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Cougars’ late game comeback falls short in Kelowna

Riley Heidt

The Prince George Cougars came close, but fell short in another thriller, falling 5-4 to the Kelowna Rockets on Friday night at Prospera Place.

 The Rockets wasted no time setting the tone in the first period. Gabriel Szturc struck his first of the season with a one-timer that slid through the legs of Prince George’s goaltender, Ty Young, at 2:57. The Rockets extended their lead during a power-play opportunity with Caden Price firing a shot from the left circle, once again beating Young, at 14:54. This opening stanza was marked by intense play and a total of 20 minutes of penalties, yet the Rockets maintained their lead after the first period.

The Cougars mounted a comeback in the second period. At 13:36, Carlin Dezainde showcased his skill by extending his point streak to an impressive 10 games and firing a top-corner shot past Kelowna’s goaltender, Jari Kykkanen, during a shorthanded opportunity, narrowing the score to 2-1. However, the Rockets responded with authority just 25 seconds later. Dylan Wightman delivered a power-play marker, and Andrew Cristall further bolstered Kelowna’s lead with a breakaway goal at 16:27, putting the Rockets comfortably ahead at 4-1 after two periods.

The Cougars displayed unrelenting determination in the final period, notching two quick goals. First, Zac Funk capitalized on a power-play opportunity just six seconds into the period. Then, Koehn Ziemmer rifled a puck past Kykkanen at 1:38, narrowing the gap to a single goal, with the score at 4-3. However, the Rockets responded yet again, as Dylan Wightman scored a short-handed goal during a Cougars’ power-play, reclaiming the two-goal lead. Despite a late power-play goal by Zac Funk for Prince George, the Rockets held on for a thrilling 5-4 win.

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