The Prince George Cougars picked up their first win on the 2021-22 season, with a 3-1 victory of the Victoria Royals at the CN Centre on Saturday night.
Riley Heidt scored the game-winner with less than five-minutes left in regulation, as the Cougars earned their first win at home as well. Jonny Hooker scored in the second and Fischer O’Brien added an empty-net goal. Viliam Kmec had a pair of assists in the win and was named the first star.
Taylor Gauthier made his second start and he stopped 22 of 23 shots for his first win of the season and he was named the third star.
Tanner Scott scored the Royals’ lone goal in the middle frame and rookie netminder Tyler Palmer suffered the loss in net, as he turned aside 29 of 31 shots.
It was a parade to the penalty-box in the first period as the two teams combined for nine power-plays in the opening frame. Despite the run of power-play time, neither team could capitalize in the first. The two teams were a combined 0-13 on the power-play in a scoreless opening frame.
Scott did open the scoring in the second for Victoria as he capitalized on a turnover at the Royals’ blue-line. The speedy forward went down the other way and scored over Gauthier’s glove at 6:20.
Prince George pulled even late in the middle frame as the captain found the back of the net again. Hooker scored his fourth goal in as many games as he wired a slapshot past Palmer’s blocker from the circle at 14:09.
The Royals only dressed 15 skaters and it appeared the Cougars capitalized against some tired legs in the third period. The Cougars took advantage of an extended shift in the offensive end, and it was Heidt pouncing on a rebound at the top of the crease at 15:52. Viliam Kmec let go the one-timer and the rebound came right to Heidt who bagged his second goal of the season. The 16-year-old now has seven points (2g-5a) from his first four games. Prince George outshot Victoria 17-9 over the final 20-minutes.
NEXT GAME: The Cougars (1-3-0-0) face the Royals (1-5-0-0) in a rematch tomorrow at 2:00 pm. Tickets start at just $16 for adults and are available at the TicketsNorth box office at the CN Centre, by phone 1-888-293-6613, or online at www.ticketsnorth.ca
Cougars: Jonny Hooker, Riley Heidt (GWG), Fischer O’Brien (EN)
Royals: Tanner Scott
Cougars: Taylor Gauthier, 22/23, 60:00
Royals: Tyler Palmer, 29/31, 58:57
Three Stars: 1) Viliam Kmec 2) Jonny Hooker 3) Taylor Gauthier