There’s no joy in Cougarville these days.
Another game, another loss, and this one was not pretty.
Outshot 59-15, the Cougars got thumped 6-2 by the Portland Winterhawks Wednesday night in Portland, Ore.
It started well for the visitors when Leikit Reichle and Kyren Gronick scored to give the Cats a 2-0 lead in the first period, but the fun didn’t last. But the ‘Hawks (8:10-2-1) scored six unanswered goals to end a two-game losing streak and hand the Cougars (7-13-0-0) their third-straight loss.
Luke Schelter and Dawson Pasternak got pucks behind Tyler Brennan to tie it by the 13:49 mark of the first period. It was a four-point night for the Portland line of Pasternak (1-3-4), Jaydon Dureau (2-2-4) and Tyson Kozak (2-2-4). Dureau’s second goal capped the scoring late in the game on a penalty shot when he fooled goalie Tyler Brennan with a forehand-backhand deke.
Dureau, a fifth-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning, would have had his third goal of the game, if not for a successful video replay challenge by the Cougars’ coaching staff which determined the Winterhawks slipped into the offensive zone offside, which went undetected by the on-ice officials late in the first period.
“We came out with jump, built a good lead but then we just sat back and let them back into the game,” said Cougars associate coach Josh Dixon. “Our puck management hurt us, as that led to offence and momentum for them (Portland). We turned the puck over too much in the neutral zone.”
The 59 shots allowed was a season-high for Prince George.
The Cougars will try to right their ship on Friday when they visit the Spokane Chiefs (5-11-2-1). Former Prince George Spruce Kings head coach Adam Maglio is in his seaond season as the Chiefs' bench boss. They’ll also play Saturday in Kennewick, Wash., when they wrap up their six-game roadtrip against the Tri-City Americans.
LOOSE PUCKS: Cougars centres Riley Heidt and Ryker Singer will rejoin their teammates in Spokane after playing the past week in the Capital City Challenge in Ottawa. Heidt and his Team Canada Red teammates advanced to Wednesday’s final against Canada Black but lost 5-4 in overtime. Heidt’s goal with 29 seconds left in the third period gave Red a 4-3 lead but Black tied it with two-10ths of a second left in regulation time on a goal from Zach Benson to force overtime. Calum Ritchie ended it at 9:09 of OT. Heidt finished the tournament with a goal and three assists in four games. Singer’s Canada White defeated the Canadian women’s national team 5-1 in the bronze-medal game Wednesday. Singer had one goal in five tournament games.
Wednesday’s WHL game summary
Prince George Cougars 2 at Portland Winterhawks 6
Cougars: Liekit Reichle, Kyren Gronick Winterhawks: Jaydon Dureau (2), Tyson Kozak (2), Dawson Pasternak, Luke Schelter
Cougars: Tyler Brennan, 60:00, 53 saves, 59 shots; Winterhawks: Lochlan Gordon, 60:00, 13 saves, 15 shots.
Cougars: 0-1; Winterhawks: 0-3
Cougars: 9/3/3--15 Winterhawks: 23/15/21--59
Three Stars: 1. Dawson Pasternak, POR; 2. Tyler Kozak, POR; 3. Jaydon Dureau, POR.