Cougars pose with teddy bears after scoring the first goal against the Victoria Royals on December 2nd, 2018 | Prince George Cougars & James Doyle Photography

It’s like deja-vu, but in full reverse!

After suffering a 5-1 loss to Victoria Saturday night, the Prince George Cougars were able to pounce back less than 24 hours later, prevailing 5-3 over the Royals in their final home game of 2018.

Vladislav Mikhalchuk led the way with two goals, including the Un-Teddy Bear Toss goal eight minutes into the first period, sending teddy bears and winter clothing onto the ice by more than 3,600 fans at the CN Centre.

The Belarusian scored a second time in the opening frame, 28 seconds after Rhett Rhinehart gave the Cats a two-goal lead, setting the tone for the rest of Sunday afternoon.

Josh Maser, who scored the 2017 Teddy Bear Toss goal, added to his scoring total to start the second period with a goal of his own; he assisted on both of Mikhalchuk’s goals in the first.

Victoria would make things interesting with two goals of their own to cut the lead in half, but Ilijah Colina with restore the three-goal lead with PG’s only power-play goal of the contest.

The Royals scored the only tally of the third period, but the Cougars held on to split the weekend series.

Taylor Gauthier made 21 saves on 24 shots for his seventh win of the season, improving Prince George’s record to 11-14-1-2.

In the BC Division, the Cougars are in fourth place, but only one point separates them from the second spot.

“We’re going into a tough time of year for our squad,” said PG Associate Coach Steve O’Rourke on 94.3 the GOAT’s post-game show.

“Their brains are going to be in the mindset of seeing family for Christmas, but coming out of the holiday, it’s going to be on the guys. They need to be active and not just lie down on the couch, and they need to be ready for what’s ahead.”

Prince George begins an 11-game, six-week road trip over the holiday break, starting this weekend in Portland.

The Cougars return home in the new year for a weekend tilt against the Kelowna Rockets, January 11th and 12th.

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