Taylor Gauthier stopped 37 shots for his second shutout of the season as the Prince George Cougars blanked the Lethbridge Hurricanes 2-0 at the CN Centre on Wednesday night.
The win snapped the Cougars’ four-game losing streak and puts them nine points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The scoring came from Mitchell Kohner (8) and Vladislav Mikhalchuk (12). Kohner scored the game winner two and half minutes into the second period to break a scoreless deadlock and Mikhalchuk sealed the win with an empty net goal with less than a minute left in regulation.
The Cougars’ special teams had a strong showing, as the power play went 1-3 and the penalty kill was a perfect 5-5. A big bounce back performance for the penalty kill, which had surrendered five goals in the previous two games.
After a scoreless first period, it was Kohner scoring off the rush on a setup by Filip Koffer. Jack Sander started the play from his own end with an outlet pass to Koffer in the neutral zone. Koffer then spotted Kohner streaking to the net and he tipped the pass past Bryan Thomson and in for his eighth at 2:36.
Through 40 minutes the Hurricanes outshot the Cougars 26-13, but Prince George took a 1-0 lead into the final frame.
Lethbridge applied pressure in the third period and got a power play with less than eight minutes left in regulation, but the Prince George penalty kill rose to the challenge and snuffed out any comeback attempt by the visitors.
One of Gauthier’s best saves of his 37 on Wednesday was a stick save off of the Hurricanes’ leading scorer Dylan Cozens late in the game and with the Cougars ahead 1-0.
Mikhalchuk sealed the Cougars’ 18th win with an empty net, power play goal at 19:22.
Game Notes: Taylor Gauthier was named the game’s first star after his shutout performance. Wednesday was his second shutout and first since December 17th against the Vancouver Giants. Mitchell Kohner’s goal in the second period was his first since February 8th against the Giants. Jack Sander returned to the line up after missing the last two games with an upper body injury. He assisted on Kohner’s goal and was named the third star. The Cougars improved to 11-17-2-2 at home and 1-5-0-0 against the Central Division.
Next Up: The Cougars (18-34-4-4) final home stand of the regular season continues Friday, March 6thagainst the Vancouver Giants; the puck drops at 7:00 pm. Tickets start at just $13 and are available at the TicketsNorth box office at the CN Centre, or online at www.ticketsnorth.ca
Cougars – 20
Hurricanes – 37
Three Stars: 1) Taylor Gauthier 2) Mitchell Kohner 3) Jack Sander