A brilliant performance by goaltender Mac Engel wasn't enough for the Prince George Cougars to pull off an upset against the mighty Portland Winterhawks.
In a Wednesday night Western Hockey League game in Portland, the first-overall Winterhawks beat the Cats 3-0. Engel, a 19-year-old from Red Deer, made 46 saves in the contest and was at his best in the second period when the Hawks outshot the Cougars 24-5. Over the course of 60 minutes, Portland put 49 shots on goal, compared to 23 for Prince George.
After a scoreless first period, Troy Rutkowski finally solved Engel at the 18:46 mark of the second. Rutkowski's goal, on a five-on-three power play, came on the Winterhawks' 34th shot of the night.
At 3:50 of the third period, Brendan Leipsic gave Portland an insurance marker after the Cougars had committed a turnover at the other end of the rink. Before the final buzzer sounded, Taylor Leier hit an empty net for the home side.
Mac Carruth handled the puck-stopping chores for the Winterhawks and picked up a milestone victory. Wednesday's win was the 106th of his career and moved him into the No. 1 spot all-time in the franchise, ahead of Darrell May Sr., who finished his junior playing days back in 1982.
The Winterhawks pushed their record to 35-5-1-0. The Cougars, meanwhile, dropped to 12-24-1-4.
For the second-straight night, the Cougars had just 16 skaters available. The Winterhawks also beat the Cats on Tuesday night, 6-4.
The Cougars, five points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, will return home to face the Kamloops Blazers Friday and Saturday at CN Centre.
n Prior to Wednesday's game, the Cougars announced the acquisition of forward Klarc Wilson. The Cats picked up the 19-year-old Wilson from the Edmonton Oil Kings in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft.
Wilson, from Edmonton, had five goals and 16 points in 40 games with the Oil Kings this season. As well as possessing some offensive skills, he has good size, standing six-feet and weighing 201 pounds.
Wilson was in his fourth season in the Oil Kings' organization and was part of the team that won the 2011-12 WHL championship and competed for the Memorial Cup.
Wilson started his career with the Brandon Wheat Kings. In 225 regular-season outings with the Oil Kings and Wheaties, he has scored 23 goals and 78 points and has piled up 332 penalty minutes.
The WHL trade deadline is today at 2 p.m.