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Eastman pots a pair in the Cougars triumph over Vancouver

James Doyle photo

The Prince George Cougars earned their third consecutive win on Tuesday, with a 5-3 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants at the CN Centre.

Blake Eastman paced the offence with a pair of goals. Hudson Thornton, Jonny Hooker, and Koehn Ziemmer also found the back of the net. Craig Armstrong chipped in with a pair of assists.

Taylor Gauthier continued his run of strong play, as he earned his sixth win as he stopped 36 of 39 shots. Gauthier only faced six shots in the first period but then stopped 31 of 33 shots over the final 40 minutes.

“I thought it was a solid game right from the start. In any game you have lapses and momentum comes and goes, but we hung right in there and played a solid game,” said Cougars’ General Manager & Head Coach Mark Lamb.

One line that was feeling it on Tuesday was the trio of Eastman, Hooker, and Kyren Gronick. Eastman and Hooker combined for three goals and Gronick was a plus three on the night.

“They were really good and in both ends of the ice. I thought they could have had even more offence, but they have some chemistry and hopefully they can keep it going,” commented Lamb.

The two teams were tied 1-1 after 20 minutes. Thornton opened the scoring for the Cougars, as he hammered his shot off the crossbar and in at 7:42. The Giants replied quickly, as Lies scored less than a minute later at 8:36.

Prince George got a pair of goals from Eastman and Hooker in the second period to go up 3-1 after two periods. Hooker put the Cougars ahead with his power play tally at 13:45. Hooker’s persistence paid off, as he found the puck out front, turned and fired in his team-leading eighth goal. Eastman’s first of two came at 16:19 of the middle frame as he buried a rebound at the top the crease.

Vancouver cut into the Cougars’ lead early in the third period, as Cole Shepard made it 3-2 50 seconds into the final frame.

Ziemmer restored the Cougars’ two-goal lead seven minutes into the third as he finished off an odd-man rush with Craig Armstrong to make it 4-2 at 7:07. Ziemmer took a pass from Armstrong and then tucked the puck around the fallen Giant’s goaltender.

Eastman’s second of game came with less than four minutes left to make it 5-2. The Cougars’ forward settled down a bouncing puck and quickly put his backhand through the goalie’s wickets.

Ty Halaburda got a late goal back for the Giants to make it 5-3 but that’s as close as they would get on Tuesday.

Game Notes: Prince George improved their record to 11-14-0-0 with the win and their home record now sits at 7-6-0-0 through 13 games. The Cougars are now 2-3-0-0 against Vancouver this season. Tuesday was Blake Eastman’s first career multi-goal game. Craig Armstrong and Hudson Thornton have a share of the team scoring lead, as both players have 16 points.

Next Game: Wednesday, Dec 15 vs. Vancouver Giants, 7 pm.


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