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GAME PREVIEW: GM 19 Cougars versus Victoria Royals

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LAST GAME: Prince George enters tonight’s game looking to snap a four-game winless streak (0-3-0-1) after a 3-2 shootout loss to the Victoria Royals on Friday night. The Cougars found themselves down 2-0 with less than two and a half minutes left in regulation but goals by Josh Maser and Connor Bowie with the Cougars’ net empty, helped Prince George pick up a point and push the game beyond regulation. Taylor Gauthier was tagged with the loss after stopping 22 of 24 shots through 65-minutes.

The game was scoreless up until the four-minute mark of the third period when Victoria’s Kaid Oliver broke the scoreless deadlock. That goal didn’t lack controversy, as the play appeared to be offside but the goal stood. Phillip Schultz added an insurance marker late in the third period to put the Royals ahead 2-0 but they let that lead slip away, before prevailing after a four-round shootout. Brock Gould was the winning goaltender, stopping 20 of 22 shots.

It was a defensive battle last night. Not only was it a scoreless game for 45-minutes, the two teams combined for just 26 shots through two periods. The two teams held each other to just four shots each in the middle frame. Friday was the fourth time the two teams went to the shootout in the last two seasons. The Royals have won all four of those games.

TONIGHT: Tonight, is the fourth of nine meetings between the two B.C. Division rivals. The Cougars enter the game with a 4-12-0-2 record, seven points back of the Royals who sit fourth in the division and occupy one of the two wild card spots in the Western Conference. All three games in the season series have been decided by one goal and the last two encounters have gone to the shootout. The Royals have won eight-straight against the Cougars dating back to December 14th, 2018.

TALE OF THE TAPE

Prince George Cougars (4-12-0-2 10 PTS) Victoria Royals (8-7-1-0 17 PTS)
5th B.C. Division | 10th Western Conference 4th B.C. Division | 7th Western Conference
Power-Play 12/78 15.4% (18th) Power-Play 12/60 20% (14th)
Penalty-Kill 18/64 73.4% (21st) Penalty-Kill 12/61 80.3% (8th)
Last 10 2-7-0-1 Streak 0-3-0-1 Last 10 6-4-0-0 Streak 2-0-0-0

LINE UP: Don’t expect to see any changes to the Cougars line up. Taylor Gauthier will make his third consecutive start. Gauthier has 1.94 goals-against average and owns a .935 save percentage in three starts against the Royals this season. Reid Perepeluk (lower-body) and Vladislav Mikhalchuk won’t dress for the second-straight night. Mikhalchuk is still waiting for his paperwork to be sorted out as he waits his release from the KHL.

COUGARS FOCUS: Not much needs to change outside of the result. The Cougars were very good last night as they held the Royals to just 10 shots through 40-minutes. The only thing they need to improve upon is their production. Can they manufacture some offence in regulation?

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