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Winterhawks’ Gauthier stymies his former team on Friday

Matthew Wolfe photo

The Prince George Cougars (17-20-1-1) started their six-game U.S Division road trip with a 4-1 loss to the Portland Winterhawks (23-11-3-2) on Friday night at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland, OR.

Prince George opened the scoring, as Riley Heidt extended his point streak to seven games, but the Winterhawks scored four unanswered to pick up their sixth-straight win.

The Cougars have now lost their last three as they head north up Interstate 5 to face the Everett Silvertips (28-7-2-2) on Saturday night.


The Cougars faced their former teammate in goaltender Taylor Gauthier for the first time since the December 27 trade between the two teams. It was Gauthier who got the better of his old club, as the 20-year-old turned aside 26 shots for his sixth win in six games with Portland. Gauthier played in 166 career regular season games with the Cougars over five seasons.


Riley Heidt scored the Cougars’ lone goal, his 11th of the season, as he opened the scoring just before the eight-minute of the first period. Heidt’s goal extended his point streak to seven games. He has 10 points (2g-8a) in his last seven games. The 16-year-old is second in team scoring with 32 points (11g-21a) in 36 games.


Friday was the Cougars’ sixth consecutive loss in Portland. The Cougars are now 2-6-1-0 against the U.S Division this season. Prince George last won in the Rose City on October 1st, 2017, when they blanked the Winterhawks 3-0. Tavin Grant stopped 47 shots for the shutout on that Sunday afternoon.


Tyler Brennan was busy in the Cougars’ crease. The 18-year-old stopped 43 shots on Friday night. That following up a 48-save effort in his last outing on January 21st against the Kamloops Blazers. Over his last two starts, Brennan has stopped 91 shots.


The Cougars had five players return from COVID-19 protocol ahead of Friday’s game. Connor Bowie, Carlin Dezainde, Fischer O’Brien, Jonny Hooker, and Hudson Thornton all returned to the lineup. Hooker left Friday’s game late in the second period with a lower body injury. Craig Armstrong did not dress. Prince George went with 11 forwards, seven defencemen.


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