GAME DAY: ‘Canes @ Cougars

GameDayPreviewGame6-Cougars

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Who: 
Lethbridge Hurricanes @ Prince George Cougars
Where: CN Centre
When: 8pm puck drop, pregame at 7:45pm
Listen: ROCK 106
Watch: WHL Live

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‘Canes vs. Cougars in 2013/14:
 0-1-0-0
Last Meeting: January 21st/2014 – 5-2 win for PG (in Prince George)

‘Canes Record: 1-3-0-1
‘Canes Home Record: 1-1-0-1
‘Canes Road Record: 0-2-0-0

Cougars Record: 3-4-0-0
Cougars Home Record: 
1-2-0-0
Cougars Road Record: 2-2-0-0

‘Canes Leading Scorer: Riley Sheen (2G, 4A, 6P)
Cougars Leading Scorer: Chase Witala (3G, 6A, 9P); Jansen Harkins (2G, 7A, 9P)

The Break Down

The Lethbridge Hurricanes are coming off a short two game home-stand that saw them gather three out of a possible four points. The Hurricanes snapped a 17-game losing streak with a win last Wednesday (4-3 in a shootout) over the Calgary Hitmen. The ‘Canes followed that up with a 3-2 shootout loss on Friday night to the Kamloops Blazers at the ENMAX Centre.

The Hurricanes have played much better hockey in the past two games in comparison to the previous two games that saw them lose 9-2 in Calgary and 5-1 in Medicine Hat. If the ‘Canes can bring the same type of game they’ve played at home this season so far, they will fair well away from home.

The Cougars are under new ownership and are off to an up and down start to the season. The Prince George club currently sits with a 3-4-0-0 record through seven contests, but are coming off a 6-1 drubbing by the Vancouver Giants on Sunday. All four losses this season for the Cougars have been by blowout fashion as they have been outscored 28-5. However, in their three wins, the Cougars have outscored the opposition by a score of 17-8 – very much a tale of two teams, the question is, which team will show up Wednesday to face the Hurricanes.

What To Watch

Lethbridge Point of View

Big-3: The line of Zane Jones, Riley Sheen and Jamal Watson have been on fire for the Hurricanes. The three have combined for each of the last seven goals the Hurricanes have scored in their previous three games, not including the shootout . In three games since Jones was acquired, the trio has combined for 14 points over the three contests.

Stellar Tending: 15-year-old Stuart Skinner (doesn’t turn 16 until November 1st) has been lights out in the Hurricanes crease the last two games. The Edmonton product picked up his first WHL win last Wednesday against the Blazers with a 50-save performance and the young netminder picked up where he left off on Friday stopping 42 of 44 Kamloops shots in the loss.

Milestone Night: It could be a milestone setting night in Prince George. Assuming he will be in the line up, which is a safe assumption, defenseman Lenny Hackman will dress in his 150th WHL game; that’s also 150-straight WHL games as the Airdrie native has never missed a game in his three year career. As well, should the hot hand of Sheen and Watson continue, the pair could both crack the 100-career point plateau. Watson needs just a single point while Sheen needs a pair.

Prince George Point of View

Hurricane Dominance: It’s been quite some time since the Cougars have lost a game to the Lethbridge club. The last time the Hurricanes defeated the Cougars was October 4th/2010 – a 4-1 win at ENMAX Centre. The last ‘Canes win in PG was October 3rd/2009 – a 9-2 triumph.

Special Teams Struggle: The power play and penalty kill has been woefully bad in the first seven games. The PP is third worst in the WHL converting at just 12.1 percent of the time (4 power play goals on 33 opportunities). What’s worse, however, is the Cougars PK. Prince George has already surrendered 18 power play goals against on just 46 times shorthanded (killing percentage of just 60.9%) – worst in the league. Also worst in the league is their PK at home – just killing 52.6% of penalties taken.

Bright 3: Much like the Hurricanes, the Cougars rely on a handful of players to make sure the offensive game is there. Jansen Harkins and Chase Witala lead the charge for the PG attack as the two each have nine points on the season to lead the team – Witala (3g-6a) and Harkins (2g-7a). Meanwhile, Jari Erricson sits second in team scoring with six points (4g-2a) on the season. The goal-scoring lead belongs to David Soltes who has five goals in five games thus far.

 

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