GAME PREVIEW: GM 8 Royals at Cougars

Photo: Kevin Light

Last Game: The Prince George Cougars won their fourth-straight game on Saturday, beating the Victoria Royals 4-1 at Save on Foods Memorial Centre. Liekit Reichle opened the scoring as he registered his first WHL goal in the process. After the Royals tied it, Blake Eastman scored the eventual game-winner late in the second period. Koehn Ziemmer and Connor Bowie added insurance markers in the third. Goaltender Taylor Gauthier earned his second win of the season, as he stopped 28 of 29 shots. Saturday was the first time the Cougars won four in a row since January 17, 2017.

Tonight’s Game: Tonight, is the fifth of 14 meetings with the Royals this season and the fifth-straight contest between the two teams. The two teams were originally scheduled to play six in a row, but Tuesday’s game was postponed due to travel delays for Victoria. That game was rescheduled for Tuesday, January 18th in Prince George. The Cougars are looking for their fifth-straight win and fifth in their first nine games. The last time Prince George won five-straight was January 18, 2017. Dating back to last season, the Cougars are 7-1-2-0 in their last 10 games against the Royals.

Streaks: 16-year-old rookie Riley Heidt has points in each of the first seven games of the season. Heidt leads the Cougars in scoring with 10 points (2g-8a). Heidt is fourth in Rookie scoring in the WHL. Craig Armstrong sits second in team scoring with nine points (4g-5a) in seven games. The 18-year-old has six points (3g-3a) in his last three games. Armstrong has a team best six points (3g-3a) in four games against the Royals. After being held pointless in his first three games, Koehn Ziemmer has six points (2g-4a) during his four-game point streak. The 16-year-old has scored in back-to-back games. Swiss import forward Liekit Reichle has points (1g-2a) in three-straight games. Reichle scored his first WHL goal in Saturday’s 4-1 win. Blake Eastman has three points (1g-2a) in his last three. As a team, the Cougars have conceded just five goals over their last four games.

Season Series

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 5-1 W GM 9 Mar 11th vs. Victoria
GM 4 Oct 23rd 4-1 W 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


Prince George Cougars

General Manager & Head Coach: Mark Lamb

2021-22 Record: GP 7 4-3-0-0 (2nd B.C.)

2021-22 Record vs. Victoria: 4-0-0-0

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

Home: 2-1-0-0

Streak: 4-0-0-0

Last Game: 4-1 win at Victoria Royals (Oct 23rd)

Scoring Leaders : Riley Heidt (2-8-10), Craig Armstrong (4-5-9), Hudson Thornton (2-6-8), Kyren Gronick (2-5-7), Viliam Kmec (0-6-6)


Game Notes

  • The Cougars are looking for their first five-game win streak since January 18th, 2017. That season, the Cougars won the B.C. Division Regular Season title.
  • Going back to last season, the Cougars are 7-1-2-0 in their last 10 games against the Royals.
  • Tyler Brennan is the projected starter in goal. The 18-year-old has won both his starts against the Royals and has a .943 save percentage.
  • Prince George has a couple of injury bugs to deal with. Forward Kyren Gronick is day-to-day with a lower-body injury; he won’t play tonight. Forward Mitch Kohner, who missed Saturday’s game with a lower-body injury, is a game time decision. He did take today’s morning skate.
  • Liekit Reichle will take Gronick’s place on the top line with Riley Heidt and Jonny Hooker. Big opportunity for the Swiss product who has quietly put together a three-game point streak. Reichle scored his first WHL goal in Saturday’s 4-1 win.
  • Early on, goals against was an issue for the Cougars but give them credit, as they have allowed just five goals against in four games. Only three at even strength. GM & Head Coach Mark Lamb said with a young group it was going to take time to get their system in place. Looks like the team has found their groove when it comes to playing in their own end.
  • After a quiet start, Koehn Ziemmer has heated up. Goals in back-to-back games and he is riding a four-game point streak. He has had great chemistry on a second line with Craig Armstrong and Mitch Kohner. Those three have been an ‘X’ factor in this season series with the Royals. Combined, the trio has 15 points against the Royals.


Victoria Royals

General Manager & Head Coach: Dan Price

2021-22 Record: GP 9 1-8-0-0 (5th B.C.)

2021-22 Record vs. Prince George: 0-4-0-0

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

Away 0-2-0-0

Streak: 0-7-0-0

Last Game: 4-1 loss vs. Prince George Cougars (Oct 23rd)

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


Game Notes

  •  The Royals have nine regulars out of their line up including Evan Patrician, Keanu Derungs, Devin Aubin, Wyatt Wilson, Igor Zborovskiy, Neithan Salame, Austin Zemlak, Carter Dereniwsky, and Matthew Hodson. 20-year-old forward Tarun Fizer remains in the AHL with the Colorado Eagles. The Royals have called up defenceman Nate Misskey from the Prince Albert Mintos Under-18 AAA team.
  • Victoria has shuffled the deck in net. Gone are goaltenders Connor Martin and Sebastian Wraneschitz and new is Campbell Arnold. Arnold, 19, made his Royals debut against the Cougars last Saturday. One constant is 18-year-old Tyler Palmer. The rookie has been excellent so far, posting a 3.30 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage.
  • One issue during the Royals seven-game losing streak has been their starts. They have only scored first in two of their nine games and have been outscored 11-3 in the opening period. Playing from behind, with a short-handed group, is taxing.
  • Victoria certainly can’t complain about officiating during this season series. The Royals have 25 power-plays to the Cougars’ 11. The trouble for Victoria is they have scored just twice on the man-advantage against Prince George.

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