After a dozen games, the Prince George Cougars have seven points this season with a record of 3-8-0-1.

At the 12-game mark in the 2018-19 season, the Cougars had 11 points with a record of 5-6-0-1.

Not exactly improvement but one must remember it’s highly doubtful the Cats are going to suffer a team-record 17-game losing streak as they did from Jan 16th to Feb. 19th.

Having watched from the press box the eight home games this season, there are times it appears to me that the Cougars have taken notable steps forward (2-1 win last Friday over Spokane as an example) but there are other times where the evidence shows the Cats have regressed (7-2 loss on Tuesday to Spokane as an example).

In their last game, a 4-2 Wednesday loss to Kelowna, the Cougars finally broke out on their power play sump, scoring twice with the man advantage to erase a 2-0 deficit to tie the game 2-2.

That was the good news, but then came the bad.

Prince George was on the power play late in the second and Kelowna scored, the Rockets first shorthanded goal of the season and yes it turned out to be the winner.

Learning how to win is a process with the Cougars still in the developmental stage.

If the Cats want to better their last-place Western Conference showing in 2018-19, special teams will need a significant upgrade.

The Cougars, who are in the cellar, but just two points behind the second-wild spot, are 19th out of 22 teams in both the power play (16.3 %) and the penalty kill (75 %).

Over 68 games last season, Prince George was actually 10th on the PK (78.7 %) but just 20th on the PP (16.6 %).

It is not a coincidence that in the three PG wins this year, the Cats goalie has been the first star in each (Taylor Gauthier twice and Tyler Brennan once).

With an offence producing a league-low 2.09 goals a game, the defence and goalies realize they have little room for error.

When the Cougars can get ahead they are fine, sitting 3-0 when leading after two periods but 0-6 when trailing after 40 minutes.

They are also 0-6 when allowing the first goal of the game compared to 3-2-0-1 when scoring first.

“I think our team is better than the opening weekend against Vancouver. I see a lot of the same type of mistakes that we make to lose hockey games but I’m seeing less of those. I think our team play is a lot better, as well as our attitude. I say this a lot, the ultimate sell is to win hockey games. To play good and lose is no good either”, said Cougars head coach and GM Mark Lamb following the loss this week to the Rockets.

The Cougars are not even 20 % into their season so it is still too early to get a proper read on where the team stands in relation to the rest of the Western Conference.

To stay in the race it will be vital to avoid a lengthy losing skid.

Each team looks for improvement as the season progress.

For the Cougars, they are still at the stage where they need to master the baby steps going forward.

By doing that, the much larger steps on the road to progression should follow.

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Former Spruce Kings head coach Adam Maglio returned to Prince George last weekend but in a different role than when he left.

Maglio has made the jump from the BCHL to the WHL where he is learning as an associate coach with the Spokane Chiefs, who split their two games at CN Centre.

Brendan Pawliw of Vista Radio and mypgnow.com spoke with Maglio after Spokane’s 5-2 Saturday victory.

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This is season two of Hartley’s Cat Scan, a weekly podcast show that primarily features the PG Cougars.

My guest on the sixth Cat Scan in year two is Iain Scott, the Cougars Director of Business & Game Operations.

Scott talks about how to make the best game experience possible for the fans. He also discusses
promotions, volunteers and requests from the public.


FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

A study says watching sports on TV is good for the health, lowering blood pressure for fans when their team is winning. This is just more bad news for Miami Dolphins & Cincinnati Bengals fans.

*Comedy writer Jim Barach http://jokesbyjim.blogspot.ca/

Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney now tops the college salary list at $9.3M, passing Alabama’s Nick Saban at $8.85M. But hey, no booster better buy a player dinner, because that damages the purity of amateur sports.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

What an odd couple to open up Sunday Night Football in Carrie Underwood and Joan Jett. It was kind of like looking at George Will and Gene Simmons.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

QB Baker Mayfield has coughed up 11 interceptions and a lost fumble in the Cleveland Browns’ first six games. Probably not the Baker’s dozen his coaches had in mind.”

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Supermodel Miranda Kerr once posed in a diamond-studded bra worth over $2.5 million. In related news, USA Today ranks former QB Ryan Leaf the NFL’s all-time multimillion-dollar bust.

*Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

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Hartley Miller is the news and sports supervisor and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97.
He also is the 94.3 radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca