Armstrong registered a natural hat-trick by the midway mark of the second period, then scored his fourth goal into an empty-net late in the third period. Riley Heidt chipped in with a pair of assists in the victory, and Taylor Gauthier earned his first win after he stopped 37 of 38 shots fired his way.
Tristen Nielsen spoiled Gauthier’s shutout bid early in the third period, as he scored his team-best seventh goal of the season. Trent Miner was tagged with the loss, after he surrendered three goals on 26 shots.
Monday was the Cougars (3-2-1-1) second win in a row over the Giants, as they moved within two points of Vancouver for second in the B.C. Division. The Cougars improved their record against the Giants to 2-0-0-1; they’ve taken five out of a possible six points.
Armstrong, who scored a short-handed goal in Saturday’s 6-3 win over Vancouver, opened the scoring 13-minutes into the first period. Kyren Gronick made the play of the game after he spun a perfect tape-to-tape backhand pass to Armstrong after he spun off the wall.
Armstrong bagged his second of the game five minutes and 26 seconds into the middle frame. The Crossfield, AB product flew down the left-wing and fired a shot from the face-off circle that beat Miner five-hole to put the Cougars up 2-0. Armstrong then made it 3-0 at nine minutes and 48 seconds of the second on his team’s first crack at the power-play. Hudson Thornton had his point shot tipped by Armstrong from the slot and it ended up squeezing through the goalie’s pads. The 17-year-old put the finishing touches on the night with his fourth goal into an empty-net with a minute and a half left.
Cougars- Armstrong (4)
Cougars- Taylor Gauthier, 60:00, 37 saves, 38 shots
Giants- Trent Miner, 58:23, 23 saves, 26 shots
Three Stars: 1) Craig Armstrong 2) Taylor Gauthier 3) Riley Heidt
Game Notes: Armstrong is the first player on the Cougars to score four-goals in a single since Josh Maser did it on January 10, 2018 against the Giants. Maser scored all four goals in the Cougars 4-3 overtime win. Tonight, marked the first time since the 2017-18 season the Cougars had more than one hat-trick in a single season. The Cougars are 2-0-1-1 in their last four games.
Next Game: Wednesday, April 14 at the Kamloops Blazers (7:00 pm PT). Fans can listen to the game on 94-3 The GOAT, or they can watch on CHL TV.