GM 1 at Portland Winterhawks – Prince George Cougars

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Review of the season: The Prince George Cougars are back in the WHL playoffs for the first time since 2017. The Cougars clinched sixth place in the Western Conference after their final game of the WHL regular season. The Cougars finished their 68-game schedule with a 24-39-4-1 record and finished fourth in the BC Division. Prince George, Vancouver and Spokane all finished with 53 points. The Cougars won a three-way tiebreaker on goal differential, setting up a first-round game with the Portland Winterhawks. Portland clinched its playoff ticket in February and finished second in the American Division with 47 wins and 99 points.

Overview of the series: What is old is new again. The Cougars are back in the playoffs and face the Portland Winterhawks again. Prince George faced the Winterhawks in their last playoff appearance in 2017. Portland beat the Cougars in six games in that first meeting. This is the fourth post-season series between these two teams. Prior to 2017, these two teams met in the WHL playoffs in 2001 and 1997. The Winterhawks won six games in 2001 and the Cougars won six games in 1997. The previous four playoff meetings ended in six games .

Game Visitor Residence Date Weather
1 Prince George @ Portland friday april 22 7:00
2 Prince George @ Portland Saturday April 23 6:00
3 Portland @ Prince George tuesday 26 april 7:00
4 Portland @ Prince George Wednesday April 27 7:00
5* Prince George @ Portland Saturday April 30 5:00
6* Portland @ Prince George Monday, May 2 7:00
7* Prince George @ Portland Wednesday May 4 7:00

One of the main storylines is of two players taking on their former teams in this first-round match. In December, Prince George traded overage goaltender Taylor Gauthier to Portland, in exchange for 20-year-old defender Jonas Brøndberg. The Danish defenseman had six points (1G-5A) and played an important role on the Cougars’ blue line in 35 games. Gauthier was 24-4-0-0 in 28 games with the Winterhawks and four shutouts and signed an NHL contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Season Series: Portland won all four regular season games, outscoring 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. Winterhawks overage 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 in Portland dates back to the 2017-18 season, a 3-0 victory on October 1st2017.


Prince George Cougars

General Manager and Head Coach: Mark Lamb

2021-22 review: GP 68 24-39-4-1 (6th Western Conference)

Residence: 12-18-3-1

A way: 12-21-1-0

last 10: 4-4-2-0

Players to watch

  • Ethan Samson: On Thursday, Ethan Samson was named to the BC Division Second Team All-Star at the WHL Division Awards. Samson, 18, had 43 points (15G-28A) in 68 regular season games. The Philadelphia Flyers draft pick led all Cougars defensemen with 15 goals and finished fourth in team scoring. His eight power-play goals were tied for first place on the team and his five game-winning goals were the most by a Cougars defenseman since 1997.
  • Ty Young: Young had a good month between the pipes. In April, the 17-year-old goaltender was 2-2-2-0 in six starts with a 2.35 goals-against average and .931 save percentage. He stepped up and took the charge when Tyler Brennan got injured. It remains to be seen who will get the start in Game 1, but Young’s recent plays give the Cougars two very good options in net against the Winterhawks.
  • Riley Heidt and Koehn Ziemmer: The Cougars’ top two scorers get their first look at the playoffs. We will count on them to set the tone offensively. It’s a tough test for two rookies to face Portland’s top defensive duo and backstop line. Heidt led the Cougars with 58 points and was closely followed by Ziemmer who had 57. Can they translate their regular-season success into the playoffs?

Portland Winterhawks

General Manager and Head Coach: mike johnson

2021-22 review: GP 68 47-16-3-2 (3rd Western Conference)

Residence: 23-7-3-1

A way: 24-9-0-1

last 10: 9-1-0-0

Players to watch

  • Jaydon Dureau: The 20-year-old is an offensive leader for the Winterhawks. Only Cross Hanas (1.37) had a better points-per-game ratio than Dureau (1.35) this season. The product of White City, Sask. has scored three or more nine times this season, including a pair of four-point games against Prince George.
  • Taylor Gautier: One of the most important stories is that of Gauthier, in his playoff debut, against his former team. With Portland, Gauthier posted a 24-4-0-0 record and four shutouts, and during the season the Calgarian had a league-best .928 save percentage as part of his record. overall of 31-9-0-0. .
  • Hanus clay: The oldest statesman on the Winterhawks’ blue line, Hanus is a key player for Portland. The 20-year-old defenseman finished third on the team in regular season scoring with 74 points in 68 games. His 74 points were second-best among WHL defensemen. Hanus logs a lot of important minutes and is a dynamic presence at both ends of the rink. He starts their attack more often than not. Prince George must find a way to slow him down.

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