Hockey Gives Blood Preview: Cougars at Kelowna Rockets (GM #18)

Allen Douglas


Last Game: The Cougars picked up their seventh win of the season on Sunday with a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants. Koehn Ziemmer scored a pair of goals and Craig Armstrong, Tyson Upper, and Blake Eastman also scored. Goaltender Taylor Gauthier stopped 29 of 31 shots as he earned his fifth win. The power-play was 0-4 and the penalty-kill was 4-4. The Cougars led 3-0 just six-minutes into the game and 5-1 through 40-minutes. Sunday was the Cougars third win in five games against the Giants this season. They meet again tomorrow at the Sandman Centre.

Tonight’s Game: Tonight, is the third of four meetings between the two teams. The Rockets have won the first two encounters, including a 5-1 win when they last met on April 23rd. Going back to last season, the Cougars have lost eight-straight to the Rockets. The Cougars are looking to push their point streak to five games, as they’re 3-0-1-0 in their last four. A win tonight would put the Cougars over the .500 mark for the first time since April 16th. These two teams are tied for third in the B.C. Division standings, but the Rockets have played six less games. The season series concludes on Sunday in Kamloops.

Head-to-Head: Kyren Gronick (2-1-3) and Majid Kaddoura (0-3-3) each have three points against the Rockets. Keaton Dowhaniuk, Jonny Hooker, Fischer O’Brien, and Koehn Ziemmer each have a goal against the Rockets. Taylor Gauthier and Ty Young have split the first two starts against the Rockets. Trevor Wong leads the Rockets with six points (4-2-6) against the Cougars. Jake Poole has five points (1-4-5), and Tyson Feist, Dillon Hammaliuk, Mark Liwiski, and Alex Swetlikoff all have a goal and three points. Cole Schwebius and Roman Basran each have a win against Prince George.

Prince George Cougars

General Manager & Head Coach: Mark Lamb

2020-21 Record: GP 17 7-7-2-1 (4th B.C. Division)

2020-21 Record vs. Kelowna: 0-2-0-0

2020-19 Record vs. Kelowna: 1-5-2-0

Last Game: 5-2 win at Vancouver Giants (May 2nd)

Next Game: May 5th vs. Vancouver Giants

Leading Scorers: Craig Armstrong  (7-6-13), Ethan Samson (1-10-11), Jonny Hooker (6-4-10), Kyren Gronick (5-5-10), Ethan Browne (4-6-10)

Game Notes

  • Taylor Gauthier is the Cougars projected starter tonight. The 20-year-old was named the WHL Goaltender of the Week, for the week ending May 2nd. He was 3-0-0-0 last week, with a 1.33 goals-against average (GAA) and .958 save percentage (SV%). In 11 games in the RE/MAX B.C. Hub he’s 5-6-0-0, with a 3. 10 GAA and .907 SV%.
  • Tonight, is the penultimate match up with the Rockets. The two teams wrap up the season series on Sunday back in Kamloops at 6:00 pm. The Cougars are winless in two games against the Rockets and been outscored 12-6 in the two games. If you include last season, the Cougars have lost eight-straight to the Rockets. Prince George last beat Kelowna on October 5th, 2019.
  • Tyson Upper is feeling it. The 19-year-old has goals in three-straight games and five points (3-2-5) in his last three. Upper is relishing the opportunity to play on the top line in place of the injured Kyren Gronick.
  • Ethan Samson has quietly gone about his business and has snuck up to second in team scoring. The 17-year-old defenceman now has 11 points (1-10-11) through 17 games. He’s averaging a point per-game (1-6-7) in his last seven game.
  • Craig Armstrong is atop of the team scoring lead with 13 points and has five points (2-3-5) in his last four games.
  • Brendan Boyle is still nursing an upper-body injury and is day-to-day. Kyren Gronick is inching closer to a return from an upper-body injury as well. Jonny Hooker has two games remaining from his four-game suspension. He is eligible to return Saturday against the Victoria Royals.

Kelowna Rockets

President & General Manager: Bruce Hamilton

Head Coach: Kris Mallette

2020-21 Record: GP 11 8-2-1-0 (3rd B.C. Division)

2020-21 Record vs. Prince George: 2-0-0-0

2020-19 Record vs. Prince George: 7-1-0-0

Last Game: 4-3 overtime loss at Kamloops Blazers (May 1st)

Next Game: May 7th at Vancouver Giants

Leading Scorers: David Kope (5-9-14), Mark Liwiski (8-4-12), Trevor Wong (6-6-12), Dillon Hamaliuk (5-5-10), Alex Swetlikoff (3-7-10).

Game Notes

  • Kelowna had their five-game win streak snapped by the Kamloops Blazers in overtime on Saturday night at the Sandman Centre in a 4-3 overtime loss. The Rockets do have points in six-straight games (5-0-1-0).
  • The Rockets are coming off a two-day break after playing three games in three days. They beat the Vancouver Giants 4-3 on Thursday, then thumped the Kamloops Blazers 6-1 Friday, before losing the rematch 4-3 (OT) on Saturday. The Rockets have another two-day break after tonight before they face the Giants on Friday.
  • The line of David Kope, Mark Liwiski, and Alex Swetlikoff have combined for nine points (4-5-9) in the last three games.
  • Speaking of Liwiski, he is second in team scoring (8-4-12) and has six points (2-4-6) in five games. He’s already matched his goal total from last season (8) and is just seven points away from his career high of 12 set last season as well. It took him 51 games last year to get to eight goals. This season, just 11.
  • Rookie Turner McMillen is on a tear. He just had his four-game point streak come to an end in Saturday’s loss to the Blazers. In the last five games, McMillen has six points (2-4-6).
  • Overage forward David Kope has been a good fit in Kelowna. Kope leads the team in scoring and has points in seven of his last eight games. He has three (2-1-3) in the last two games.
  • Head Coach Kris Mallette has rotated his starting goaltenders throughout the first 11 games. Based off that pattern, tonight’s projected starter is 19-year-old Cole Schwebius. He’s 4-1-0-0 with a 3.00 GAA and .893 SV%. He has one win already against the Cougars.

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