Rookie Jack Sander had a night to remember, tying the Prince George Cougars with Everett in the third period for his first career WHL goal.

The defenceman’s A+ effort on student night would eventually pay off in a shootout, along with goaltender Tavin Grant’s heart-pounding performance between the pipes, lifting the Cats to a 4-3 win over the Silvertips.

During 94.3 the GOAT’s post-game show, following Prince George’s sixth win of the 2017-18 season, the 17-year-old says he couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to prove himself.

“I was obviously very happy to get the first one off my back for sure, but I honestly wasn’t focused on that to begin with. I was just playing my game and hoping to get my team back in it.”

The visitors would draw first blood with two goals in the opening period, but Cougars’ forward Kody McDonald would cut the lead in half 32 clicks into the second, beating Carter Hart for his team-leading 10th of the year.

After Everett ‘tipped’ the ice to another two-goal advantage, Jackson Leppard lit the lamp for a sixth time to pull the Cats within one after 40 minutes.

Cougars’ Head Coach Richard Matvichuk gives credit to his blue-liners for taking more shots than required.

“We go out and we work hard every night. Our defencemen have really stepped up on the offence, and the hard work payed off tonight for sure. It was nice to get the win for our fans tonight because they were like a seventh person on that ice for us in this game.”

Sander’s golden moment came with under five minutes left in the third short-side on the Everett netminder, carrying the home team to a 3-3 tie after regulation.

A shootout was needed when overtime solved nothing; the lone goal of the contest came from veteran forward Jared Bethune in the third round, to which Grant responded with a stop on Everett’s Bryce Kindopp to seal Prince George’s second win at the CN Centre thus far.

Sander believes the mentality of his team changed dramatically in the second intermission to ignite the comeback.

“We usually have good discussions in the locker-room and I think, once we start talking about each other’s game and pointing out those little things, it really helps us down the stretch. I think that’s very important for us because sometimes we can get a little negative, but it’s important to stay positive.”

The Cougars improve to a record of 6-8-2-2 and a tie for third in the BC Division with the Vancouver Giants.

Grant stopped 22 of 25 shots from the Silvertips for his fifth victory.

Prince George completes the back-to-back home series tonight with Heroes Night against Everett at 7PM.

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