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Jeff Sargeant

The Cariboo Cougars are off to Nanaimo this weekend for their final matchup with the North Island Silvertips.

The Silvertips are coming off a big two wins over the Blazers in which they outscored Thompson 12-2 including a 5-0 shutout Saturday. The Cougars meanwhile are 4-1-1 in their last six games following last weekend’s split with the Kootenay Ice.

A surprising 4-3 loss to Kootenay last Saturday was followed up by a 10-2 destruction of the Ice. But the weekend opening loss to the last place Ice was a lesson the Cats will take with them as they enter the home stretch of the regular season including this weekend against the 7th place Silvertips.

“We need to work harder and we can’t take those teams for granted. We need to keep continuing on and be consistent,” said Cougar forward Chase Astorino. “We need to make sure that we get the sweep and try to make sure we can catch up to the Giants and try to get that home ice advantage.”

When the Silvertips visited Prince George in late October, the two teams split with North Island earning their first ever win against the Cougars on the road.

“We’re playing a team that’s aggressive, that takes away your time and space and don’t give you a lot of opportunites to score goals,” said Cougars Head Coach Trevor Sprague.

The Cougars will be without forwards Nathan Craft and Tyler Povelofskie due to injury. Riley Pettit and Derek Bulmer, younger brother of former Cougar and current Kelowna Rocket star Brett, will step into the lineup while defenceman Colton Manning returns after missing the last four games.

Puckdrop Saturday night at the Nanimo Ice Centre is 5:00pm with Sunday’s rematch set for 10:30am.