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HARTLEY’S HART ATTACK – (Cougars stats are off the charts) March 22, 2024 EDITION 985

It has been the best regular season ever for the Prince George Cougars and six months after it started it is about to come to an end.

Even the most optimistic Cougars fan could not have predicted how successful 2023-24 would be.

There have been many players who have had career years benefitting by playing on a team that has had countless achievements.

With a home and home to close out the regular season this weekend against the Blazers; tonight (Friday) in Kamloops and Saturday at the friendly confines of CN Centre many incredible numbers will likely increase.

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Here are just some of the highlights to date:

Most wins ever by a Prince George Cougars team (47).
Most points by a Prince George Cougars team (98).
Best winning percentage by a Prince George Cougars team (.742).
Longest point streak ever by a Prince George Cougars team (17 games, currently active).
Most goals by a Prince George Cougars team (302).
Best goal-differential by a Prince George Cougars team (+119).
Best combined special teams performance by a PG Cougars team (2nd in league power play and 2nd in league penalty kill).

They won a B.C. Division title for just the second time and are battling Portland for their first-ever Western Conference title.

The Cougars are a perfect 32-0 when leading after two periods, and 32-2-1-0 when scoring first.

How much better can it get than that?

Then there are individual performances that may take many years for someone to top:

It starts with Zac Funk, who has to be the favourite to win WHL and CHL Player of the Year Honors.
Funk has shattered the team’s goal-scoring record (67 in 66 games, previously 54 in 69 held by Quinn Hancock, 1997-98).
He is the team’s new single-season point holder (120) and is battling Jagger Firkus of Moose Jaw (121) to become the WHL scoring champion.
He is tied for the league lead in insurance goals (9).
He leads the league in plus-minus (+52).
He leads the league in power-play goals (31).

That is the most powerplay goals anyone in the WHL has scored in a single season since Brandon’s Eric Fehr also scored 31 in 04-05. Fehr hit that mark in 71 games played – they are the only two players to score 31 powerplay goals in the last 25 years.

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Then there is Riley Heidt who became the team’s all-time leader in points and assists.

Heidt is sitting second in WHL assists and third in points (30g-80a-114) while having a career year.

He leads the league in power play assists.

Captain Hudson Thornton became the team’s all-time leading scorer among defencemen, passing Dan Hamhuis, and sits third in WHL scoring among defencemen.

Terik Parascak shattered the team’s rookie points record of 60, set by Brett Connolly in 08-09, with 43 goals and 103 points and is the WHL leader in rookie points.

Parascak is the WHL Player of the Week after being named the league’s Rookie of the Week five times.

Funk, Heidt, and Parascak are just the 3rd, 4th, and 5th players to ever hit 100 points in a Cougars jersey.

Ondrej Becher has 90 points in 56 games played, that is the most ever by a Cougars’ import player – passing Ronald Petrovicky’s 69 points in 72 games in the 1996-97 season.

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Becher also passed Petrovicky for most all-time points by an import player, Becher has 128 points (44g-84a) in 119 career games while Petrovicky ended his career with 119 (55g-64a) points in 132 games.

Six Cougars on this year’s team currently have the highest single-season +/- rating in franchise history:

  • Zac Funk (+52)
  • Terik Parascak (+45)
  • Viliam Kmec (+36)
  • Ondrej Becher (+32)
  • Bauer Dumanski (+32)
  • Riley Heidt (+31)

Funk (+67), Becher (+63), Parascak (+46) and Kmec (+41) lead the franchise in career +/- rating.

The PG Cougars’ stats this season are here where a whopping eight players are averaging a point per game or better.

Josh Ravensbergen leads the WHL in shutouts with (6), tying the league-rookie record and is 4th in goals-against-average.

The PG Cougars goalie stats are here.

(Note: many of the Cougars’ previous records were set during a 72-game schedule. The team is at 66 games played with a pair to go)

Remarkable, incredible, memorable.

These regular season numbers do not guarantee any playoff success but it is obvious the Cougars have never in their 30 years entered the post-season with this type of optimism.

One big question that will be answered this weekend is who will finish first in the Western Conference Prince George or the Portland Winterhawks?

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The (47-15-1-3) Cougars are two points ahead of Portland with P.G. having two games remaining (both against Kamloops) and the (46-15-3-1) Winterhawks having three to play (at Tri-City, home to Seattle and on Sunday at Seattle).

What happens if they tie?

Then it will be determined by the league’s Tiebreaking Procedure.

A tie in the standings may come down to Goal-Differential.

Portland is sitting at +123 and Prince George is at +119.

There will be well over 5,000 fans for the regular season home finale on another Mega 50-50 Jackpot Night on Saturday.

The Cougars hope to hit another Jackpot come playoff time.

They have the talent to do it.

(With files from Will Peters)

 

Cat Scan podcast:

This is season six of Hartley’s Cat Scan, a weekly podcast show that predominately features the PG Cougars.

This week’s guest is Taylor Dakers, the Cougars Director of Business and Goalie Coach.

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FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

Linebacker Eric Kendricks turned down the SF 49ers to join the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent. Money? Or does Kendricks just like to have his Februarys off?

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

The Chicago Bears’ likely drafting of QB Caleb Williams looks like they mean to run a true West Coast offence and to move away from their history of offence from the West Coast of Atlantis.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

I’m not saying Mike Tyson (57) is too old for a boxing match (against 27-year-old Jake Paul). But if Iron Mike is suspected of biting an ear, the first thing officials will check for is denture cream.

*Comedy writer RJ Currie of Winnipeg 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 11th year 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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