Taylor Gauthier ice(d) his best game in the WHL.

The Prince George rookie goalie was superb with 40 saves, including 17 in the third period, to lead the Cougars to a 3-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice Tuesday night.

Kootenay out shot the Cats 41-28 before 2,356 fans at the CN Centre.

The 16-year-old lowered his goals-against-average (GAA) to 2.82, third best in the WHL.

“Goats was really good tonight. Again we have to temper enthusiasm because he’s 16. This was a terrific night for him and you expect that with being drafted high (9th overall, 2016 WHL Bantam Draft) and what not. But like every 16-year-old he’s going to have highs and lows and goods and bads and tonight he was on a high. He was excellent,” said Cougars Associate Head Coach Steve O’Rourke on 94.3 the GOAT’s post-game show.

Josh Maser broke a 1-1 tie by scoring midway through the last period before sealing the victory with an empty-netter in the final minute.

Cougars 17-year-old import rookie Pavel Azhgirei tallied just 2:56 into the game, his first WHL goal.

“After my goal I felt unbelievable,” stated an enthusiastic Azhgirei, who just starting learning English this year.

16-year-old rookie Peyton Krebs scored for Kootenay early in the second.

The Cougars were zero-for-two (O/2) and the Ice zero-for-six (0/6) on the power play.

Kootenay failed to scored on a two-man advantage for the first 1:56 of the third period.

It was the first time in 11 games the Cougars did not allow a power-play goal.

The 11-14-2-2 Cougars are 2-1 on a five-game home-stand that will continue with a doubleheader against the BC Division leading Victoria Royals (18-10-3) Sunday at 2PM and Tuesday at 7PM.

PG is tied with Kamloops are tied for last in the BC Division, four points behind third place Vancouver.

The Giants beat Portland 5-3 in Langley.

The Cougars trail Seattle by three points for the last wild-card spot.

The Thunderbirds got by Saskatoon 3-1 as the home teams won all five WHL games on Tuesday.

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