17 games, may not seem like a significant number, but it represents 25 % of the Prince George Cougars’ 68-game regular season.
With a 12-5 record, the Cougars are arguably the top team in the Western Conference and the WHL.
They are tied with Saskatoon and Medicine Hat for the most points in the league and P.G. is a point ahead of Portland and Wenatchee in the Conference standings.
They are #2 in the CHL national weekly rankings and #1 among all Western Hockey League teams.
— Canadian Hockey League (@CHLHockey) November 7, 2023
Here is a look at some of the reasons why the Cougars are the team to beat at the quarter-pole.
–They have a pair of standout 17-year-old rookies.
Think of it this way, the 6’4 Ravensbergen from North Vancouver has had a shutout in 60 per cent of his starts. Yes, he has started only five and played in two others in a relief role.
This tweet is brought to you by Josh Ravensbergen:
Only 5 starts, 3 shutouts – 1st in the @TheWHL .
1.98 GAA – 2nd in the WHL.
.929 SV% – tied for 1st in the WHL.
He turns 17 in 23 days. pic.twitter.com/kulcGw7ane
— Prince George Cougars (@PGCougars) November 5, 2023
–The Cougars have four players in the top 10 of league scoring and six in the top 36.
That is a major statement as the Cougars have never in their 30-year history been that dominant with their special teams units at this stage of the season.
–In addition, Prince George has nine shorthanded goals which again is tops in the league.
They only had eight shorthanded goals in 68 games last season (2022-23).
–The Cougars do not mind being physical as they top the Western Conference (alongside Victoria) in penalty minutes with 278.
–It seems that in nearly every game they get a highlight reel goal or save.
Koehn Ziemmer himself had an eye-popping assist in a 5-0 victory over Prince Albert and an eye-brow-raising goal in a 4-0 win over Regina on the Eastern trip.
🎥 HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT 🎥
— The WHL (@TheWHL) November 5, 2023
🎥 HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT 🎥
— The WHL (@TheWHL) October 30, 2023
How could anyone forget a two-on-none from October 4th in an 8-1 thumping of Kelowna?
— The WHL (@TheWHL) October 5, 2023
–The Cougars have a winning record at home (7-2) and on the road (5-3) with a goal-differential of +37, second in the league behind Portland (+38).
That road mark includes 3-2 on the grinding East Division trip.
With the sample size increasing each week, the record becomes all the more impressive.
–The results show the team has not lost two in a row all season.
That is a sign of a championship contender.
It is still far too early to map out a potential parade route in the spring, but the Cougars have fast become the talk of the town.
Attendance at CN Centre is averaging nearly 3,000 per game and there are strong indications that number will grow as the season continues.
Today’s date is November 10th.
The trade deadline is still two months away.
Playoffs, which begin March 29th, are still 4 1/2 months away, so the Cougars faithful should not be getting ahead of themselves.
However, this is an entertaining journey, one the Cougars fans should be enjoying each day.
Cat Scan podcast:
This is season six of Hartley’s Cat Scan, a weekly podcast show that predominately features the PG Cougars.
This week my guest is head coach and general manager Mark Lamb.
This week @PGCougars Cat Scan podcast, coach/GM Mark Lamb talks 3-2 East road trip, 12-5 record, early season surprises, WHL shutout leader Josh Ravensbergen (Mark says there’s no goaltending controversy) development of coach Carter Rigby & top special teams & goal differential https://t.co/d0Vss4lWVo
— Hartley Miller (@Hartley_Miller) November 7, 2023
FROM THE QUOTE RACK:
New York Jets QB Aaron Rodgers says he’ll be back “in a few fortnights.” So does he have any idea what a “few fortnights is?” Or is Rodgers using medieval language in keeping with his attitudes toward vaccines?
The Las Vegas Raiders played with renewed energy and looked like a better, different team under interim coach Antonio Pierce in that 30-6 victory over the New York Giants; which means that his days in Las Vegas are numbered under owner Mark Davis.
*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California
Did you hear about the Canadian Olympic hopeful who is recovering from an electric shock? In a bit of a mix-up, she tried the pole volt.
Hartley Miller is the news and sports supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. After growing up in Winnipeg, he has lived in Prince George for the last 44 years and is in his 11th season as the radio colour commentator on the Prince George Cougars home games. Hartley is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).