Expensive special teams in loss to Rockets – Prince George Cougars

The Prince George Cougars (22-38-4-1) are winless in their last five games after losing 4-1 to the Kelowna Rockets at CN Center on Wednesday night.

The loss keeps the Cougars in ninth place in the Western Conference, one point behind the Victoria Royals who hold the last playoff spot. The Cougars host the Royals on Saturday in their final home game of the regular season.

It wasn’t hard to pinpoint the problem on Wednesday, as special teams were the Cougars’ ultimate downfall. Prince George went 0-3 on the power play and the Rockets scored twice from three chances.

“The difference in the game was the special teams. Our power play didn’t work and they scored twice on theirs. At five against five we were good, we played with a lot of structure.

Fischer O’Brien scored the Cougars’ lone goal as he scored his first goal of the season in the first period. Ty Young stopped 20 of 23 shots into Prince George’s net.

The Rockets’ Colton Dach and Pavel Novak each finished the night with a goal and three points as the Rockets completed the six-game sweep at Prince George this season. Kelowna goaltender Jari Kykkanen earned the victory stopping 21 of 22 shots.

A night after the two teams went scoreless thanks to regulation on Wednesday, three goals were scored in the opening 20 minutes. Kelowna scored twice in the first quarter, leading 2-1 after the first period.

Dach and Novak scored in the first for the visitors and it was O’Brien who answered for Prince George. Dach gave Kelowna a 1-0 lead on a power play goal at 11:46, before O’Brien equalized at 15:44.

Just two seconds before O’Brien scored, Ethan Samson had the chance to tie the game on a penalty shot. He missed the net on his attempt, but O’Brien scored on the ensuing faceoff in the Rockets’ zone.

Novak restored Kelowna’s lead late in the first quarter after converting on a two-man run against Nolan Flamand. Novak took the cross pass and buried it in Young’s pads at 18:52 of the first period.

Gabriel Szturc added a third-period insurance scorer for Kelowna as he scored his second of the game on the power play at 12:29 to make it 3-1.

Dylan Wightman added an empty-netter with 40 seconds left.

GAME SUMMARY

Rating

Rockets: Dach, Novak, Szturc, Wightman

Cougars: O’Brien

Goalie

Flares: Jari Kykkanen (W), 60:00 (1 GA, 21 SVS)

Cougars: Ty Young (L), 58:44 (3 GA, 20 SVS)

power play

Rockets: 2/3

Cougars: 0/3

Blows

Rockets: 24

Cougars: 22

Three stars: 1) Colton Dach 2) Pavel Novak 3) Fischer O’Brien

Next game: saturday april 9and vs. Victoria Royals, 7:00 p.m.

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