BY COLE WALDIE
Prince George Cougars
In a thrilling showdown at the CN Centre, the Prince George Cougars showcased resilience, mounting a remarkable comeback with a five-goal third period to triumph over the Victoria Royals 9-6 on Saturday.
A total of 12 different Cougars left their mark on the scoresheet, with Zac Funk leading the charge with his seventh hat-trick of the season. Notable contributions also came from Hunter Laing, Riley Heidt, Borya Valis, and Ephram McNutt, all of whom delivered multi-point performances to secure the victory.
The Cougars wasted no time igniting the scoreboard, as Hunter Laing set the tone with a highlight-reel goal just 3:08 into the game, swiftly followed by another goal at 6:17 to give the Cougars an early 2-0 lead. Despite a short-handed goal from Victoria’s Reggie Newman at 12:48, the Cats extended their lead with two more goals in the opening period, including Zac Funk’s 47th of the season and Terik Parascak’s milestone power-play marker at 18:47, solidifying Parascak as the Prince George Cougars’ Single Season goal leader among rookies in franchise history. The Cats closed the first period with a commanding 4-1 lead.
However, the game took a dramatic turn as the Cougars encountered penalty trouble, allowing the Royals to capitalize and stage a comeback. Justin Kipkie and Tanner Scott narrowed the lead to 4-3 within the first two minutes of the second period, followed by goals from Jaren Brinson and Casper Evensen Haugen, giving the Royals a 5-4 lead heading into the final frame.
Determined to reclaim control, the Cougars made a pivotal decision to switch goaltenders, sending Ty Young to the crease in the third period. The move paid dividends as Prince George stormed back with five unanswered goals. Zac Funk ignited the rally with his 48th goal of the year, followed by key contributions from Borya Valis, who netted two goals, including one on the power play. Funk sealed his seventh hat-trick of the campaign, while Ephram McNutt added the final goal to secure the impressive 9-6 victory.
With this triumph, Prince George’s record improves to 35-15-0-2. They now prepare for an anticipated home and home series against the Kamloops Blazers, commencing Friday, February 26th at 7:00 pm at the CN Centre.