It wasn't a great start for the Prince George Cougars on their Alberta road trip as they fell 5-3 in Calgary to the Hitmen.
The loss left the Cougars (13-25-2-4) in ninth place of the Western Hockey League's western conference as the two teams they're chasing for a playoff spot - the Everett Silvertips (17-2-0-2) and Seattle Thunderbirds (16-25-2-1) - were playing each other at press time with the seventh place Silvertips leading 2-1. Seattle went into the game on a 14-game winless skid.
Marc McNulty and Dallas Ehrhardt scored first period goals for the Cougars but the game was tied at 2-2 after 20 minutes as Jesse Zgraggen and Quesnel's Alex Roach beat Prince George goalie Brett Zarowny.
Greg Chase gave the Hitmen a 3-2 lead with a shorthanded marker before Victor Rask extended the lead to 4-2 with a goal seconds after a Cougars goal was disallowed.
The Cougars were outshot 11-2 in the third period and 34-21 in the game. Zane Jones was the only Hitmen player to beat Zarowny in the final period while Zach Pochiro closed out the scoring for the Cougars scoring in the final minute of play with an unassisted goal.
With the win the Hitmen (31-11-1-3) moved into first place in the eastern conference as the Edmonton Oil Kings were 2-1 losers to Medicine Hat.
Attendance at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary was 9,823.
The Cougars continue their three-game road trip tonight, 6:30 p.m. against the Red Deer Rebels (25-18-3-2) and Sunday, 2 p.m. in Edmonton versus the Oil Kings (30-11-2-3).