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HomeSportsHart AttackHARTLEY’S HART ATTACK – (.500 Cougars 1/5 into season) November 4th, 2022...

HARTLEY’S HART ATTACK – (.500 Cougars 1/5 into season) November 4th, 2022 EDITION 913

The Prince George Cougars have completed just over 20 % of their 2022-23 WHL regular season.

With 14 games in the books and 54 remaining the Cougars are roughly one-fifth into their schedule.

Here’s a closer look at where they stand with a .500 record of 7-7.

Intangibles: This is where the Cougars have arguably improved the most. They are 3-0 in games that have gone beyond regulation time (1-0 in overtime and 2-0 in the shootout).

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They won 4-3 in a shootout on October 7th in Langley against the Vancouver Giants after trailing 3-2 midway through the third period.

The Cougars knocked off the B.C. Division-leading Kamloops Blazers 4-3 in overtime on October 22nd after trailing 3-2 with less than a minute left in the third.

If that is not enough, Prince George won in Portland on Wednesday 5-4 in a shootout after trailing 4-2 with eight minutes to go in the third.

These are the kind of games the Cougars would have lost in recent years.

Schedule: Half of the P.G. games have been against teams with winning records but they have not played the two worst teams in the Western Conference yet, the (3-11-2) Victoria Royals and the (3-8) Spokane Chiefs.

They have a doubleheader against the Chiefs this weekend in Spokane and this month play Victoria on November 18th and 19th on Vancouver Island.

Home and Away: The Cougars have been better on the road (4-2) than at CN Centre (3-5).

Goals for and against: Like their record they are pretty much 50-50, having scored 50 while allowing 52. The offence is averaging 3.5 goals per game which should be good enough most nights to post the victory.

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Best game: A 4-1 win over Seattle on Saturday, October 29th. They had great goaltending, strong defensive play, and enough goals to hand the Thunderbirds their only loss of the season.

Worst game: An 8-3 home-ice loss to Tri-City on September 24th. They had too many passengers in all aspects of their game. For some reason, it looked like the entire team took the night off.

Streaks: The Cougars’ longest winning streak is just two games but on the other hand their longest losing streak is just three games.

Top player: Koehn Ziemmer is 3rd in WHL scoring with 23 points and fourth in goals with 11. His linemate Reily Heidt has also had a strong start with 16 points, including six goals in 14 games. The team’s player stats are right here.

Goaltending: Both Tyler Brennan and Ty Young have played better than the stats show with Young picking up his game after a slow start by going 3-0 in his last three games, with impressive wins over top teams like Kamloops, Seattle, and Portland.

Front runners: Like most teams, they play better with the lead. The Cougars are 5-0 when leading after two periods and 0-6 when trailing after 40 minutes. (They are 2-1 when tied after a couple of periods)

Special Teams: This is an area that is not good enough. The Cougars’ power-play has been better in their last five games but overall rank just 12th in the league. Their penalty kill has struggled from the start and is just 19th out of 22 teams.

Summary: You are what your record says you are. In a Western Conference, where just four of 10 teams have a winning record, the Cougars are in fifth place. (They are also second among five B.C. Division teams).

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Record-wise expectations for this team are higher.

Last season the Cougars flirted with a .500 record into January before going into a tailspin the rest of the way.

This season, on paper, an argument can be made they should finish no lower than their current position of 5th in the Conference.

It should not have to come down to the final weekend, like last season, to determine if the Cats grab one of eight playoff spots.

To this point, it is fair to suggest the Cougars have been average and that is backed up by their total of wins and losses.

All teams look for improvement as the season progresses.

We did not see that in the second half of the season from the 21-22 Cougars but the 22-23 Cougars are more experienced with arguably better chemistry.

The time has arrived for better more consistent results and I doubt there is anyone on the team that will argue that point.

 

Cat Scan podcast:

 

Taking Note:

 

FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

The Swift Current Broncos reported a net loss of $349,000 for the 2021-22 season. That’s what you call caught crossing the red line.

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

The Brooklyn Nets have agreed to part ways with head coach Steve Nash, but they are keeping Kyrie Irving (who has been handed a five-game suspension by the team). If you needed a reason to cheer for any other NBA team.

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

Sunday’s amazing performance by newly-acquired running back Christian McCaffrey gave the injury-plagued San Francisco 49ers a much-needed shot in the arm and a win over the LA Rams. They are now within three strained calf muscles of first-place Seattle.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

In Case You Missed It:

According to Duke researchers, many male mice sing songs to woo females. The top three:
3. Please Cheese Me;
2. Rodent it be nice;
1. Mouse of the Rising Sun.

*Western Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He is in his 10th season as the radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars’ home games. Hartley has been on the Prince George airwaves since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).

 

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