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GAME PREVIEW: GM 6 Cougars at Royals

Photo: James Doyle

Last Game: The Prince George Cougars swept a weekend doubleheader against the Victoria Royals, with a 4-2 win Sunday at the CN Centre. Blake Eastman opened the scoring for the Cougars. The Royals did respond with a pair of goals to lead 2-1 but Prince George countered with three unanswered, two from Craig Armstrong and one courtesy Mitch Kohner. Tyler Brennan picked up his first win of the season as he stopped 31 of 33 shots. The penalty-kill was the key, as the Cougars killed-off 10 Victoria power-plays.

Tonight’s Game: Tonight, is the third of 14 games against the Royals this season and the third meeting in six days. Prince George is in a stretch of six-straight games against Victoria. The two teams meet again tomorrow at Save-on-Foods Memorial Arena then head back up north to Prince George for a midweek doubleheader starting Tuesday. Tonight, marks the third road game of the season for the Cougars as they look for their first win away from the CN Centre. The Cougars have been outscored 14-7 in a pair of road games to start the season. Tonight, is the Cougars first regular season visit to Victoria since December 28th, 2019.

Season Series

Overall: 2-0-0-0 Home: 2-0-0-0 Away: 0-0-0-0
Scoring: Armstrong (2-1-3) PP: 0/9 PK: 16/17
GM 1 Oct 16th 3-1 W GM 7 Jan 7th vs. Victoria
GM 2 Oct 17th 4-2 W GM 8 Jan 8th vs. Victoria
GM 3 Oct 22nd at Victoria GM 9 Mar 11th vs. Victoria
GM 4 Oct 23rd at Victoria GM 10 Mar 12th vs. Victoria
GM 5 Oct 26th vs. Victoria GM 11 Mar 18th at Victoria
GM 6 Oct 27th vs. Victoria GM 12 Mar 19th at Victoria
GM 13 Mar 25th at Victoria GM 14 Mar 26th at Victoria

Streaks: 16-year-old rookie Riley Heidt has points in each of the first five games of the season. Heidt leads the Cougars in scoring with eight points (2g-6a). Craig Armstrong sits second in team scoring with six points (3g-3a) in five games. Armstrong had three points (2g-1a) in Sunday’s win over Victoria. Mitch Kohner is averaging a point-per game, as the 19-year-old has three points (1g-2a) from his first three games. Jonny Hooker’s four-game goal streak came to an end Sunday. As a group, the Cougars have killed-off 18 consecutive opposition power-plays.

Prince George Cougars

General Manager & Head Coach: Mark Lamb

2021-22 Record: GP 5 2-3-0-0 (4th B.C.)

2021-22 Record vs. Victoria: 2-0-0-0

2020-2021 Record vs. Victoria: 3-1-2-0

Away: 0-2-0-0

Streak: 2-0-0-0

Last Game: 4-2 win vs. Victoria Royals (Oct 17th)

Scoring Leaders : Riley Heidt (2-6-8), Craig Armstrong (3-3-6), Hudson Thornton (2-4-6), Jonny Hooker (4-1-5), Kyren Gronick (2-3-5).

Game Notes

  • Tonight, is the fourth of six-straight meetings between the two teams. The Cougars took the first two in Prince George last weekend and after this weekend’s doubleheader, they meet again in Prince George Tuesday and Wednesday. The Cougars and Royals meet 14 times this season. As the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt.
  • Prince George is back to full strength. Ryker Singer is done serving his two-game suspension. GM & Head Coach Mark Lamb will have a full line-up at his disposal. The first time since opening night.
  • Looks as though Tyler Brennan gets the start in net. He’s coming off his first win on Sunday where he stopped 31 of 33 shots.
  • Discipline will certainly be a focus for the Cougars. Prince George was short-handed 17 times over the two games last weekend. The silver lining to all that was the penalty-kill got a lot of reps and was very good, as the Cougars allowed just the one power-play goal against. Regardless, a parade to the penalty box isn’t a recipe for success.
  • Craig Armstrong had three points (2g-1a) in the win last Sunday and he, Mitch Kohner and Koehn Ziemmer provided the team with a shot in the arm when it was badly needed. That line was put together midway through the game on Sunday and will be the second line tonight.
  • Victoria hasn’t been an easy place for the Cougars to play. They’ve won just two of their last 11 games in the provincial capital.

 Victoria Royals

General Manager & Head Coach: Dan Price

2021-22 Record: GP 7 1-6-0-0 (5th B.C.)

2021-22 Record vs. Prince George: 0-2-0-0

2020-21 Record vs. Prince George: 3-3-0-0

Home: 1-4-0-0

Streak: 0-5-0-0

Last Game: 4-2 loss at Prince George Cougars (Oct 17)

Scoring Leaders : Brayden Schuurman (6-2-8), Bailey Peach (2-5-7), Keanu Derungs (1-4-5), Gannon Laroque (1-4-5), Riley Gannon (3-1-4)

Game Notes

  • The Royals had just 13 skaters, nine forwards and four defencemen dressed in the last meeting. Victoria’s roster has been hit hard by injuries. The WHL Weekly Report came out yesterday and the Royals have seven regulars out due to injury.
  • Victoria made a move in the crease on Thursday, acquiring goaltender Campbell Arnold from the Spokane Chiefs for a third-round pick in 2023. Arnold, from Nanaimo, played in three games with the Chiefs this season and posted a 3.46 goals-against average and a .849 save percentage.
  • Royals GM & Head Coach Dan Price said “They need a little bit of a spark” when it came to their goaltending. They rank second to last in goals against per game (4.57) and are bottom five in the WHL in shots against (36.71). Goaltender Connor Martin has been reassigned and the status of import goaltender Sebastian Wraneschitz is undetermined.
  • In their five home games, the Royals have been outscored 25-15. They’ve surrendered five or more goals in three of those five losses. Tonight, is their first home game since an 8-3 loss to the Kamloops Blazers on Oct 13th.

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