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Slow start bogs down Cougars in loss to Hitmen

The Prince George Cougars’ return home didn’t treat them well, as they fell 4-2 to the Calgary Hitmen at the CN Centre on Saturday night.

Slow starts in each of the first two periods plague Prince George, as they dropped their third-straight game. Calgary scored their four goals in bunches, scoring the first two goals in each of the first and second periods.

Carson Focht, Josh Prokop, Riley Fiddler-Schultz, and Adam Kydd scored for the Hitmen. Brayden Peters stopped 26 of 28 shots to pick up his 14th win in the Calgary crease.

Filip Koffer and Josh Maser scored for the Cougars, who are winless in four games against the Central Division this season. With the loss, the Cougars remain nine points back of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

It was rare off night for Taylor Gauthier and his teammates. Gauthier surrendered four goals on 17 shots, before being replaced by Tyler Brennan. Brennan stopped all 14 shots he faced in 36 minutes of work.

Calgary got off to a quick start, scoring two goals in the first seven minutes of the game. Carson Focht made it 1-0 after he scored on a wraparound just 81 seconds into the first period. Josh Prokop added to the Hitmen lead five minutes later, scoring on a rebound in front of the Cougars’ net at 7:21.

The Hitmen picked up in the second where they left off in the first. Calgary scored 42 seconds apart to go ahead 4-0 in the first two minutes of the second period. Riley Fiddler-Schultz redirected Orca Wiesblatt’s pass in from the slot at 1:13. Then, Adam Kydd tipped in a point shot at 1:55 to put the visitors up comfortably.

That fourth goal spelled the end of the night for Gauthier, who was replaced by Tyler Brennan.

Prince George got onto the scoreboard six minutes into the second period. Filip Koffer came down the right wing and fired a shot past the stick side of Peters at 5:54 for his seventh goal of the season.

In the third period, the power-play manufactured a second goal for the Cougars. The Cougars were given a six-minute power-play after Calgary’s Jett Woo was handed two separate minor penalties. Josh Maser got enough of Cole Moberg’s point shot to tip it in through Peters’ legs at 5:08.

Prince George never managed to close the deficit to less than two goals on Saturday.

Game Notes: Ilijah Colina had his six-game point streak come to an end Saturday; he had seven points over that stretch. Filip Koffer’s goal was his first since January 8th. Josh Maser power-play goal in the third period snapped a four-game goalless drought. Nikita Krivokrasov played in his first game since January 24th, after being sidelined with a lower-body injury. Vancouver beat Seattle 6-2 Saturday, keeping the Cougars nine points back in the Wildcard playoff race.

Next Up: The Cougars (16-29-3-4) face the Red Deer Rebels (19-31-2-3) on Monday in a Family Day matinee at the CN Centre; the puck drops at 2:00 pm. The game is free to the public as CN Rail has bought every ticket and has donated them back to the public.


Cougars – 1/5

Hitmen – 0/1


Cougars – 28

Hitmen – 31

Three Stars: 1) Carson Focht 2) Orca Wiesblatt 3) Filip Koffer

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