Brett Roulston made a good case for the Prince George Cougars coaching staff to keep him in the lineup.
The 18-year-old has only appeared in eight of the Cougars 13 games during his rookie Western Hockey League season but showed he deserved more ice time after a stellar performance in the team's 4-2 win Wednesday at CN Centre over the Spokane Chiefs.
"I promised myself that whenever I did get in the lineup I'd try my hardest to stay there," said the 18-year-old. "I played hard tonight and fortunately it paid off."
Roulston potted his second goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1 late in the first period when he poked the puck away from Chiefs defenceman Jason Fram at the blueline and used his speed to barrel down on Spokane goalie Eric Williams on a breakaway.
"I just got an opportunity and didn't make a mistake," said Roulstone.
The goal was a nice bonus for Roulston and gave the Cougars momentum heading into the first intermission, but it was the hard-nosed checking he and linemates Jordan Tkatch and Jarrett Fontaine provided that had head coach Dean Clark smiling.
"They were very responsible," said Clark. "They did good things and finished their checks."
Other goal scorers for the Cougars were Alex Forsberg, Marc McNulty and Caleb Belter. Mike Aviani and captain Brenden Kichton replied for the Chiefs. Troy Bourke and Chase Witala each contributed a pair of assists.
The win snapped a six-game losing skid for the Cougars (6-7-1) and prevented the Chiefs (9-4) from sweeping the mini three-game series between the teams.
"It's a relief," said Clark. "It's a huge victory for us to get off that losing streak. I'm happy for the guys. They're good kids and we're a good team, but sometimes you get in a rut and you've got to figure a way to get out."
Clark rewarded the players with a day off Thursday before preparing the team for a visit from the Brandon Wheat Kings (7-5-2) on Saturday (7 p.m.). The Wheat Kings travel to Prince George after playing tonight in Kamloops at the end of a two-week road trip through B.C.
"Hopefully we'll be ready to jump them when they come here," said Clark.
Clark said Roulston and McNulty, earned spots in Saturday's lineup based on their play.
Missing from the Cougars' lineup Wednesday were: defencemen Tanner Lishchynsky (ribs) and Michael Mylchreest (upper body) and forwards Carson Bolduc and Jake Mykitiuk (both healthy scratches). Mylchreest missed both games this week and was not visible at CN Centre for Wednesday's game.
Cougars note: The announced attendance at CN Centre for the midweek games was 1,382 for Tuesday's 6-1 loss and 1,371 on Wednesday.