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Game Preview: GM #59 Cougars at Kamloops Blazers

THE SEASON: The Cougars record is 16-35-4-3 through 58 games this season. The Cougars sit fifth in the B.C. Division, 13 points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference and are winless in their last 17-games. The Cougars last win was on January 12th against the Kelowna Rockets (4-0). Since then, they’re 0-13-3-1.

LAST GAME: The Cougars were swept by the Everett Silvertips in a midweek double-header on Monday and Tuesday, losing by back-to-back 4-1 scores. On Tuesday, Ethan Browne scored the only Cougars’ goal early in the first period on the power-play. The Silvertips came back to score four unanswered goals, including three in the third period.  Taylor Gauthier was tagged with the loss, stopping 33 of 36 shots but was named the second star. The Cougars are 0-3-0-0 against Everett this season, with the final meeting coming tomorrow in Everett.

TONIGHT: Tonight, is the seventh of nine meetings against the Kamloops Blazers. The Cougars are winless in the first six encounters, sporting a record of 0-5-1-0 against their division rivals. The two B.C. Division foes last met on February 1st in Kamloops, with the Blazers skating to a 4-1 win. The Cougars last win against Kamloops was at the Sandman Centre on March 16th of last season, winning 4-2. The Cougars have won only four of their last 16 games against the Blazers over the last two seasons (4-10-1-1).

VERSUS KAMLOOPS: 5-1 L vs. KAM (Nov 17th), 7-3 L vs. KAM (Nov 18th), 2-1 at KAM (Dec 30th), 3-1 L vs. KAM (Jan 19th), 3-2 OTL vs. KAM (Jan 20th), 4-1 L at KAM (Feb 1st), Feb 22nd at KAM, Mar 15th at KAM, Mar 16th vs. KAM.

STREAKING: Josh Curtis has five points (2-3-5) in the last six games. Tyson Upper has four points (2-2-4) in six games. Jackson Leppard has three assists (0-3-3) in four games. Josh Maser (3-0-3), Joel Lakusta (0-3-3) and Ryan Schoettler (0-3-3) all have three points against the Kamloops Blazers.

HEAD TO HEAD

        Cougars            Blazers
Record 0-5-1-0 6-0-0-0
GF 9 22
GA 22 9
PP 4/27 (14.8%) 5/21 (23.8%)
PK 16/21 (76.2%) 23/27 (85.2%)
Top Scorer Josh Maser 3-0-3 Zane Franklin 3-8-11

 LINE UP: The Cougars welcomed back defenceman Joel Lakusta on Monday. The 20-year-old had missed eight games with an upper-body injury. Lakusta is welcomed addition for the line up, as he will help eat up big minutes and will be a boost to the power-play. With two games under his belt, Lakusta is starting to get back to where he was prior to his injury. Mitchell Kohner has been sick this week but has travelled with the team and will be a game-time decision. Ilijah Colina remains out, as he is at home for personal reasons. Taylor Gauthier was in the starters net at Friday’s game day skate and all signs point to him making his second consecutive start.

COUGARS FOCUS: 60-minutes. Sounds cliche, but the Cougars biggest obstacle during their season-long losing streak has been consistency. They had issues in stringing together three good periods. They’ve been close, like Tuesday for example, where they played a solid 40-minutes, before the Silvertips burnt them for three in the third period. General Manager and Interim Head Coach Mark Lamb has said repeatedly that this team needs to push, play hard from start to finish. Can they stay focused, play hard and not let things snowball against them?

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