The Prince George Cougars came oh so close to winning their first game of the new season Saturday (Sept. 28).
The second tilt in their weekend doubleheader in Victoria had to be settled in a skills contest, aka a shootout, after Ryan Schoettler made it a 2-2 tie in the dying seconds of regulation.
In the end, after overtime solved nothing, the Royals would slide two past Taylor Gauthier in the four-round shootout to win by a score of 3-2.
The Cats’ goaltender made 31 saves on 33 shots, two less than his performance on Friday (Sept. 27), combining for 64 saves back-to-back nights in the provincial capital.
Schoettler’s two points (one goal, one assist) helped improve his stats to lead his team with five points in four games thus far.
He assisted on Ethan Browne’s opening goal of the evening, giving the Cougars a 1-0 lead nine minutes into the first period.
Prince George was able to hold on to the advantage for the rest of the frame and 13:36 into the second until Victoria tied it up at 1-1 on a power-play.
In even more deja vu, the Royals came back to make it a 2-1 lead, this time coming with 87 seconds left.
A fortunate interference penalty against Victoria’s Sean Gulka gave the Cougars the man-advantage, resulting in Schoettler’s tying marker with 17 seconds left in the contest.
Gauthier stopped all five shots he faced in overtime ahead of the shootout.
Ethan Browne scored the Cats’ first attempt; Royals’ Carson Miller replied with one of his own.
Rhett Rhinehart, Tyson Upper, and Ethan Samson all missed their shootout chances, opening the door for Gary Haden to seal the two points for the home side.
Prince George salvages a single point from the loss, making their record now 0-3-0-1 in the first two weeks of 2019-20.
The Cougars come home next weekend for Friday (Oct. 4) and Saturday (Oct. 5) games against another thriving B.C. Division rival.
They’ll face the still undefeated Kelowna Rockets at the CN Centre with 7 p.m. puck-drop both nights.