Game Preview: GM 2 Cougars vs. Vancouver Giants

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THE SEASON: The Prince George Cougars in their 26th season in the Western Hockey League and are 0-1-0-0 on the season. Prince George opened the season with a 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Giants Friday. The Cougars finished fifth in the B.C. Division last season with a record of 19-41-5-3. Prince George is looking to return to the post-season after missing out on the WHL playoffs in the last two seasons.

LAST GAME: The Cougars fell 5-3 to the Vancouver Giants in their 2019-2020 home opener Friday night. Tyson Upper scored twice for Prince George and Cole Moberg scored the team’s first goal of the season. Taylor Gauthier stopped 24 of 28 shots and the power-play went 1-7; the penalty-kill was 1-3. Tonight, is the second of nine meetings against Vancouver.

VERSUS VANCOUVER:  Sep 20th 5-3 L, Sep 21st vs. VAN, Oct 27th at VAN, Nov 16th at VAN, Dec 17th at VAN, Feb 8th at VAN, Mar 6th vs. VAN, Mar 7th vs. VAN, Mar 15th at VAN. Last season, the Cougars were 1-7-1-0 against Vancouver but five of the nine games were decided by just one goal.

ROSTER MAKE UP: The Cougars have 24 players (two goaltenders, eight defencemen, 14 forwards) on their roster. 17 players are back from the 2018-2019 season. They have four 16-year-olds, two 17-year-olds, 10 18-year-olds, five 19-year-olds, and three 20-year-olds. The average age of the roster is 17.83 which is ranked 11th among the 22 teams in the WHL.

MOBERG DRAFTED: Defenceman Cole Moberg was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the seventh-round, 194th overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver. The North Vancouver product set career-highs in goals (13), assists (27), and points (40) last season. Impressive feat for the defenceman considering he wasn’t drafted in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft. Moberg is the first Cougars drafted player to be taken in the NHL Draft since Josh Anderson was selected by the Colorado Avalanche (third-round, 71st overall) in 2016.

GONE CAMPING: Three Cougars were at NHL rookie camps recently. Taylor Gauthier was on the Boston Bruins’ Prospect roster for their NHL rookie tournament in Buffalo, New York from September 6th-9th. He also attended the Bruins’ Development Camp in June. Josh Maser and Cole Moberg both participated in the Traverse City Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan from September 6th-10th. Maser was an invite on the New York Rangers roster and Moberg suited up for the Blackhawks. Maser had an assist in three games and Moberg had a pair of helpers in the four games he played.

LINE UP: There may be one or two line up changes for the Cougars ahead of their rematch with the Giants, but it looks like Taylor Gauthier will get the start in goal. Prince George is without forward Ilijah Colina who is on the injured reserve with an upper-body injury. The Giants dressed just five defencemen last night due to injuries and the 20-year-old rule. That 20-year-old rule affected 20-year-old goaltender David Tendeck, who did not dress as it was Braedy Euerby serving as the back up to Trent Miner.

COUGARS FOCUS: There was two main points of emphasis out of the Cougars dressing room today. One, being more selfish with the puck. As in they can’t be passing up opportunities to shoot. Prince George had just 23 shots on net last night and Tyson Upper put it best, “You can’t score if you don’t shoot.” The coaches want the players to have confidence and take the puck to the net and not… “pass up” on opportunities to score. Second main point of emphasis was discipline. Even though they had just three power-plays against, it was the timing and how the Cougars took penalties. The Giants scored twice and that was the difference. Playing between the whistles starts with being right between the ears.

GOALS: 2 Upper GOALS: 1 5-Tied
ASSISTS: 2 Schoettler ASSISTS: 2 Hardy
POINTS: 2 Schoettler, Upper POINTS: 2 Bafaro, Hardy, Nielsen
POINTS VERSUS: 2 Schoettler, Upper POINTS VERSUS: 2 Bafaro, Hardy, Nielsen
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