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HomeNewsCougars clinch playoff home ice with 10th straight win over Victoria

Cougars clinch playoff home ice with 10th straight win over Victoria

The Prince George Cougars will host the first round of the WHL Playoffs.

They clinched fourth in the west with their 10th straight win over the bottom-feeder Victoria Royals, a decisive 7-1 win in front of 2326 fans.

The Cougars started the onslaught early, Zac Funk shoveled home a rebound for his 24th of the season and 6th in six games at 4:08 of the first.

Hudson Thornton and Koehn Ziemmer would connect on a 5-on-3 powerplay a few minutes later at 11:54.

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This would end up standing as the game-winning goal, but it was far from over.

The Cougars surrendered their one and only goal late in the first on a broken play that left Matthew Hodson with his 16th.

The Royals are a team that will not see the postseason, and they have known it for some time.

After losing 11-1 to Kamloops on Wednesday, it was evident frustration was starting to boil over. Between the two teams there were nine minor penalties in the first period, which would be by far the least busy frame for the officials.

Chase Wheatcroft and Cayden Glover ran the score up in the second period – Wheatcroft’s 47th of the year.

There were three 10-minute misconducts in the second period for 36 penalty minutes between the two teams.

The Cougars have only lost one time while carrying a lead into the third period this year, and it came in extra time.

That trend held strong, Hudson Thornton, Arjun Bawa and Riley Heidt ran up the score in the third period to the 7-1 mark where it would end.

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Thornton’s goal ties him with Dustin Byfuglien for the most goals in a single season by a Cougars defenseman at 22.

Seven different players scored for the Cougars, both Riley Heidt and Chase Wheatcroft had a goal and two assists.

Wheatcroft now has 29 points in his last 12 games.

Prince George went 1/3 on the powerplay and 3/3 on the penalty kill. Despite the low number of powerplays, there were a combined 120 penalty minutes in the game.

The shots ended 38-21 for Prince George.

Victoria has now been outscored 18-2 in their last two games, and is 0-11-1-0 in their last 12.

Their record falls to 15-43-6-1, tied for last in the west with Spokane.

The Cougars are now 11 games over .500, 35-24-6-0 on the season and 16-3-2-0 since February.

As mentioned above, the win clinches the Cougars home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

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It currently looks like Tri-City could be their opening round matchup, sitting three points ahead of the Everett Silvertips with both teams having four games remaining.

The Cougars look to complete the season sweep of Victoria tonight, when they rematch in the CN Centre at 6:00. This was their 10th straight win over the Royals, dating back to last season.

You can find the game’s boxscore here.

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