The Prince George Cougars were outgunned on Friday night, falling 6-1 to the Kamloops Blazers at the CN Centre.
The Cougars were playing with a short deck, missing key pieces both on the blue line and upfront. Josh Maser scored the Cougars’ only goal, in the second period, and Taylor Gauthier stopped 43 of 49 shots. The Cougars power play was 0-4 and the penalty kill was 2-5.
Kamloops scored two goals in each of the three periods and their top line of Zane Franklin, Orrin Centazzo and Connor Zary combined for three goals and seven points. Centazzo scored twice and Zary, Logan Stankoven, Matthew Seminoff, and Montana Onyebuchi also scored for the Blazers. Rayce Ramsay stopped 20 of 21 shots to earn his 10th win in the Blazers’ crease.
The Blazers led 2-0 through 20 minutes after getting goals from Stankoven and Seminoff, two of their three 16-year-olds, 10 minutes apart. Stankoven opened the scoring at 7:14 when he scored on his backhand after sliding the puck underneath the goalie’s pad. Seminoff doubled Kamloops’ lead on rebound goal from the top of the crease at 17:50.
Zary added to the Blazers’ lead on the power-play early in second period. The 18-year-old went end-to-end, and he finished the rush off by poking the puck through Gauthier’s pad at 3:44 to make it 3-0.
Maser got the Cougars on the scoreboard, as he picked up his 25th of the season just before the seven-minute mark. Ilijah Colina hustled after the puck and fired a pass out from the corner to Maser, who had ample time to put the puck over Ramsay at 6:58.
Kamloops restored their three-goal lead late in the second period. Defenceman Montana Onyebuchi hammered a one-timer over the goalie’s glove at 14:40 to make it 4-1 for the visitors.
In the final frame, Centazzo scored twice to pad the Blazers’ lead. Centazzo made it 5-1 just 10 seconds into the period after he banged in Zary’s pass from behind the net. Then, Centazzo finished off the scoring with a power-play goal with just under four minutes left in regulation.
Game Notes: Josh Maser extended his point streak to eight games with his goal. In the past eight games Maser has 12 points (4-8-12). Defencemen Jack Sander (upper-body) and Marco Creta (personal), and forwards Ethan Browne (upper-body) and Nikita Krivokrasov (lower-body) did not play. With the loss, the season series between the two teams is split through six games. The Cougars home record fell to 10-17-2-2. Prince George has now surrendered the first goal in eight of their last nine games.
Next Up: The Cougars (17-33-4-4) and Blazers meet again Saturday at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops; the puck drops at 7:00 pm. Prince George is back home Wednesday, March 4th against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Tickets for that game are available at the TicketsNorth box office at the CN Centre, or online at www.ticketsnorth.ca
Cougars – 0/4
Blazers – 2/5
Cougars – 21
Blazers – 49
Three Stars: 1) Connor Zary 2) Montana Onyebuchi 3) Logan Stankoven