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Cougars down Rockets

The Prince George Cougars picked up their second straight win on Tuesday after a 2-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place.
Cougars v Rocket May 4, 2021
Prince George Cougars goalie Taylor Gauthier tangles with Kelowna Rockets centre Alex Swetlikoff during a Western Hockey League game Tuesday night. (Paige Bednorz photo)

The Prince George Cougars picked up their second straight win on Tuesday after a 2-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place.

The win was the Cougars (8-7-2-1) first against the Rockets (8-3-1-0) this season and handed Kelowna their first loss on home ice. With the triumph, the Cougars moved into third place in the B.C. Division, two points ahead of the Rockets.

Koehn Ziemmer and Connor Bowie (short-handed) provided the offence for Prince George. Bowie scored what turned out to be the game-winner early in the second period on the penalty-kill. Taylor Gauthier picked up his sixth win of the season after he stopped 29 of 30 shots and was named the first star.

“We played a real simple game and gave ourselves a chance to win right from the start. Taylor Gauthier was great and was a big reason why we are leaving Kelowna with two points,” said Associate Coach Jason Smith. “We tightened things up, we got in front of a lot of shots and our defence did a real good job of clearing pucks out from the front of our net.”

Ziemmer opened the scoring seven minutes into the first period on a backhand shot that beat the goalie over the glove. It was Ziemmer’s third goal in two games.

It remained 1-0 for the Cougars up until just past the five-minute mark of the middle frame. With the Cougars on the penalty-kill, Bowie skated down the right wing and scored from the face-off circle on a shot that beat the Rockets’ netminder on the blocker side.

The Rockets spoiled Gauthier’s shutout bid with less than five minutes left in regulation. Kelowna’s Mark Liwiski made it a 2-1 game at 15:38 after he cashed in on a rebound at the top of the crease

Prince George only had 17 skaters dressed on Tuesday, including just 10 forwards. Forwards Brendan Boyle, Ethan Browne, and Kyren Gronick were out due to injury, and Jonny Hooker was serving the third game of a four-game suspension.

The win snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Rockets that dated back to last season. Tuesday, was the Cougars’ first win against the Rockets since Oct. 5, 2019 when they won 4-1 at the CN Centre.