It’s been a tale of two teams for the Prince George Cougars. After coming out strong from the gate the Cougars were sitting seventh in the country in November but a couple of disappointing road trips had the Cats wondering if they would be playing golf in March.
Having won eight of their last 10 games, the Cougars are in a position to take over third place in the B.C. division as they host the Kelowna Rockets for a pair of games this weekend.
Cougars head coach Mike Vandekamp said the team has just one goal.
“We’re just trying to claw our way to the playoffs. That’s all we’re trying to do,” said Vandekamp. The Cougars picked up a pair of 3-2 road wins in Seattle and Vancouver.
As of late we’ve made a pretty nice move. Hopefully we can take advantage of this weekend.”
The Cougars had two strong goaltending performances by Real Cyr, in Seattle, and Scott Bowles, in Vancouver. The Giants out shot the Cats 45-19.
“There will be some games in the course of a long season when a hot goalie will win a game for a team even though the other team played better,” said Vandekamp, who knows he’ll need a team effort Friday night.
“With Kelowna, it just comes down to work ethic and they are a pretty hard working club. Just like every other team, we’ll have to get off to a good start,” said Vandekamp.
After this weekend’s games the Cougars will hit the road for six games in nine nights in the Eastern Conference. The good news for the Cougars is they are back to over .500 on the road with a 12-11-0-2 record.
One area of concern for Vandekamp is the parade to the infirmary. With the Cougars already dealing with a depleted defencesive corp, the Cats lost the services of Ty Wishart in Tuesday night’s game, when the defenceman’s head hit the boards after being checked.
“Hopefully it’s not anything too serious. And we’ll evaluate him. Right now it’s tough for us to have quality practice time because we’re not healthy,” said Vandekamp, who is still waiting for Dan Gendur (thigh), Jesse Dudas (thigh) and Evan Fuller (ankle/concussion), to return to the line up.
Game time is 7:30 p.m. both tonight and Saturday.