There's no panic in the Prince George Cougars top trio.
If points for opportunities counted in the Western Hockey League the combination of Jari Erricson, Troy Bourke and Daulton Siwak would be near the top of the league. The Cougars (3-0-1) threesome have produced five points in the team's first four games but have had countless chances. Bourke and Erricson are still awaiting their first goals of the season. Siwak has two goals.
Bourke, the NHL Colorado Avalanche's third-round pick at last June's draft, said after a strong game last Saturday versus Seattle he's hopeful they'll break out of the mini-slumps tonight and Saturday when the Kelowna Rockets (2-2-1) visit CN Centre.
"Saturday night was kind of big for me and kind of a stepping stone for my game," said Bourke. "I just got a lot of confidence. Anytime you can create that many chances in a game, not score, but have the opportunities that's all I really want, for that to continue and being a difference maker."
The 18-year-old threaded the puck through the slot to Erricson's stick a couple times but the former Everett Silvertip couldn't finish. Bourke also hit a post in last Saturday's 2-1 overtime loss, while Siwak had a couple posts.
"We're real close to start making something special happen here," said Bourke. "We just have to wait it out a bit."
Cougars head coach Dean Clark called the trio the best players on the ice in Saturday's game.
They were dangerous," said Clark. "It was by far their best game of the year. If they keep playing like that theyll get lots of opportunities.
After two seasons with the Silvertips where Erricson had 13 goals and 33 points in 129 games, the Prince George native was acquired by the Cougars in a trade at the WHL bantam draft in May. Erricson said he's grateful to play with Bourke and Siwak.
"Troy is a really great playmaker and just makes it easy to play with him and Siwak's got a great shot," said Erricson. "I'm thankful to have the trust of the coaches here. I've just got to start producing a bit more with the ice time I'm getting."
Bourke said the best part about playing with his two linemates is they realize it's a 200-foot game and they take care of the defensive end of the ice.
"It means a lot when they play the D-zone game in addition to an offensive game," said Bourke.
The lack of pressure on the trio to start scoring can be credited to the second line of Alex Forsberg, Colin Jacobs and Brock Hirsche, who have produced 16 points between them.
"If our line starts going the two lines will be an effective two lines," said Erricson. "The fact we haven't been finishing so far - we can't get too down on it. We've just got to keep going."