GAME PREVIEW: GM #51 Cougars vs. Vancouver Giants
THE SEASON: The Prince George Cougars franchise is in their 25th season in the Western Hockey League. The Cougars record is 16-29-3-2 through 50 games this season. The Cougars sit fifth in the B.C. Division, eight points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference and are 1-7-2-0 in their last 10 games.
LAST GAME: The Cougars lost their ninth-straight Saturday, losing a 4-2 to the Vancouver Giants at the Langley Events Centre. Cole Moberg scored in the first period and Josh Maser scored on the power-play in the second period. Isaiah DiLaura was tagged with the loss in the Cougars’ crease, as he made 28-saves. The Cougars are 1-5-0-0 in six games against the Giants this season. Excluding an empty-net goal Saturday, each of the last five meetings between the two teams have been decided by one goal.
TONIGHT’S OPPONENT: The Vancouver Giants sit first in the B.C. Division and second in the Western Conference, with a 33-13-2-1 record. The Giants have a 16-point lead atop of the B.C. Division. They’ve won four of their last six and eight of their last 10 games. The Giants haven’t lost back-to-back games since January 4th. NHL Draft Prospect Bowen Byram was named the WHL Player of the Month for January after he piled up 19 points (10-9-19) in 13 games.
VERSUS VANCOUVER: 3-0 L vs. VAN (Oct 5th), 3-2 L vs. VAN (Oct 6th), 2-1 L at VAN (Nov 10th), 1-0 W at VAN (Nov 11th), 2-1 L at VAN (Dec 16th). 4-2 L at VAN (Feb 2nd), vs. VAN (Feb 5th), vs. VAN (Feb 6th), at VAN (Feb 10th).
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: The Cougars have been held to two or less goals in each of their last nine games. When they score four or more goals, they’re 6-2-0-0. Josh Maser (1-2-3) Vladislav Mikhalchuk (0-3-3) each have three points against the Giants. Mikhalchuk has points in three straight games (2-1-3).
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- GIANTS|
|GOALS: (19) Josh Maser||GOALS: (20) Davis Koch|
|ASSISTS: (19) Vladislav Mikhalchuk||ASSISTS: (33) Davis Koch|
|POINTS: (37) Vladislav Mikhalchuk||POINTS: (53) Davis Koch|
|POINTS VERSUS: (3) Josh Maser, Vladislav Mikhalchuk||POINTS VERSUS: (5) Bowen Byram, Brayden Watts|
|POWER-PLAY GOALS: (7) Vladislav Mikhalchuk||POWER-PLAY GOALS: (12) Milos Roman|
|SHORT-HANDED GOALS: (1) 2-tied||SHORT-HANDED GOALS: (1) 3-tied|
LINE UP: The Cougars have called up goaltender Tyler Brennan from the Rink Hockey Academy in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League. Brennan will back up Taylor Gauthier tonight and tomorrow. Isaiah DiLaura is listed day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Defenceman Joel Lakusta is still day-to-day with an upper-body injury and forward Ilijah Colina is scratched as well.