The Prince George Cougars are heading back across the border with two big points after their 2-1 overtime win against the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, WA Sunday.
Captain Josh Maser scored the overtime winner with just 18-seconds left on the clock for his team-leading 24th goal of the season, which ended the Cougars’ s five-game losing streak.
Maser rushed down the right-wing and squeezed his backhand attempt through the goalie’s arm from the bottom of the face-off circle. That goal secured the extra point and brought the Cougars to within 12 points of the T-Birds for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Vladislav Mikhalchuk scored a power-play goal in the second period for his ninth of season and second in as many games. The Cougars led 1-0 through 40-minutes after a scoreless first period. Taylor Gauthier earned his 13th win, stopping 25 of 26 shots that came his way. Gauthier was not only named the game’s first star but was named the WHL First Star of the Nigh
Special teams were a factor in regulation. The Cougars’ power-play went 1-3 and the penalty-kill was 1-2.
Seattle’s only goal came on a power-play in the third period. Jared Davidson spoiled Gauthier’s shutout bid with less than six-minutes left in regulation. Davidson’s one-timer from the face-off circle beat Gauthier over the glove at 14:17.
It was a tight-checking game, as it took 32 minutes before the Cougars broke the scoreless deadlock. On their second power-play of the game, Mikhalchuk got just enough of the puck on his one-time attempt to have it sneak underneath the goalie’s pad. The change of speeds worked out for Mikhalchuk who made it 1-0 at 12:13.
Before the Cougars opened the scoring, the Thunderbirds had a goal called back. Nearly three minutes into the second period, Andre Kukuca thought he had scored on the power-play but after a short video review, the referees determined the net was off its moorings before he had shot the puck. A big break for the Cougars’ who had surrendered the game’s first goal in each of their previous six games.
Game Notes: Maser’s overtime goal was his first game-winner of the season. His point streak now sits at five games. He has five points (3-2-5) in those five games. Vladislav Mikhalchuk’s two-point game pushed his point streak to three games. He has five points (2-3-5) in his last three games. Ryan Schoettler has three points (0-3-3) assists in the two games. The Cougars improve to 2-3 in overtime and finish with an 8-11-1-0 record against the U.S Division. The Cougars finished with a 3-1-0-0 record against Seattle.a
Next Up: The Cougars (17-31-3-4) head home for a pair of games against the Kelowna Rockets on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tickets start at just $13 per seat, per game. Fans can buy their tickets at the TicketsNorth box office at the CN Centre, or online at ticketsnorth.ca
Cougars – 1/3
Thunderbirds – 1/2
Cougars – 32
Three Stars: 1) Taylor Gauthier 2) Jared Davidson 3) Roddy Ross