Cats tumble down to earth
(Sports) Saturday, 20 October 2007, 01:00 PST
TED CLARKE, Citizen staff
Tommy Tartaglione was all set to take on the Regina Pats, the team that couldn’t use him this season.

But considering how well Real Cyr had played the previous two games for the Prince George Cougars, the Cats rewarded him with the start in goal Friday night in Regina.

In the end, there might have been some second-guessing going on behind the Cougars bench when Cyr was pulled from the game after just one period. By that time, the Pats and their WHL-leading power-play had already flexed their muscles twice and the Cougars were on their way to a 5-3 loss.

“We took some bad penalties against the wrong team, especially in the first period,” said Cougars head coach Drew Schoneck. “That put us behind the 8-ball, and we knew, especially getting down 3-0, it was going to be tough to climb out.

“Our guys showed resiliency to get it to 5-3 and we had some opportunities to get it to 5-4 with enough time to make a late charge for a late goal. But they’re clipping along at 28 per cent (on the power play) and they found some holes in our penalty-kill.”

Michael McAngus was the offensive instigator for the Pats, with a goal and two assists. Juraj Valach opened the scoring on the power play, just 1:05 into the game. Jared Jagow, at even strength, and Logan Pyett, on a two-man advantage, built a 3-0 lead in the first period to chase Cyr from the game.

After Dana Tyrell found the Regina net in the second period, McAngus connected for his team’s 20th power-play goal of the season. The Cougars nearly made it a 4-2 game at the end of the period while on a 5-on-3 power play when Jesse Dudas hit the post.

Jordan Eberle stretched the lead to 5-1 early in the third. Colin Haas, the rookie from Plano, Tx., scored the first of his WHL career and Greg Gardner followed up a minute later at 13:58, but that was all Pats rookie goalie Jeff Bosch would allow. The Cougars came close in the dying seconds when Dana Tyrell hit the post with Tartaglione on the bench for the extra skater.

“It was too little, too late,” said Schoneck.

Did the Cougars coach have any regrets starting Cyr, who allowed three goals on eight shots?

“Yes and no,” admitted Schoneck. “I thought Cyr played very well against Saskatoon and Prince Albert, and we’ve kind of gone with the motto, ‘If you win, you’re staying in.’ Nothing against Tommy, but Cyr earned the right to get the start against the Pats. Unfortunately it didn’t work out, and Tommy came in and was very good for us (making 31 of 33 saves).”

The Cougars (4-8-0-0) will try to improve on their 3-2 record on their current six-game road trip when they make their final stop tonight in Swift Current. Schoneck considers the Broncos (8-2-0-1) the toughest team Prince George will face this trip. They polished off the Cats 6-1 on Oct. 6 at CN Centre.

“They’re the best team out here -- they’re big and can skate and their power play is equally as deadly as Regina’s,” said Schoneck. “We have to make sure we stay out of the penalty box.”
We all knew it would happen sooner or later...I just wish it was much much later!