A late power-play goal was the difference in the Cougars’ Friday (Oct. 4) loss on home ice.
Returning to the CN Centre for the first time in two weeks, Prince George created several chances to get a leg up on Kelowna as the team’s young offensive core continued to make strides, even outshooting their opponents 28-21 and including a 15-6 rout in the second period.
In the end, they could only best Rockets goaltender Roman Basran once, resulting in a 2-1 decision to lose a third straight tilt by a single point.
After dropping the home-opening games by two and three goals respectively, the Cats traveled to Victoria last weekend (Sept. 27 and 28) and while Taylor Gauthier played admirably between the pipes, his team still lost by scores of 2-1 and 3-2 in overtime.
Last night, the 18-year-old was near flawless, especially in the third period, but ultimately let two goals flutter by on 21 total shots from Kelowna.
Reigning team MVP Josh Maser finally got his first goal of the season five games into the new season, a power-play marker in the middle of the third period to tie it up.
Tyson Upper and Rhett Rhinehart provided the helpers.
That would be it for the Cats, however, as Kelowna was able to play solid defense in the final 82 seconds of regulation when Gauthier was pulled for a sixth attacker in an attempt to force an extra frame.
Pavel Novak scored both goals for the visiting Rockets, his second and third of the year, coming 4:23 into the first period and with 1:49 left in the third on a man-advantage.
Prince George’s record now falls to 0-4-0-1 and are still the only team in the Western Hockey League (WHL) without a win.
Fourth-year forward Ethan Browne also left Friday’s game in discomfort, but it’s unclear at this time if he’ll be back on the bench for tonight’s (Oct. 5) second of the doubleheader with Kelowna.
The Cougars face-off with the 2020 Memorial Cup hosts at 7 p.m. from the CN Centre.