 8th, 2011 (2-0).
Next Up: The Cougars (10-22-2-4) continue their East Division road trip on Friday when they visit the Prince Albert Raiders (21-14-5-1) at 7:00 pm CT, 5:00 pm PT. Fans can listen to the game on 94-3 The GOAT, or they can watch it at Brown’s Socialhouse in Prince George.
Pats – 0/2
Three Stars: 1) Logan Nijhoff 2) Max Paddock 3) Taylor Gauthier