A visit from the Kamloops Blazers just may be what the doctor ordered for the struggling Prince George Cougars.
The Cougars (12-24-1-4) will try to put a halt to a seven-game losing skid tonight, 7 p.m., when they host their nearest Western Hockey League rival at CN Centre.
"It's a team that usually brings out the best in us," said Cougars head coach Dean Clark about the Blazers first trip to Prince George this season.
The Blazers (28-11-2-2) lost their grip on first place in the B.C. division Wednesday following a 2-1 loss to the Tri City Americans, as the streaking Kelowna Rockets (30-10-1-1) pulled two points ahead of Kamloops.
In three games this season the Cougars have lost to the Blazers 2-1 in a shootout, 5-4 and 3-0.
The Cougars bus pulled into Prince George around 1:30 p.m. on Thursday after a two-game road trip to Portland where they lost 6-4 and 3-0 to the Winterhawks (35-5-1).
Cougars goalie Mac Engel was the bright spot for the team in the 3-0 loss, stopping the first 32 shots he faced before the Winterhawks capitalized during a five-on-three advantaged late in the second period.
"That's his best performance of the year," said Clark. "I wish we would've responded with a little more effort."
Clark said with any luck the Cougars will have a full roster when they battle the Blazers after playing the last four games with only 16 skaters.
Klarc Wilson should make his Cougars debut tonight after being acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings this week, while defenceman Rinalds Rosinskis returned Tuesday to Prince George from Russia where he was playing with Latvia at the world junior championship. Brett Roulston could be back at forward for the Cats after missing three games due to sickness.
Clark said the fates of defenceman Dallas Ehrhardt (shoulder) and Jari Erricson (concussion) were not yet known. Erricson would appear doubtful after the 18-year-old left the ice early during Thursday's practice after taking several breaks.