Keaton Dowhaniuk is only 15 games into his Western Hockey League career for the Prince George Cougars but already has the look of a star blueliner.

The 16-year-old was oozing with confidence on Wednesday during a 5-1 win over the Kamloops Blazers at Sandman Centre collecting a goal and three assists.

“Pucks were bouncing my way all game, that helps and I was feeling good and fresh out there. I have definitely felt comfortable since the first game, I know that is a big part of my game and I have kind of been feeling it all year.”

Like all games against the Blazers, the Cougars weathered the storm – only this time, no damage was done as Taylor Gauthier turned aside all 16 first period shots he faced.

“We were a little shaky at the start, we got pinned in our end for long periods of time – something that team has done to us in the past and Gauthier was there for us every time. That gave us a chance to stay into the game and get our legs going and start playing the right way,” said Mark Lamb, Cougars Head Coach and General Manager.

Despite another tough start, PG delivered the first blow as Tyson Upper scored an unassisted breakaway goal on Kamloops surprise starter Dylan Ernst for a 1-0 lead.

“We just wanted to get through that quick start and get pucks in deep and really contain them and play our game,” added Upper.

Coming out of intermission, the Cougars collected themselves and took it to the BC Division leader, courtesy of a pair goals from the blueline.

“We made sure that we got more pucks on net and keep cycling the puck. In our d-zone we just wanted to keep bodying them and not let them get as many shots and we ended up playing well in the last two periods,” said Upper.

Ethan Samson notched his first of the season after a blast from the point got past Ernst doubling the advantage to 2-0.

After picking up an assist on the previous goal, Dowhaniuk joined the goal parade at 12:32 of the middle period.

The tone of the game began to change as an open ice hit from Jonny Hooker led to a charging penalty against the Cougars and forced Blazers star forward Connor Zary to exit the game with an upper-body injury.

“He (Hooker) didn’t hit him (Zary) in the head, he hit him hard and then Zary went down and hit his head on the ice looking at the replay so I have no idea if we will get a call from the league office on it. Sometimes you will but it wasn’t a five minute penalty – we’ll see.”

“It was a very emotional game at times, we had to kill penalties and guys were into it. It’s no secret, we have to bring our own emotion, there was a lot of chatter, a lot of positive stuff and a lot of big hits. We had contributions from a lot of people,” added Lamb.

Josh Pillar finally put Kamloops on the board as his power-play marker trimmed the Cats lead to 3-1.

However, it only took Connor Bowie seventeen seconds to answer the bell for PG who came right back with his sixth of the season restoring the three-goal advantage.

Bowie was equally as impressive in the faceoff circle winning 15 out of 23 draws.

Unfazed by the Blazers bullying tactics, the young Cougars kept their composure and upped the ante offensively.

Koehn Ziemmer put the icing on the cake for PG adding insult to injury against Ernst notching his fourth of the campaign.

Kamloops outshot the Cougars 38-34 overall but 16 of those came in the opening period.

The Blazers went 1-for-4 on the power-play while PG was 1-for-2.

With the win, the Cougars improved to 6-7-1-1, two points ahead of Kelowna for third place in the BC Division.

Next up for PG is a Friday tilt with the Victoria Royals (1-13-1-0).

Puck drop is at 7pm from the Sandman Centre.

You can catch all the action on 94.3 The Goat with Fraser Rodgers.