Cougars Return Favor; Rout Americans 8-3 To Salvage Weekend Split

By Dan Mulhausen | Tri-City Americans

PRINCE GEORGE, BC – What a difference a day can make.  Less than 24 hours after being blown out 7-3 on home ice, the rejuvenated Cougars gladly returned the favor.

Martin Marincin, Charles Inglis and Sena Acolatse each had two goals as the Prince George Cougars (7-5-1-0, 15 pts) blasted the visiting Tri-City Americans (9-4-1-0, 19 pts) 8-3 in front of 1,908 fans at CN Centre.  With the win, the Cougars did something they had not done since October 3, 2007; take home a win.  It was Prince George’s first win in 12 games vs. their conference foes and was the most goals scored in the series since Tri-City tallied eight in an 8-5 win back on December 12, 2003.  The five-goal margin of victory was also the largest for either side since a 7-2 Tri-City win on February 6, 2002.  Meanwhile, the Americans dropped to 5-4-1-0 in 10 road games to start the season.

In a period in which they nearly outshot their opponent 2 to 1, the Cougars roared out to a 4-0 first period lead.  Just 3:26 into the contest, Marincin fired a shot from the left circle that eluded Tri-City starter Drew Owsley.  Five minutes later, Acolatse sent a drive in from the right point that put Prince George up 2-0.  Just 1:21 after Acolatse’s goal, Troy Bourke turned a Nick Buonassisi pass into his fourth goal of the season.  Finally, Inglis capped a three-goal, four-minute span and chased Owsley from the game.  After Spencer Asuchak’s shot was blocked, the puck flew into the slot and right to Inglis, who wrapped in the puck and put the Cougars up by four.

Early into the second period, Tri-City appeared to gain some energy.  Only 1:29 into the period, and just as their power play expired, the Americans got on the board with Zachary Yuen’s blast from the mid-point.

But, the dagger into the heart of Tri-City’s comeback efforts came 11 minutes later.  After Brett Connolly pushed his face-off win back to the right point, Marincin corralled the puck and eventually let a quick snap shot go on back-up goaltender Chris Driedger.  Screened on the play, Driedger never saw the shot, as the puck flew over his outstretched glove and put the Cougars back on top by four.

With 3:07 left in the second period, an errant Prince George shot caused the glass to shatter behind Driedger.  The officials opted to let the teams head to the locker room early for the second intermission and then would play the rest of the period after the break.

Unfortunately for Tri-City, the layoff only put them more out of sync, as the Cougars scored three more times to put the game well out of reach.  In another four-minute, three-goal flurry, Inglis, Acolatse and Greg Fraser extended Prince George’s lead to 8-1 by the two-minute mark of the third period.

Past the midway point of the period, Tri-City used a quick two-goal, 40-second burst of their own to make the score respectable.  At the 11:02 mark, Patrick Holland redirected a Spencer Humphries shot past James Priestner.  Then, during a scramble in front of the Cougars’ netminder, and on a delayed Prince George penalty, Mason Wilgosh was able to poke the puck past Priestner for his first goal of the season.

The Americans then got two more power play chances later in the period to try and pull closer, but could not connect, as the Cougars skated to the victory.  Tri-City finished the night 0-for-6 on the power play, while the Cougars were 1-for-4 on the man-advantage.  Owsley, in just 12:21 of work, allowed four goals on 12 shots to get tagged with the loss.  Driedger then played the remaining 47:39, 25 of 29 shots in relief.  Priestner, meanwhile, finished with 29 saves on 32 shots in the win.

Continuing to rack up their hotel points, the road weary Americans will play their league-leading 11th game away from home, as they head south to Kent, Washington to take on the division rival Seattle Thunderbirds (5-2-1-1) on Tuesday, October 26.  Game time is 7:05 p.m. at ShoWare Center.  Tri-City, which is 2-0-1-0 against the U.S. Division this season, took the first of nine meetings with Seattle back on September 26, a 4-1 win at Toyota Center.  Meanwhile, the T’birds come into Tuesday’s match-up having picked up eight of a possible 10 points over their last five games and has allowed a League-low 24 goals in just nine games played.  Fans can catch all the action live, via WHL WebTV, at the Americans’ home away from home, Kimo’s Sports Café in Richland.  The game will also be broadcast live on NewsTalk 870 AM, starting with the Sterling Savings Bank Warm-up Show at 6:45 p.m.

Applebee’s 3 Stars:
1, Martin Marincin, Prince George
2, Charles Inglis, Prince George
3, Sena Acolatse, Prince George

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