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GAME PREVIEW: GM #47 Cougars at Red Deer Rebels

THE SEASON: The Prince George Cougars franchise is in their 25th season in the Western Hockey League. The Cougars record is 16-25-3-2 through 46 games this season. The Cougars sit fifth in the B.C. Division, four points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Cougars are 4-4-2-0 in their last 10 games.

LAST GAME: Friday, the Cougars lost their fifth-straight, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Calgary Hitmen. Tyson Upper scored the Cougars only goal, late in the first period, and Taylor Gauthier turned aside 45-shots in the Cougars’ crease. The Cougars were outshot 48-36 on Friday. They were 0-4 on the power-play and 5-6 on the penalty-kill. The Cougars are now 2-2-0-0 against the Central Division.

TONIGHT’S OPPONENT: The Red Deer Rebels are fourth in the six-team Central Division, with a record of 27-15-2-1. The Rebels fell 5-3 at home on Friday to the Medicine Hat Tigers. Despite that setback, the Rebels are 4-1-0-0 in their last five games and are just one point out of first place in the Central Division. The Rebels’ roster includes four NHL prospects: Dawson Barteaux (DAL), Alexander Alexeyev (WSH), Brandon Hagel (CHI-Signed), Brett Davis (DAL).

VERSUS CENTRAL DIVISION: 4-1 L at Medicine Hat (Oct 12/18), 6-5 SOW at Lethbridge (Oct 13/18), 2-1 OTW at Kootenay (Oct 14/18), 4-1 L at Calgary (Jan 25/18). At Red Deer (Jan 26th), at Edmonton (Jan 27th).

ROSTER BREAKDOWN: The Cougars roster sits at 22 players (2 goaltenders, 7 defensemen, 13 forwards). The rosters include seven players selected in the WHL Bantam Draft, eight players via trade, four signed players and two selected from the CHL Import Draft. A breakdown by region includes eight players from B.C., seven players from Alberta, two from Saskatchewan, one player from Manitoba, two from the United States and one from Belarus and one from the Czech Republic. There are 16 WHL veterans and six WHL rookies.

NUMBERS: Ethan Browne has seven points (1-6-7) in the last seven games. Joel Lakusta has seven points (1-6-7) in the last nine games. Jackson Leppard has six points (1-5-6) in the last eight games. Vladislav Mikhalchuk has six points (3-3-6) in the last seven games. The Rebels’ Alexander Alexeyev (0-6-6) has points in six-straight games. Brandon Hagel (2-2-4) has points in back-to-back games.

GAUTHIER, MOBERG RANKED: Taylor Gauthier and Cole Moberg were both listed in NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings. Gauthier is ranked fifth among Northern American Goaltenders and Moberg is 175thamong Northern American Skaters. The pair are among 48 WHL players listed in the midterm rankings.

REGULAR SEASON LEADERS- COUGARS

REGULAR SEASON LEADERS- REBELS

GOALS: (18) Josh Maser GOALS: (28) Brandon Hagel
ASSISTS: (18) Vladislav Mikhalchuk ASSISTS: (44) Brandon Hagel
POINTS: (34) Vladislav Mikhalchuk POINTS: (72) Brandon Hagel
ROOKIE POINTS: (14) Matéj Toman ROOKIE POINTS: (29) Oleg Zaytsev
POWER-PLAY GOALS: (5) Vladislav Mikhalchuk POWER-PLAY GOALS: (10) Jeff De Wit
SHORT-HANDED GOALS: (1) Leppard, Upper

SHORT-HANDED GOALS: (3) Hagel, Johnson

LINE UP: Josh Maser is serving the second game of a three-game suspension; he’ll return tomorrow against Edmonton. Forward Ethan Browne left last night’s game after the first period with an upper-body injury. His status for tonight is unknown. Rebels’ defenceman Alexander Alexeyev is listed as week-to-week on the WHL Injury Report. Goaltender Byron Fancy missed Friday’s game with an illness. As of Saturday afternoon, there’s no confirmation on the Cougars’ starting goaltender.

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