One step forward, two steps back.

This has been the narrative for the Prince George Cougars this season.

After dispatching the Tri-City Americans 5-1 on Friday, the Cougars stubbed their toe against the visitors, unable to complete the weekend sweep dropping a 3-2 decision in front of 2,261 fans at CN Centre on Saturday.

Marc Lajoie’s point shot at 15:57 of the third period on the power-play turned out to be the difference-maker as Tri-City snapped an eight-game losing streak.

“We’re missing our leadership group right now but guys are stepping up and doing a good job,” said Luke Zazula, Americans defenceman.

“I was on the ice when the buzzer sounded but the boys came out flying and that’s Mason Dunsford’s first win so I am happy for him.”

Speaking of Dunsford, he helped set up the go-ahead goal and also turned away 37 Cougar shots in the process for the Americans, securing his first Western Hockey League victory between the pipes.

To add insult to injury, this was the second consecutive night, Tri-City dressed three 15-year-old players (Ben Feeney, Ronin Geraghty (back-up goalie) and Rhett Melnyk).

The loss is a tough pill to swallow for the Cougars who drop ten points back of the Seattle Thunderbirds for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

The T-Birds visit CN Centre Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 pm.

Despite the setback, Cougars forward Jonny Hooker told the team needs to keep a positive mindset with more games on the schedule.

“The main thing here is we have a lot of the season left and we have to keep on pushing towards our goal and we have to catch them (Seattle) and we’ve got to get better every day.”

“We’ve got to learn this game and then forget it, and then we have to be Seattle. Each game is a four-point game and if we beat them both times then we are right in it so that’s what matters.”

Zazula opened the scoring for Tri-City on a 5-on-3 at 12:25 of the first period after taking a feed from Colorado Avalanche prospect Sasha Mutala for a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.

In the second, the Cougars enjoyed their biggest push of the game as Hooker and Vladislav Mikhalchuk lit the lamp against Dunsford to give PG a 2-1 edge.

However, the Americans got back on even terms with one second left in the period as former Cariboo Cougar and Vanderhoof product Booker Daniel tipped home a Jayden Platz point shot past PG netminder Tyler Brennan.

Daniel was pretty pumped to get one in front of friends and family.

“It feels great, the boys have done a good job at staying determined to get some wins here, we have lost a lot of games and had a lot of injuries but it’s nice to win.”

“I had a lot of family and friends here so I had to get one.”

Special teams turned out to be crucial in this game as Tri-City went 3-for-5 on the power-play while the Cougars failed to score on their four opportunities.

Cougars defenceman Marco Creta was stapled to the bench after taking an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at 11:51 of the first period.

PG (14-26-3-4) outshot the Americans (15-27-4-1) 39-24.

Jack Sander and Ilijah Colina both recorded two-assist games in a losing cause.