The Prince George Cougars have released 20-year-old goaltender Mac Engel.
That means 18-year-old sophomore Brett Zarowny will be the team's starting goalie and 17-year-old rookie Ty Edmonds has made the team as Zarowny's backup.
Zarowny, a third-round pick of the Cougars in the 2010 WHL bantam draft, played in 31 games in 2012-13, compiling a 3.74 goals-against average and .886 save percentage with three shutouts. The six-foot, 190-pound native of Edmonton stopped 20 of 21 shots he faced in a 4-1 preseason win over the Medicine Hat Tigers Sunday in St. Albert., Alta.
The six-foot, 165-pound Edmonds, a Winnipeg native and ninth-round draft pick of the Cougars in 2011, played last season in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League for the Virden Oil Capitals. In 26 games, he had a 3.74 goals-against average and .887 save percentage. Edmonds played half the game Saturday in the Cougars 8-4 triumph over the Red Deer Rebels.
"Brett Zarowny and Ty Edmonds played very well on the weekend and we just felt this was a good move to make us a better team," said Cougars general manager Dallas Thompson. "It gives us an 18-year-old and a 17-year-old and that's a good thing obviously. We'll fill those 20-year-old spots at some point, depending on what comes along."
Engel joined the Cougars in a trade last October after two seasons with the Spokane Chiefs. The native of Red Deer played the bulk of the season, posting a 3.51 goals-against average and .888 save percentage and two shutouts in 41 games with the Cougars.
With Engel's departure, F Klarc Wilson is the only 20-year-old Cougar. The team is allowed three. Wilson is now attending the New York Rangers training camp.
Jarrett Fontaine, an 18-year-old left winger, was also cut by the Cougars. The native of Humboldt, Sask., scored 10 goals and added 16 assists for 26 in 132 WHL games over the past two seasons. Thompson said the addition of 18-year-old forwards David Soltes (import draft) and Austin Ferguson (free-agent signing) gives the team sufficient depth, which made Fontaine expendable.
The Cougars also released three 16-year-olds -- F Aaron Boyd, D Shane Collins and G Matt Kustra -- and have returned 15-year-olds D Josh Anderson and F Kody McDonald to their midget teams. There are 28 players remaining in the Cougars' camp.
After opening the preseason in St. Albert last weekend with wins over Red Deer and Medicine Hat, the Cougars host the defending Eastern Conference-champion Edmonton Oil Kings Friday and Saturday at CN Centre.