If Ty Edmonds doesn't get picked as the WHL's player of the week, the Prince George Cougars should launch an inquiry.
The Kamloops Blazers were the latest victims of Edmonds' puck-stopping shenanigans Saturday night in Kamloops, where the 17-year-old from Winnipeg stopped all 27 shots he faced for his second shutout of the week, a 3-0 Cougar win.
Aside from his two relief appearances when he gave up three and four goals respectively in Portland and Everett coming in to replace Brett Zarowny, Edmonds has allowed just three goals in five games, four of which turned into Cougar victories. His 1.68 goals-against average ranked second-best in the WHL heading into Sunday's games.
"He had three wins this week and he's been just dynamite," said Cougars head coach Mark Holick. "I'm not sure I've had two shutouts [as a WHL coach] in the same season, let alone the same week. The kid's played very well but I think we've done a very good job in front of him. When he's called upon and there are breakdowns, that's what your goalies there for and he's done a great job."
The Blazers were unable to generate much in the way of quality scoring chances and Holick said that's a credit to the team in front of Edmonds.
"We played a very good road game, it wasn't anything fancy but it was very solid," said Holick. "It was a real close game and that second goal [from Jordan Tkatch] seemed to deflate them a bit. I hope we can grab some traction with this. We've been inconsistent and I hope we can get some confidence with our group."
Not only was the Cougars' defence airtight, their beleaguered power play (4-for-42 this season) finally managed to score. They went 1-for-4 on the power play and were perfect in killing off all five penalties.
Rookie Jansen Harkins, filling in as the top-line centre for Alex Forsberg (lower-body injury), scored his first WHL career goal on the power play on a mad scramble in front of the Blazers' net to open the scoring early in the second period. The Cougars had it drilled into their heads in practice last week to shoot more on power -play chances and they did that in Kamloops.
I think we had about 20 attempts to shoot on net [on the power play] and I think seven or eight of them hit the net, plus we scored a goal, said Cougars centre Zach Pochiro, who collected his second goal of the season into an empty net.
Its tough coming up on game day. You get up around nine, get on the bus at 10:30, youre on it for six hours and, boom, you play a game. Our younger guys have never done that before, but they did well.
The Cougars defenders effectively kept the Blazers to the outside. Kamloops forwards were able to get into the zone on the forecheck, but couldnt establish possession once the first forward won a battle. The Blazers coaches were not at all pleased with the sacrifices their players made to try to get the job done. Kamloops was coming off a 4-3 win over Victoria the previous night.
Our work ethic wasnt very good tonight, Blazers associate coach Mark Ferner told the Kamloops Daily News. The first guy was on the puck but the second and third guys just werent around. Its unfortunate -- a team comes in here and basically outworks us.
Cougar scratches were Forsberg, David Soltes (lower body), Jari Erricson (lower body) and Sam Ruopp (facial injury).
The Cougars host the Everett Silvertips in a two-game set this weekend at CN Centre.
-- with files from the Kamloops Daily News