The Prince George Cougars were blanked by the Portland Winterhawks 2-0 on Tuesday night in game three of their WHL Western Conference Quarter-Final series at the CN Centre.
Portland now leads the best-of-seven series 3-0. Game Four is set for Wednesday in Prince George.
Taylor Gauthier stymied his former team, as the Winterhawks’ goaltender stopped 28 shots for his first career playoff shutout. Gauthier was named the game’s first star. Gabe Klassen scored both Portland goals in the second period, as the Winterhawks are one win away from advancing to the second round of the WHL Playoffs.
Despite holding the Winterhawks to two goals in each of their last two games, the Cougars find themselves now in a must win situation on Wednesday night. Portland has frustrated the Cougars’ offensively, as Prince George has scored just three goals in the first three games of the series.
Tyler Brennan was excellent again for the Cougars. The 18-year-old goaltender, coming off a 44-save performance in Game Two, stopped 34 of 36 shots in Game Three Tuesday and was named third star.
The Cougars had to play the second half of the game with just 10 forwards after Riley Heidt was assessed a five-minute kneeing major and game misconduct near the eight-minute mark of the middle frame. Prince George started the game with 11 forwards and seven defencemen.
The Cougars’ penalty kill was sharp, going 3-3, including killing-off Heidt’s extended penalty. The Prince George power play was 0-2.
“Really happy with the effort. The guys worked hard. A lot of guys had to play out of position after the Heidt penalty, but they played hard to the end,” said Cougars GM and Head Coach Mark Lamb. “We got to regroup, come back tomorrow, and continue like we have played. There’s nothing to be disappointed about with this game.”
The Cougars are still looking for that elusive first win against Portland this season. Prince George is winless in seven games against the Winterhawks going back to the regular season. Tyler Brennan has stopped 106 of 111 shots he has faced in the series. Craig Armstrong, who missed the last two games due to suspension, is eligible to return in Game Four.
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