The Prince George Cougars “compete level” was missing early and it cost them in a 5-2 loss to the Kelowna Rockets.

The Rockets scored the first three goals of the game by the 15:02 mark of the first period before 1,829 fans Friday night at CN Centre.

Kelowna enjoyed period leads of 3-1 and 3-2 and they outshot P.G. 31-20, including 10-4 in the opening 20 minutes.

The European connection took care of the Cougars scoring.

Liekit Reichle of Switzerland (the game’s second star) notched a goal and added an assist on a tally from defenceman Viliam Kmec, who is from Slovakia.

Kmec’s goal was the first in his WHL career.

Taylor Gauthier was tagged with the loss in net after he surrendered four goals on 30 shots.

The Cougars were again stung by the injury bug as defenceman Bauer Dumanski and forward Caden Brown did not finish the game.

Forward Kyren Gronick did not play after being hurt in Wednesday’s 5-3 loss to Vancouver.

Defenceman Aidan Brook, acquired this week from the Medicine Hat Tigers for a 6th round draft pick, made his Cougars debut and was a plus one.

The Cougars are 6-8 on the season, including 4-5 on home ice.

The Rockets are 7-3-0-1, including 2-0 against Prince George.

The Cougars are 1-2 on a six-game homestand which continues tonight against the Rockets.

GAME SUMMARY

Scoring

Cougars: Liekit Reichle, Viliam Kmec
Rockets: Mark Liwiski, Steel Quiring, Tyson Feist, Colton Dach, Pavel Novak

Goaltending

Cougars: Taylor Gauthier, 58:46, 26 saves, 30 shots
Rockets: Talyn Boyko, 60:00, 18 saves, 20 shots

Power-Play

Cougars: 0/3
Rockets: 1/2

Shots

Cougars: 20
Rockets: 31

Three Stars: 1) Mark Liwiski (Kelowna) 2) Liekit Reichle (PG) 3) Steel Quiring (Kelowna)

The PG Cougars regular season schedule is right here.

The WHL standings are right here. 

With files from Fraser Rodgers