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HomeNewsSpokane spoils Cougars three-goal comeback with overtime victory

Spokane spoils Cougars three-goal comeback with overtime victory

Scoring goals in bunches is usually the best way the Prince George Cougars know how to get out of a jam.

However, the WHL’s western conference leaders couldn’t complete the comeback on Friday dropping a 5-4 decision to the Spokane Chiefs in front of 3,188 fans at CN Centre.

“We didn’t start on time, we weren’t ready to play at the start of the game, they got a couple bounces and that’s what happens when you are not on your game. Bad bounces like that go against you.” said Mark Lamb, Cougars head coach and general manager.

Brayden Crampton notched his seventh goal of the season for the Chiefs, who could be making a return to BC’s Northern Capital by the Easter long weekend for a potential first-round playoff matchup, that could be a dandy.

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More on that in a moment.

Spokane certainly gave the home crowd plenty to worry about in the game’s first two periods holding serve on the road with a 4-1 lead, solving the puzzle that is Josh Ravensbergen.

“It’s one of the best if not the best team in the league and we came out with a purpose.” said Ryan Smith, Chiefs head coach.

“We got a couple of pucks towards the net and got some bounces our way. It was a little tighter in the end but certainly it was a big win.”

It was the hometown boy Chase Harrington who began the offensive fireworks for the Chiefs, re-directing a Hayden Paupanekis shot for a 1-0 lead.

A minute later, while shorthanded, Ty Cheveldayoff notched his 10th of the season finishing a three-way scoring play led by Crampton and Will McIsaac.

Harrington also got the job done with his fists taking on Cougars rookie Jett Lajoie in a late-period scrap.

Prior to the intermission, the tantalizing skill of Berkley Catton was on full display for Spokane, setting the table for Sage Weinstein who beat Ravensbergen for a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes of play.

To begin the second, Prince George head coach and general manager Mark Lamb stuck with Ravensbergen in net despite giving up three goals on eight shots.

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“Things have been pretty good for the kid, he has played great and a couple of those in the first were just bad bounces and he needed to battle through that, and he did right to the last goal.”

A poor line change by the Cougars led to a breakaway for Shea Van Olm who was the recipent of a Conner Roulette feed, putting the puck between the legs of Ravensbergen to build a three-goal lead.

After being without super-goal scorer Zac Funk due to a puck in the face for much of the middle period, the Cougars finally woke up from their cat nap in the third.

Funk who notched his 57th of the season on the power-play in the opening frame, tallied his second of the game at 5:45 of the third, capitalizing on a Terik Parascak feed beating Chiefs goalie Dawson Cowan.

The 20-year-old prospect of the Washington Capitals turned playmaker less than two minutes later, as Viliam Kmec blasted a shot into the Spokane goal.

Prince George continued to ride the wave of momentum later in the period as a Borya Valis slapshot bounced off the knee of Hunter Laing, who beat a screened Cowan to even the score at 4-4.

“I can’t figure out exactly what it is (reason for slow start) but it’s about being ready for the battle. We comeback in the third period, we do that in the third period, we have a lot of skill and can score a lot of goals, but it was way before that where we lost the point.” added Lamb.

The Cougars (40-15-1-3) outshot Spokane 34-24 and went 2-for-2 on the power-play while the Chiefs didn’t receive a man advantage the entire game.

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If the regular season ended today, the Chiefs and PG would find themselves matched with each other in the first round.

While both teams are separated by a whopping 39 points, Spokane has taken two of the first three meetings in the season series.

A 6-3 win by the Cougars on December 2nd was followed by a 4-3 Chiefs victory on January 26th and then Friday’s 5-4 extra time decision. Catton, who is projected to be a high pick in this summer’s NHL Draft, is fifth in the WHL in scoring with 94 points in 58 games.

While it may look like a mismatch on paper, Lamb was quick to recognize the volume of weaponry for Spokane, which also includes Roulette, Chase Bertholet and Rasmus Ekstrom to name a few.

“They’ve got a lot of talent.” said Lamb. “Catton is one of the best players in the league and they’ve got strong goaltending. They have some strong pieces on that team – they are not a team you take for granted that is for sure.”

Despite the setback, PG remains in top spot in the Western Conference by one point over the Portland Winterhawks (40-15-2-1) who defeated the Regina Pats 4-0 on Friday.

Both teams received some good news on the out-of-town scoreboard as the Moose Jaw Warriors outgunned the Everett Silvertips 8-7 in regulation time.

Everett is three points back of the Cougars but only have seven games remaining.

The Cougars lock horns with the Chiefs tonight at 6pm from CN Centre.

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