The not-so-great eight has been reached.
The Prince George Cougars have lost eight games in a row after falling in yet another one-goal decision, this time 3-2 to the Edmonton Oil Kings.
While the Cats may have proved were able to compete with one of the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) best teams, they missed key opportunities to strike according to their general manager and head coach.
“The power-play wasn’t good enough,” said Mark Lamb in a team release following last night’s (Nov. 19) contest at the CN Centre as his team went scoreless on five man-advantages (0/5).
“We needed a goal, we needed to generate momentum from it, and we didn’t do neither. It cost us.”
Most of the heavy-lifting was done once again by goaltender Taylor Gauthier as he made 33 saves on 36 shots from Edmonton, combining for 76 saves on 80 shots in his last two starts.
The 18-year-old also shut the door on an Oil Kings penalty shot in the third period.
He also faced a game-high 18 shots in the opening frame, letting one goal get by at 16:21 and the Cougars trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes.
Promise was shown greatly in the next period as Prince George took the lead, scoring two goals in under nine minutes.
First, at 2:16, Mitch Kohner took a shot from his left side to roof the puck on the far side and behind Oil Kings netminder Sebastian Cossa, taking passes from Tyson Upper and Marco Creta.
Next, at 11:11, after Vladislav Mikhalchuk’s shot on goal was denied, Cole Moberg found the loose puck to score his fourth of the season; Captain Josh Maser was given the second assist.
Unfortunately, the board only read 2-1 on the home side for 57 seconds.
Edmonton surged back to a 2-2 tie after Gauthier attempted to grab the puck in mid-air only to see it ricochet off his glove and into the empty cage behind him.
Matthew Robertson made it 3-2 for the Oil Kings with under five minutes left, which is where the scoreboard stood for the remainder of regulation time.
Prince George’s defensive special teams went 100 per cent on the night, preventing Edmonton from lighting a lamp on four penalty kills.
The result is also the Cats’ fifth one-goal loss in six games and while the effort is there, Maser believes the offense can do better.
“We need to battle, get to those dirty areas and get those second and third opportunities,” he explained. “We have to stick with it. It will come.”
His team’s record drops to 4-16-0-2 through one-third of the WHL season.
The Cougars welcome B.C. Division-rival Kamloops to their territory for two games this weekend to complete the three-game homestand.
They take on the Blazers Friday (Nov. 22) and Saturday (Nov. 23), both with 7 p.m. puck-drops.