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Cougars fall a goal short in hard-fought Friday contest against Kelowna

James Doyle photo

The Prince George Cougars (19-26-2-1) fell a goal short on Friday, as the Kelowna Rockets (27-12-1-3) skated away with a 3-2 win at the CN Centre.

The game was scoreless for nearly the entire first 40 minutes, before Kelowna’s Mark Liwiski scored with under two minutes left in the middle frame, as the Rockets led 1-0 after two periods. Things took off in the third, as the two teams combined for four goals, three in the first three minutes and 41 seconds.

Koehn Ziemmer and Riley Heidt scored in the setback for Prince George. Ty Young, who made his first start since February 4th, stopped 26 of 29 shots in the Cougars’ crease.

The two teams are in the middle of playing each other three straight times and the road team has won both match ups thus far this week.


Prince George came out strong in the first period, as they had chances right from the opening shift and outshot the Rockets 11-3. Rockets’ goaltender Talyn Boyko was his team’s best player in the opening frame, as he was the main reason why it was scoreless after the first.

“It’s somewhat frustrating not burying those chances early in the game, but it’s about how you’re creating and how you’re playing and that was a major positive tonight,” commented Cougars’ General Manager & Head Coach Mark Lamb.

The game remained scoreless until the final two minutes of the second period when the visitors broke the 0-0 deadlock. Liwiski put Kelowna ahead 1-0 at 18:49 as he scored upstairs on Young from the slot.

Marcus Pacheco doubled the Rockets lead 66 seconds into the third period after he cashed in on a rebound that came off the goalie’s pad on a shot from the boards.

Ziemmer quickly cut into Kelowna’s lead moments after their second goal. The 17-year-old snuck the puck underneath the pad of Talyn Boyko from the face off dot at 2:19. His 20th made it a one goal game.

The Rockets restored their two-goal lead right at the five-minute mark of the third period. Adam Kydd pounced on another rebound out front of the Cougars’ net, as the visitors went back ahead 3-1.

Heidt pulled the Cougars within a goal of tying it on a slick individual effort. The 16-year-old centre stick handled into the middle and then fired a dart upstairs over the goalie’s stick at 11:01 to make it 3-2.

Prince George had their comeback attempt hampered by a late delay of game penalty with just over two minutes left in regulation. They managed to get the goalie out for the extra attacker in the last 40 seconds but could not manufacture an equalizer.

“It was a heck of a hockey game. Both teams played hard. We created a lot but got behind the eight ball and just didn’t have enough to finish it,” said Lamb.


Koehn Ziemmer (1g, 1a) and Riley Heidt (1g, 1a) each finished with two points. The Cougars have dropped their last four games at home. Their last win at the CN Centre came back on January 19th against Victoria. Prince George is now 2-5-0-0 against the Rockets in seven games this season. Forwards Ryker Singer (upper body) and Blake Eastman (lower body) did not dress.


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