LETHBRIDGE - Three first period goals were the difference as the Prince George Cougars beat the Hurricanes 7-2 Friday night at the ENMAX Centre.
The Cougars would draw first blood in this game. Nick Buonassisi took a pass on a two-on-one rush about four minutes into the first period beating Brandon Anderson on P.G.'s first shot of the night to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. The Hurricanes would get that one back when the team's leading goal-getter would score his 28th of the season. Right off a face-off, Cam Braes put the puck into the top corner to even the score 1-1. Before the end of the period, the Brett Connolly show would take over. The Prince George sharp-shooter scored twice in a span of just 12 seconds, one of those on the power play and a 1-1 tie quickly changed into a 3-1 lead for the Cougars. That's the way the period would end. The Cougars held the edge in shots 11-9 after 20 minutes.
In the second, Lethbridge would make it a one a one-goal hockey game. Jacob Berglund took a pass from Neil Tarnasky and got behind the P.G. defence and scored his 12th goal of the year to make it a 3-2 game in favour of the Cougars. Prince George would end up regaining it's two-goal lead when James Dobrowolski took a loose puck at centre and ripped a shot from his off-wing, beating Anderson up high to give the Cougars a 4-2 lead. P.G. would add one more before the period would come to a close. Charles Inglis scored with less than a minute to go to give the Cougars a 5-2 lead. The Hurricanes had a number of great chances in the second period, by a few missed opportunities on open nets. The Canes' held the edge in shots 23-16 after two periods of play, but found themselves trailing by three goals following 40 minutes of play.
In third, the Cougars would ice the game when Charles Inglis scored his second of the night while playing 4-on-4 hockey. That made it 6-2 Prince George. The visitors would then add one more before things would come to an end. Taylor Stefishen fired a shot by Anderson to give the Cougars a 7-2 lead and that's the way the game would end. The power play let the Canes' down in this game. They went 0 for 6 with the man advantage while the Cougars finished the night 1 for 3. Despite the loss, the Hurricanes out shot Prince George 33-28 and had some good scoring chances with the power play, especially in the second period that they weren't able to finish on.
The loss drops the Hurricanes record to 18-27-3-8 on the season. The Canes' have one victory in their past 8 games. This win by P.G. is the first for the Cougars in Lethbridge since 2004. Commenting on the loss, Hurricanes Associate Coach Matt Kabayama said on the CJOC post-game show, "We didn't come ready to play. We gave them too many quality scoring opportunities and we just didn't have everyone on board tonight."
The Hurricanes will play host to the WHL's second-best team Saturday night. The Red Deer Rebels will be in town. The Rebels have out scored the Hurricanes 15-2 in their last two meetings, both in Red Deer. The Canes' defeated Red Deer in a shootout in Lethbridge back in late November. These two teams will play twice more in the next 9 days. The Hurricanes will play in Red Deer next Friday (Feb. 18) and the Rebels will make one final trip to the ENMAX Centre (Feb. 21) for an afternoon game on Family Day at 2pm.
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