Penalties proved costly in the end for the Prince George Cougars in their 3-2 loss to the Portland Winterhawks at the CN Centre Friday. Portland scored all three of their goals on the power-play, coming from behind to hand the Cougars their sixth-straight loss.
Portland’s Joachim Blichfeld scored the game-winner, on the man-advantage, with just over five-minutes left in the third period, breaking a 2-2 tie. His league-leading 53rdgoal was also his third point of the night. Jake Gricius and Josh Paterson also scored for the Winterhawks. Joel Hofer turned aside 40-shots in the Winterhawks’ crease.
Cole Moberg marked his return to the line up with a power-play goal in the first period to open the scoring. Moberg scoring his 12thof the season 14-minutes into the game. Moberg returned to the action after missing five games with an upper-body injury. Matéj Toman scored in the second, putting the Cougars up a pair two and a half minutes into the middle frame. Taylor Gauthier stopped 24 of 27 shots.
“We probably played our best game all year long but when you take penalties in the offensive zone, make those type of mental mistakes, against a real good team, that’s going to happen,” said General Manager and Interim Head Coach Mark Lamb.
Lamb lamented the costly penalties after the game, “It hurts. All the losses hurt, and these lessons are hard. But the penalties they scored on are ones we can’t take, especially the two in the offensive zone.”
Both teams were playing short-staffed. The Cougars were without two centers in Brendan Boyle (illness) and Ethan Browne (upper-body). The Winterhawks were missing their Captain Cody Glass, rookie forward Seth Jarvis and defencemen John Ludvig and Matt Quigley.
The Cougars were clad in specialty Don Cherry-themed jerseys, as part of the WHL’s Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation campaign. The game-worn jerseys are up for auction at www.32auctions.com/pgsuitsup
Cougars [1-0] Cole Moberg (12) from Ryan Schoettler and Tyson Upper 13:55 PP
Cougars [2-0] Matéj Toman (9) from Josh Maser 2:29
Winterhawks [2-1] Jake Gricius (25) from Joachim Blichfeld and Josh Paterson 16:38 PP
Winterhawks [2-2] Josh Paterson (23) from Joachim Blichfeld and Jared Freadrich 2:36 PP
Winterhawks [3-2] Joachim Blichfeld (53) from Jared Freadrich and Jake Gricius 14:51 PP
Cougars- Taylor Gauthier (Loss) 58:38 24/27
Winterhawks- Joel Hofer (Win) 60:00 40/42
UP NEXT: The Cougars (17-40-5-3) conclude their weekend doubleheader with the Winterhawks tomorrow; the puck drops at 7 pm. It’s the final Mega 50/50 Jackpot of the season, in partnership with the United Way of Northern B.C. Tickets are available at the TicketsNorthby Treasure Cove Casino box office, or online at www.ticketsnorth.ca