View Full Version : Cougard Dying on the Vine

Tipped Off
02-24-2005, 10:33 AM
From the PG Citizen:

Citizen Sports Editor

Driving into the Multiplex parking lot Wednesday, it wasn't hard to forecast the result only the score remained a mystery.

Sixty minutes of hockey later, the premonition proved correct.

The Kootenay Ice, the No. 2-ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League, put on goaltending and finishing displays in a 6-2 win over the Prince George Cougars, a team with the fourth-worst record in the WHL.

Scoring goals and keeping them out novel concepts, but if you beat the other team in those areas, you win hockey games. The Cougars, for the ninth time in 10 games, did not.

"I thought we played pretty well, created a lot of chances, but (Ice goaltender) Jeff Glass showed why he's wearing a gold medal around his neck (from his Team Canada duties at the world juniors)," said Cougars head coach Lane Lambert, whose team dropped to 22-36-3-1.

"The difference in the game was little details our team has been striving to master for too long now. Two faceoff goals, two power-play goals from them, and we broke down in our defensive zone. We got running around and left the slot open like it's the Red Sea."

The Cougars kept it closer than they did eight days prior in Cranbrook, when the Ice toyed with the Cats in an 8-0 shellacking. But improving on the score without earning much-needed standings points is of little consolation for a Prince George team that is six points out of a playoff spot and in dire need of wins to avoid a third-straight fifth-place finish in the B.C. Division.

The Cats get another crack at the Ice on Friday, and it's must-win night before a trip to Kamloops on Saturday to continue the Blazer chase.

Kootenay is about as solid a squad as you get in junior hockey. Forget the detail that the Cougars, and give them credit for this, outshot the Ice 38-24, the Ice looked that little bit sharper in just about every area.

It started with the Glass who wouldn't break. The Ice netminder kept the slate clean when the Cougars pressed early in the first period, and finished with 36 saves to prop his league-leading save percentage up to .930.

"We came out flat, they came out hard, and Jeff picked us up when we faltered," said Ice head coach Cory Clouston, whose team thrived also because of two power-play goals and a shorthanded marker.

"Our specialty teams were the difference, but I thought they outplayed us, worked harder and executed better. I thought we were fortunate that we scored on our chances and they didn't."

Did the Cougars approach the game with a defeatist attitude? Hard not to believe that gut-sickening 'here we go again' feeling didn't exist, at least to some extent, considering how the first goal was scored. With the Cats on a first-period power play, Prince George defenceman Dustin Byfuglien absolutely quit on a loose puck and allowed a two-on-one to develop. With Byfuglien little more than an obstacle to pass around, Martin Sagat and Adam Taylor played it to perfection, giving the Ice a 1-0 lead for the 36th time this season.

From Glass to Nigel Dawes, the Ice took control when the league's most dangerous player was allowed to walk off the boards and pick any corner he wanted, granted the space by an overly-passive penalty kill. Dawes ended the night with three goals, and now has 41 in 53 games.

If it wasn't evident enough through the first 30 minutes this wasn't to be the Cougars' night, it was confirmed when Nick Drazenovic missed a wide-open net with seven minutes to play in the second. Instead of being a 3-2 game, it quickly turned to a 4-1 spread in favour of Kootenay.

Dan Gendur, with a bullet slapper from the wing for his second of the year, and Byfuglien scored for the Cats. For the Ice, who are 19-0-2-2 since New Year's Eve, the other goals came from Brett Sutter and Mike Busto.

02-24-2005, 11:41 AM
Too bad the Cougs didn't come up with a better effort. I said it before, sure the Cougs are tougher after the trade deadline but they are slower!

Hopefully the Cougs can take the day off and beat the Ice Friday night.

02-24-2005, 03:54 PM
the score was not indicitive of the way the game was played. The Cougs had their chances and Glass stoned them every time. If it wasn't for Glass in the net and Nigel's incredible shot the score would have been alot closer. Jeff made some stops, especially in the first and third, that definately kept the Cats on the outside looking in, and shaking their heads in wonder. The Ice weren't 'dominate' as the score showed. Maybe....just maybe they will dress their backup for friday and give us at least a fighting chance. :confused:

02-24-2005, 03:59 PM
I could see Glass sitting out Friday night and resting for Kelowna but you never know because Koots wants to keep Kelowna from gaining any ground. Go Coogs!!!!