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Prince George Cougars still finding their stride in WHL pre-season

No wins from three games at B.C. Division exhibition series in Langley
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There’s now 11 days before the start of a new era for the Prince George Cougars.

That means there’s still 11 days to try to find a rhythm they’re comfortable with in hopes of winning more than 15 games like they did last year.

While down in Langley, the Cats played a trio of contests against fellow B.C. Division opponents as part of its annual exhibition series prior to the start of the new Western Hockey League (WHL) season.

Unfortunately, Prince George failed to muster a single ‘W’, losing by the following scores:

Second-year Czech Republic import Matej Toman capitalized on a power-play in the first game; we could see more of him on the special teams as he was able to get 89 shots on goal last year in his rookie season.

In game two, Ilijah Colina stepped up in a big way after missing the ladder half of last year due to what is described as ‘personal reasons’ and earned a multi-point game against the Giants with a goal and an assist.

Look for the 19-year-old to make significant contributions in board play and up the middle on offense with his quick skating and rapid-fire passing.

Against the Rockets, Prince George put Tyler Brennan between the pipes for his first taste of WHL action, facing 42 shots altogether.

Now, something the public needs to realize is that this is only pre-season play and it acts as a way for teams to see who’s good enough to make the 2019-20 roster and who should be sent back to their respective major midget, high school, or minor hockey academy clubs to further develop.

This also implies that most of the bigger ‘stars’ may be resting in anticipation for the season.

In the case of the Cougars, three of its top players are out at NHL prospect tournaments south of the border trying to catch the eye of scouts and coaches for the upcoming years once they graduate from B.C.’s northern capital.

Taylor Gauthier was with the Boston Bruins at the NHL Prospects Challenge in Buffalo; he only saw one period of play when the B’s wrapped up the three-day event against the New Jersey Devils this morning (Sept. 9).

Cole Moberg and Josh Maser were also absent this past weekend competing in the 2019 Traverse City Tournament in Michigan, playing for the Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers respectively.

Moberg and Maser each have one assist and one game left to play today at the event hosted by the Detroit Red Wings.

All three of these players could likely make it back to Prince George in time for when the Cougars make the four-hour drive north to Dawson Creek for another exhibition series.

This time against the Edmonton Oil Kings in a two-game pre-season showcase Thursday (Sept. 12) and Saturday (Sept. 14).

The Cougars regular season starts on home ice this year, Sept. 20 against the reigning B.C. Division champion-Vancouver Giants at the CN Centre.




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Kyle  Balzer

About the Author: Kyle Balzer

Kyle Balzer graduated with distinction from BCIT's Broadcast & Online Journalism program in 2016. Since moving to Prince George, he has covered a variety of stories from education & Indigenous relations, to community interests & sports.
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