This evening: Prince George is now forced to make up ground, trailing 3-0 in their best-of-seven series with the Portland Winterhawks. The math is simple: win and you advance to Game 5 in Portland on Saturday. Lose, and the 2021-22 season comes to an end. Prince George is looking to become the third team to come back from a 3-0 series deficit.
In 2013, the Kelowna Rockets defeated the Seattle Thunderbirds in seven games, including an overtime victory in games six and seven. In 1996, the Spokane Chiefs came back to beat Portland in seven as well. Both of these series were in the first round of the playoffs.
Last match: The Prince George Cougars follow their best-of-seven series with the Portland Winterhawks 3-0 after a 2-0 loss in Game 3 on Tuesday at the CN Center in Prince George. Former Cougar Taylor Gauthier thwarted his former team, stopping 28 shots for his first career playoff shutout and fifth of the season. Tyler Brennan stopped 34 of 36 shots on the Cougars’ net. Gabe Klassen scored both goals for Portland in the second period.
April 22 GM 1 PG @ POR 2-5
April 23 GM 2 PG @ POR 1-2
April 26 GM 3 POR @ PG 0-2
April 27 GM 4 POR @ PG 2-0
April 30 GM 5 PG @ POR*
May 2 GM 6 POR @ PG*
May 4 GM 7 PG @ POR*
Season Series: Portland won all four regular season meetings, beating the Cougars 22-8. Riley Heidt led the Cougars with five points (3G-2A) in four games against the Winterhawks. Hudson Thornton (1G-2A), Ethan Samson (0G-3A) and Koehn Ziemmer (0G-3A) all had three points. Overage Winterhawks forward Jaydon Dureau had 11 points (2G-9A) in just three games against Prince George, including two four-point games. Tyson Kozak (3G-4A) and James Stefan (3G-4A) each had seven points against Prince George. The Cougars’ last victory over the Winterhawks dates back to March 9, 2019, a 5-2 victory. Including the playoffs, Portland has won 11 straight games against the Cougars.
Prince George Cougars
General Manager and Head Coach: Mark Lamb
2021-22 review: GP 68 24-39-4-1 (6th Western Conference)
A way: 12-21-1-0
last 10: 4-4-2-0
2022 playoff leaders
Riley Heidt (1G-2A)
Koehn Ziemmer (2A)
Connor Bowie (1G)
Jonas Brondberg (1G)
Carter MacAdams (1A)
Players to watch
- Tyler Brenan: What postseason Tyler Brennan is preparing. The 18-year-old did everything that was asked of him, if not more. The Cougars goaltender has a 1.80 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage. Brennan has allowed just five goals in three games, stopping 106 of 11 shots. Despite all that, Brennan is 0-3. Will show you the quality of the goalkeepers in this series. It’s great to see Brennan bounce back from injury and play at such a high level. Brennan will have to start all over again tonight to help her team avoid elimination.
- Koehn Ziemmer: We talked about how close he came to getting away. If there was ever a night for him to break the fit aimlessly, it would be tonight. Ziemmer hasn’t scored in this series despite shooting 16 times in the first three games. He had five more strokes last night. He’s been around the puck throughout this series. He’s fiercely competitive and you know he wants to lead his team. He could be ready for one of his “big” nights.
- Ethan Samson: A blue-line threat all season, Samson has been kept off the scoresheet so far in three games. He has a cannon shot when he has time to shoot from above. He scored 15 regular season goals, including eight on the power play. Prince George, who has scored just three times in the series, could misuse a punch from the blue line.
General Manager and Head Coach: mike johnson
2021-22 review: GP 68 47-16-3-2 (3rd Western Conference)
A way: 24-9-0-1
last 10: 9-1-0-0
2022 playoff leaders
Gabe Klassen (3G-1A)
Luca Cagnoni (1G-2A)
Crossed hands (1G-1A)
Jack O’Brien (1G-1A)
James Stefan (1G-1A)
Players to watch
- Gabe Klassen: The Winterhawks second-line center has had a great start to the series. He enjoys playing in Prince George, having scored seven goals in three games at the CN Center this season. Klassen had two last night in Game 3, a pair on Feb. 26 and a hat-trick on Feb. 25. Klassen leads the Winterhawks with four points in three games. His line with James Stefan and Jaydon Dureau was dangerous one night ago.
- Taylor Gautier: Gauthier, Gauthier met his old team last night. The veteran goaltender made 28 saves for his first career shutout after the season. He’s stopped 82 of 85 shots in the series and looks nearly unbeatable. He was so good at getting second and third chances last night. Prince George had some top notch rebounding opportunities, but Gauthier was able to recover and make key saves time and time again. In three games, he has a .965 save percentage.
- Kurtis Smith: When 20-year-old defenseman Clay Hanus was injured in Game 1, Portland needed players to step in. One was Luca Cagnoni and another was Kurtis Smythe. The 19-year-old has seen his minutes and role increase with Hanus’ absence. Smythe has points in consecutive games, including scoring the winner of game two. The Cloverdale, BC product had three assists in four regular season games against Prince George. He likes to play the Cougars.