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GAME PREVIEW: GM 18 Cougars versus Victoria Royals

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LAST GAME: The Cougars are winless in their last three after a 5-4 setback to the Medicine Hat Tigers on Wednesday. Prince George actually led 2-0 in the second period in that contest, before Medicine Hat erupted for five goals in less than nine-minutes to take go up 5-2 after 40-minutes. Cole Moberg scored twice in that game and finished with three points and Mitch Kohner and Jack Sander also found the back of the net. The Cougar scored three power-plays goals in the loss, a new season high. Their previous best was two and they did that twice.

Victoria started their B.C. interior road trip with a 6-3 win over the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday and thus ending a two-game losing streak.  Six different Royals scored in the that game, including leading scorer Tarun Fizer, who has 12 points in 15 games this season for the Royals.

TONIGHT: Tonight, is the start of a weekend doubleheader at the CN Centre and the third and fourth of nine meetings between the two B.C. Division foes. The Cougars enter the weekend in fifth place in the B.C. Division, six points back of the Royals. The two teams last met on September 28th in Victoria, the Royals earning a 3-2 shootout win.

Prince George Cougars (4-12-0-1 9 PTS) Victoria Royals (7-7-1-0 15 PTS)
5th B.C. Division | 10th Western Conference 4th B.C. Division | 8th Western Conference
Power-Play 12/75 16% (18th) Power-Play 12/59 20.3% (12th)
Penalty-Kill 17/63 73% (21st) Penalty-Kill 12/58 79.3% (12th)
Last 10 2-8-0-0 Streak 0-3-0-0 Last 10 5-4-1-0 Streak 1-0-0-0

LINE UP: Defenceman Ethan Samson will miss his second-straight game with a lower-body injury. Forwards Ethan Browne, Ilijah Colina and Reid Perepeluk are game-time decisions. Forward Vladislav Mikhalchuk, who arrived in Prince George Thursday, will most likely make his season debut tonight. All signs point to Taylor Gauthier getting the nod in net.

 COUGAR’ FOCUS: It goes without saying, but the Cougars are going to need a 60-minute effort tonight. The second period was their undoing Wednesday and it’s a period that has been a trouble for them. In 17 games, the Cougars have been outscored 34-10 in the middle frame. Their worst goal differential in any period. GM & Head Coach Mark Lamb spoke plainly after Wednesday’s loss, saying his team “wasn’t ready to start the second period.” The Cougars and Royals are two teams that don’t score a whole lot and who out-works the other will be the ultimate difference. Prince George better have their work boots on tonight.

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