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Cougars heading south

Still licking the wounds from a seven-game homestand that resulted in seven straight losses, the Prince George Cougars boarded the bus for the trip south to the Okanagan.

Still licking the wounds from a seven-game homestand that resulted in seven straight losses, the Prince George Cougars boarded the bus for the trip south to the Okanagan.

Tonight in Kelowna, the Cougars will get another crack at the Kelowna Rockets, the same team that walked out of CN Centre last weekend with a pair of wins to end their own seven-game drought.

The Cats' fortunes did not improve during the week, when they hosted the Medicine Hat Tigers in a two-game set. Despite a determined comeback attempt from the Cougars, the Tigers hung on to win 5-4 Wednesday and extend the Cats' losing streak to 11 games Wednesday night at CN Centre. Medicine Hat pasted the Cats 9-3 on Tuesday.

The last-overall Cougars (9-39-1-1) are all but mathematically eliminated from the WHL playoffs, trailing the eighth-place Rockets (22-25-2-2) by 28 points, with 22 games left in the season.

Goalie Hudson Stremmel made his first start since Dec. 30 in Wednesday's game after suffering a concussion in practice on New Year's Day. Stremmel made 35 saves.

The Cougars will also visit Langley this weekend, where they face the B.C. Division-leading Vancouver Giants on Saturday. The Pacific Coliseum, the Giants' home rink, will not be available to the team while Olympic organizers make preparations for the Winter Games. The 5,200-seat Langley Events Centre will be home to the Giants for their next six home games.

The Cougars begin a five-game homestand on Friday, Feb. 5 against Edmonton, the first of a two-game series against the Oil Kings.

--- Cougars 15-year-old forward prospect Carter Rigby signed a standard WHL contract and is expected to see his first WHL action tonight in Kelowna. The six-foot, 200-pound Rigby was the Cats' sixth-round pick in the 2009 bantam draft. He's been skating this season with the Penticton midget triple-A Vees and has 54 goals and 33 assists for 87 points in 48 games.

"This is another important piece for the Cougars' future and we're very pleased to have Carter sign with us," said Cougars general manager Dallas Thompson, in a prepared release.

"Carter uses his size very well and has shown he's got a solid finish around the net."