RECAP: Cougars 6 – Giants 2 (Dec. 2)
The Vancouver Giants earned a weekend split with the Prince George Cougars. A day removed from a 5-3 victory over Prince George, the Giants fell 6-2 Saturday to the same Cougars. Jared Bethune paced the Cougars attack with a goal and two assists while Joel Lakusta added a goal and an assist. Rookie Taylor Gauthier backstopped the Cougars to victory making 22 saves while Todd Scott made 28 saves in defeat for Vancouver. Brad Morrison had both goals in response for the Giants who fall to 12-13-2-2 on the season.
For the second straight night, the Giants struck first during a five-minute major power play chance. Cougars forward Kody McDonald was ejected from the game for a one-man fighting major at the 13:24 mark which set the stage for former Cougar Morrison. Morrison snapped home his first of two on the night at 15:32 off a shot from the right circle.
Just over two-minutes later the Cougars responded with two goals in an 18 second span. With the teams skating four skaters aside, 20-year-old forward Aaron Boyd knocked home a Jared Bethune feed from the left-wing circle to tie the game. Then off a failed zone clear, Joel Lakusta fed Ethan O’Rourke at the side of the Giants goal for a tap-in and a 2-1 Cougars lead. Shots were 13-8 after one period for the Cougars.
Brad Morrison put the Giants back on even terms at the 6:23 mark of the middle frame when he knocked home his own rebound past a sprawled Taylor Gauthier. Moments later Morrison was denied his hat-trick by Gauthier on another breakaway attempt.
The Cougars turned the game’s tide in their favor for good at the 10:14 mark of the second when 20-year-old Brogan O’Brien was hooked up on a shorthanded breakaway. The officials awarded O’Brien a penalty shot and the forward made no mistake. He skated in close on Todd Scott, slowed up and snapped home a low shot to his stick side to give the Cougars their second and final lead of the night.
Shots were 23-16 after 40 minutes favoring the Cougars who led the game 3-2.
Prince George struck three more times in the third, once early and twice late.
Jared Bethune made it 4-2 just a minute and 39 seconds into the third off the rush. Then with time winding down in the third, Josh Curtis (16:20 on a power play) and Joel Lakusta (17:14) struck 54 seconds apart to cement the Cougars 6-2 victory.
The final shots were 34-24 for the Cougars who went one-for-four on their power play chances. The Giants countered with a one-for-five clip on the man advantage.
With the loss, the Giants two-game winning streak comes to an end while the Cougars snapped a five-game losing skid with their 10th victory of the season. The Giants remain two points ahead of the Blazers and four points ahead of the Cougars for the third placed playoff spot in the B.C. Division.
Up next for the Giants: The Portland Winterhawks back-to-back starting Tuesday at the Langley Events Centre followed by a Friday showdown in Portland at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.