Zach Pochiro just enjoyed his best month of hockey since joining the Prince George Cougars.
The 18-year-old rookie put up four goals and two assists for the Cougars in January and appears to have adjusted to the pace of the Western Hockey League.
"After this Christmas I got a lot more confidence," said Pochiro. "I've been doing the little things off the ice in order to get better, hopefully it keeps going the way it has been. Hopefully, it works out."
Pochiro joined the Cougars this season after playing in Witchia Falls of the North American Hockey League, and after struggling a bit to get used to his new surroundings, appeared more comfortable on the ice in 14 games last month. The six points he accumulated were his second highest monthly WHL total, after putting up seven points in October.
But his consistency is better as Pochiro had points in six different games in January while four of the seven points in October came in a single game against the Kelowna Rockets.
"I feel that [the pace has] slowed down a lot and I can see what's going on and I know our systems now so it's a lot easier," said Pochiro. "Other than that I just can't get high on my horse I've got to keep doing what I've got to do to get better."
The four points he put up against the Rockets was one of two multipoint games Pochiro has had this season.
In November, he had a pair of assists when the Victoria Royals dropped in at CN Centre, something Pochiro will be looking to repeat this weekend as the Royals (27-17-1-3) and the Cougars (15-30-2-4) clash in a battle between B.C. division rivals. In six meetings this season the Cougars have dropped the last five games against the Royals after opening the season rivalry with a win.
The Cougars will be looking to rebound from two road losses during the week, which saw them fall six points in arrears of the Seattle Thunderbirds (19-28-3-1) for the eighth, and final, playoff spot in the western conference. With only 21 games remaining in their season the Cougars need to find a way to beat goalie Patrik Polivka and the Royals this weekend if they want to remain within striking distance of a playoff spot.
Pochiro will be trying to aim the offensively challenged Cougars - the lowest scoring team in the WHL with 125 goals - towards the playoffs by finding the net a little more frequently.
"I try to pick corners that I sometimes shouldn't try to pick," said Pochiro. "I try to shoot to score every time I just don't try to throw it to the net so that could be part of the reason for me missing the net."
The Cougars and Royals clash tonight and Saturday, 7 p.m., at CN Centre.