A mistake by their goaltender lit a spark under the Prince George Cougars.
The Cougars (3-0) have talked about the closeness among them but Friday night at CN Centre they walked the walk after Devon Fordyce gave up a weak goal, storming back with three goals for a 4-3 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds (1-2) in the first of four meetings between the WHL Western Conference rivals.
It didn't take long for the boos of the 4,238 fans at the Cougars' home opener to turn to cheers in the second period after Fordyce gave up the easy goal as the Cats pulled back within one at 3-2 only five minutes later before taking the lead shortly after that.
Colin Jacobs victimized his former team with two points, giving him eight this season. For the second time in three games the 19-year-old scored on a penalty shot.
Fordyce redeemed himself in the third period, stopping all nine shots the T-birds fired his way to preserve the win. The 18-year-old sophomore goalie faced 33 shots in his season debut.
The Cougars fired 29 shots at Seattle's Justin Myles, also making his season debut, but until they were trailing 3-1 most of the Cats' shots were from a distance, right into Myles' glove.
Jordan Tkatch started off the offensive onslaught in the second frame when he intercepted Evan Wardley's clearing attempt and skated in alone, beating Myles for his first goal of the season. Alex Forsberg tied the game at 2-2 on a two-on-one with Jacobs, taking the pass and putting the puck in the open net after Myles committed.
Daulton Siwak, who hit two posts earlier in the game, scored his third goal of the season on a power play, taking a pass from Jari Erricson in the slot to put the Cats up 4-3.
Jacobs gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead on a first-period penalty shot after he was hauled down from behind on a breakaway by Wardley. It's the second penalty shot goal for the 19-year-old former T-bird, who is now two-for-two.
In addition to the two defensive miscues, Wardley also notched his first WHL goal when his floater from inside the neutral zone beat an unprepared Fordyce over the right shoulder, giving Seattle a 3-1 lead.
NOTES: Before the game the Cougars presented a cheque for more than $25,000 to the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, collected from their inaugural golf tournament in August. It was defenceman Tanner Lishchynsky's first WHL game.
The Cats and T-birds meet again tonight, 7 p.m. at CN Centre.