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CATS CLAW THE CHIEFS

Tuesday night in front of 2675 strong at CN Centre the Prince George Cougars earned a 7-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. The Cats went off for five third period goals while Nick McBride turned aside 28 of the 30 pucks fired his way to help lead the Cougars to their 38th victory. Offensively Jansen Harkins led all Cougars with a goal and two assists. Special teams played a big part in the result as the Cougars went two-for-seven on the power play, and five-for-five while shorthanded. For the first time ever in the CHL, the Cougars and Chiefs played Tuesday’s game on an ice surface covered in paint from fans who covered the ice surface following Monday’s game.

Just a minute and 21 seconds into the first the Chiefs got on the board when Jaret Anderson-Dolan wired his 32nd of the season past Nick McBride off a two-on-one rush from the right wing.

Spokane had a great chance to extend their lead near the mid-way point of the first, but the Cats were able to kill off 68 seconds of a five-on-three Spokane man advantage.

From there the Cougars harnessed some positive momentum and tied the score at 13:37 when Jared Bethune pounced on a Chiefs turnover and fired home his 17th of the season past Chiefs starter Dawson Weatherill.

Period one ended with the game tied at one and the shots were even at 12-12.

The game remained tied until the later stages of the second period when the Cougars took advantage of a shorthanded breakaway. Aaron Boyd picked off a cross-ice pass at the Cougars blueline and raced in alone on Weatherill. From there Boyd slipped his eighth of the season under his blocker and home to give the Cougars the 2-1 lead.

Shots were 19-16 after two periods favoring the Cougars who took a lead into the third period for a second straight game. This time though there would be no comeback from the visitors.

Instead the Cougars exploded with five third period goals starting at the 3:28 mark. During a power play, Radovan Bondra carried the puck down the left wing and was able to sneak his shot past Weatherill. The puck though settled in the blue paint and a charging Kody McDonald gave the puck one final whack over the line to secure his 12th of the season and a 3-1 Cougar advantage.

Jansen Harkins then made it 4-1 with a goal that came on a five-on-three power play opportunity. Harkins finished the third period with a goal and two assists and was named the game’s third star.

Colby McAuley (20) and Brad Morrison (21) added markers of their own at 14:26 and 17:09 respectively to make the game 6-1 for Prince George.

Ethan McIndoe and Jackson Leppard would swap goals in the final two minutes of the game to round out the scoring in what was ultimately a 7-2 final score for the Cougars who improve to 38-17-3-1 on the season. Their division lead is now at six points over Kamloops and their conference lead is at three points over the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Nick McBride’s 28 saves helped improve his record to 12-4-1-0. He’s won his last six starts and now has a goals-against-average of .901 and a goals-against-average of 3.06. ┬áThe Cougars will now head to the road for two straight games starting Saturday in Kelowna against the Rockets.

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