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Special teams costly in loss to Rockets

James Doyle photo

The Prince George Cougars (22-38-4-1) are winless in their last five games after their 4-1 loss to the Kelowna Rockets at the CN Centre on Wednesday night.

The loss keeps the Cougars in ninth place in the Western Conference, one point back of the Victoria Royals who hold down the final playoff spot. The Cougars host the Royals on Saturday in their final home game of the Regular Season.

It wasn’t hard to pinpoint the issue on Wednesday, as special teams were the Cougars ultimate downfall. Prince George went 0-3 on the power play and the Rockets scored twice on three chances.

“The difference in the game was special teams. Our power play didn’t get anything going and they scored twice on theirs. Five-on-five we were fine, we played with a lot of structure.”

Fischer O’Brien scored the Cougars’ only goal, as he bagged his first goal of the season in the first period. Ty Young stopped 20 of 23 shots in the Prince George net.

The Rockets’ Colton Dach and Pavel Novak each finished the night with a goal and three points, as the Rockets completed the six-game sweep in Prince George this season. Kelowna goaltender Jari Kykkanen picked up the win, as he stopped 21 of 22 shots.

A night after the two teams held each other scoreless through regulation, Wednesday featured three goals in the first 20 minutes. Kelowna scored twice in the opening frame, as they led 2-1 after the first period.

Dach and Novak scored in the first for the visitors and it was O’Brien replying for Prince George. Dach put Kelowna up 1-0 on a power play goal at 11:46, before O’Brien equalized at 15:44.

Just two seconds prior to O’Brien scoring, Ethan Samson had a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot. He missed the net on his attempt, but O’Brien scored right off the ensuing face off in the Rockets’ zone.

Novak put Kelowna back ahead late in the opening frame, after he converted on a two-on-one rush with Nolan Flamand. Novak took the cross-ice pass and buried through the pads of Young at 18:52 of the first period.

Gabriel Szturc added an insurance marker in the third period for Kelowna, as he scored their second power play goal of the game at 12:29 to make it 3-1.

Dylan Wightman added an empty net goal with 40-seconds left.


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