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Winterhawks sweep Cougars

James Doyle photo

The Prince George Cougars season came to an end on Wednesday, following their 2-1 loss to the Portland Winterhawks in Game Four of their first-round WHL playoff series at the CN Centre.

The Winterhawks swept the Western Conference Quarterfinal and advance to Round Two of the WHL playoffs.

Cougars’ Captain Jonny Hooker scored the Cougars’ only goal in the second period. Hooker scoring his first career WHL playoff goal in what was his final game of his junior hockey career.

With the Cougars’ trailing 2-0, Hooker cut the deficit in half seven-minutes into the middle frame. The 20-year-old just got enough on his shot to get it across the goal-line, before it was scooped out of the net by a Portland defender. After a scramble, the goal was originally credited to Hudson Thornton, but a scoring correction credit Hooker with his first of the post-season.

Tyler Brennan was excellent again for Prince George as he stopped 40 of 42 shot fired his way. Brennan was named the first star on Wednesday.

Portland scored both of their goals in the first period, as James Stefan and Luke Schelter staked the visitors out to a 2-0 lead after 20-minutes. Stefan opened the scoring at 8:22 of the first period and Schelter added to the Winterhawks’ lead at 11:51.

Former Cougar Taylor Gauthier stopped 29 of 30 shots in the Portland crease. Gauthier was named the second star.

The Cougars pressed in that final frame and outshot the Winterhawks 12-8. Ryker Singer was inches away from tying the game but his slapshot off the rush bounced off the iron from the right-wing.

Prince George, who started the game without their top scorer in Riley Heidt who was serving a one-game suspension, lost their top goal-scorer in Koehn Ziemmer in the first period after he suffered an upper-body injury. Ziemmer crashed into the boards behind the Winterhawks’ net and did not finish the game.

“It’s disappointing, but the players gave it all they had. We were losing guys left and right. There’s not much to say, other than they left it all on the ice,” said Cougars’ GM & Head Coach Mark Lamb.

GAME NOTES

The Cougars were held to just four goals in four games by the Winterhawks.  Tyler Brennan finished the series with 1.86 goals-against average and .954 save percentage. 

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