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Slow start sinks Cougars in loss to Americans

James Doyle photo

The Prince George Cougars were slow starters on Friday night in their 4-3 setback to the Tri-City Americans at the CN Centre.

The Cougars fell behind 4-0 to Tri-City, before coming up a goal short in the comeback attempt. The Cougars are now winless in their last four games and conclude their six-game home stand tomorrow against the Americans.

“It (the comeback) really didn’t matter, it was how we started the game. We were skating uphill the first two periods. We had no chemistry, we couldn’t make a play,” said Cougars’ GM & Head Coach Mark Lamb. “They (Tri-City) looked like the faster team, the better team. We did get back in it, but it certainly wasn’t good enough.”

Jonny Hooker, Ryker Singer, and Hudson Thornton scored in a losing effort. Goaltender Tyler Brennan started but was replaced by Taylor Gauthier after surrendering four goals on 24 shots. Gauthier stopped all 12 he faced.

The Cougars’ power-play manufactured two goals on Friday, after Prince George scored just once in their previous five games on the man advantage.

Nick Avakyan picked up his first career win in the Americans’ crease, as he stopped 23 of 26 shots. Sam Huo, Marc Lajoie, Parker Bell, and Jake Sloan scored for Tri-City.

Huo and Lajoie put the visitors up by a pair after 20-minutes. Huo opened the scoring at 7:23 during a four-on-four sequence. Lajoie doubled the Americans’ lead at 12:21 with a power-play goal. In the second, Bell made it 3-0 at 4:30 after taking a drop pass in the slot. Sloan scored at the 10-minute mark to put Tri-City up 4-0 midway through the game.

The Cougars were desperate for an answer and got it in the form of a power-play goal from the captain. Hooker made it a 4-1 game at 11:14 of the middle frame, as he scored his first goal since Oct. 22nd. Prince George continued to press in the third period and made it interesting.

Singer scored on a backhand off the rush to pull the home steam with two at 3:25. Then, on a power-play late in regulation, Thornton scored from the slot at 17:20 to make it 4-3. Prince George made one final push inside the final minute with the extra skater but could not come up with a tying goal.

Game Notes: Friday, was the first meeting between the two teams since Feb. 1st, 2020.  Forwards Caden Brown, Kyren Gronick, and Fischer O’Brien all returned to the lineup after missing time last week due to injury. Prince George is now 1-6-0-0 in the month of November.

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