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HomeSportsHart AttackHARTLEY’S HART ATTACK – (Cougars allowing too many goals) January 20th, 2023...

HARTLEY’S HART ATTACK – (Cougars allowing too many goals) January 20th, 2023 EDITION 924

The Prince George Cougars are not playing playoff hockey!

One might suggest they are not playing playoff hockey because it is not the playoffs.

WHL Teams do not need to peak in mid-January, ideally, they want to be at their best a couple of months from now in mid to late March as the regular season ends and the post-season begins.

My point is if the Cougars do not improve significantly on their goals-against they will not be a factor and/or contender come the playoffs.

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It is great to know that Koehn Ziemmer and Riley Heidt are in the WHL’s top six for scoring
and continue to be ranked as potential first-round picks for the 2023 NHL Draft.

It is a superb accomplishment that winger Chase Wheatcroft has already tied the team record for power-play goals in a season and is leading the entire WHL in that department with 18.

Speaking about the power play, the Cougars should be saluted for having the second-best PP in the league at 28.5 %, only behind Kamloops at 30.2 %.

Offensively, the team is doing well and yes offense creates excitement.

Give P.G. credit on Wednesday for posting a 6-5 victory in Calgary, even though they trailed 5-3 with 14 minutes remaining in the third period.

With 158 goals in 41 games, they are averaging 3.85 a game which should get the team many more victories than losses.

Why then are the Cougars sitting below .500 with a record of 18-19-4 and just sixth out of 10 in the Western Conference?

All one has to do is look at how many goals they are giving up.

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Sure, goalies Ty Young and Tyler Brennan have to take some of that responsibility as both are below a .900 save percentage, and neither ranks in the league’s top 20 in that category.

That’s a puzzle since both were drafted by NHL teams last year (Young to Vancouver in the fifth round and Brennan to New Jersey in the fourth).

Goals against also represent how the forwards and defense play in front of their goalie – that is where this team is having trouble.

This concerning trend has escalated in recent weeks.

The Cougars have allowed a whopping 159 goals in 41 games or 3.87 a game.

Only Victoria and Spokane, (the two bottom teams) have allowed more in the Western Conference.

In December and so far this month (January) over a span of 18 games, the Cougars have surrendered 76 goals for an average of 4.2 a game.

Yikes!

This does include an impressive 3-0 victory over Kelowna where Young posted his first WHL shutout on January 10th which began a 7-game road trip.

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Since then, in four games in Alberta, the Cats have allowed 18 goals or an average of 4.5 per game.

All players like to score and want to have impressive offensive stats.

In the playoffs, it’s not necessarily how many you score, but how many you allow.

The Cougars might be able to beat Kamloops 10-6 as they did on December 31st, but those games generally do not occur at crunch time.

To win playoff games against good teams, one needs to hold their opponent to under three per game.

The Cougars have only done that twice in their last 18.

As mentioned, P.G. is not playing playoff hockey.

The good news for them is it is not officially playoff time.

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However, if they don’t start winning low-scoring grinding kind of games in the near future, then when it is the actual playoff time the Cougars’ post-season appearance will be short and not so sweet.

 

Cat Scan podcast:

 

Taking Note:

 

FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

As we move to the 2nd round of the NFL playoffs, who’d have predicted the oldest starting QB still playing, by a few years, would be 29 years old? (Dak Prescott.)

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

Ohio State QB CJ Stroud is certain to be a first-round pick in the NFL Draft, but his detractors cite his tendencies to sometimes wind up before he throws. On the other hand,  he could become the first QB in history to be called for a balk.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

A recent London study found most senior citizens reported feeling less tired than younger people do. “See?” said Bucs’ quarterback Tom Brady.

*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 Prince George Cougars’ home games. Hartley has been on the airwaves in PG since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).

 

 

 

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