Fifty-six days and eight weeks later and the Prince George Cougars have ended their drought at home. The Cougars ended their 13-game home losing streak with a 5-2 win over the Portland Winterhawks at the CN Centre.
It was a big third period that saw the Cougars pick up a win on home ice for the first time since January 12th. The Cougars scored four times over the final 20-minutes, en route to beating the Winterhawks for the first time since October 1st, 2017.
Josh Maser scored twice in the third period, reaching the 30-goal plateau for the first time in his WHL career. Vladislav Mikhalchuk and Connor Bowie also scored in the final frame. Austin Crossley found the back of the net in the second period. Maser and Mikhalchuk each scored power-play goals in the win. Taylor Gauthier was named the first star, stopping 37 of 39 shots.
“I am really excited about our last two games. I’ve said before the only way you get complete buy in is getting on the other side of a loss and that’s a win,” said General Manager & Interim Head Coach Mark Lamb.
“It’s (WHL) a tough league to win in. You have to play smart, Mentally and physically and we did that tonight.”
Clay Hanus and Cross Hanas scored for the Winterhawks, who lost for the second time in their last three games. Joel Hofer was peppered in the Portland crease, stopping 44 of 48 shots in a losing cause.
The Cougars four-goal outburst in the third period is a new season-high, as their previous best was three. Their 49-shots also is a new season-best, bettering the 42 they fired at Hofer on Friday night.
Both Bowie and Crossley snapped lengthy goal scoring droughts with their goals Saturday, as both last scored on November 18th. Brendan Boyle returned the line up after missing Friday’s game due to an illness.
Saturday was the final Prince George Cougars Society Mega 50/50 Jackpot of the season, in partnership with the United Way of Northern B.C. Over 3,800 fans packed the CN Centre and the Jackpot was nearly $40,000.
Winterhawks [1-0] Clay Hanus (7) from Reece Newkirk 3:22
Cougars [1-1] Austin Crossley (3) from Mike MacLean 8:31
Cougars [2-1] Vladislav Mikhalchuk (23) from Tyson Upper and Cole Moberg 5:20 PP
Cougars [3-1] Connor Bowie (3) from Jack Sander 12:25
Cougars [4-1] Josh Maser (29) from Cole Moberg and Vladislav Mikhalchuk 14:32 PP
Winterhawks [4-2] Cross Hanas (8) from Josh Paterson and Jaydon Dureau 15:48
Cougars [5-2] Josh Maser (30) EN
Cougars- Taylor Gauthier (Win) 60:00 37/39
Winterhawks- Joel Hofer (Loss) 58:55 44/48
UP NEXT: The Cougars (18-40-5-3) wrap up their 2018-19 WHL regular season next weekend in a home-and-home series with the Kamloops Blazers. The Cougars are in Kamloops on Friday, March 15th, before returning home on Saturday, March 16th.