by Allan Bristowe
January 26, 2014, Prince George (ISN) – The Cariboo Cougars rode a quartet of power-play goals to an 8-3 win over the Thompson Blazers on Saturday at CN Centre.
Jesse Roach, Scott Cullen and Isaiah Berra all scored second-period goals as the Cougars capitalized on three straight power plays to take control of the game and improve to 12-15-2 on the year. Thomas Webster added the fourth power-play goal late in the third.
Chase Dubois, Greg Dakus, Steven Jandric and Berra got the other goals for the Cougars, who controlled the game from start to finish. Colton Thomas had three assists.
After failing to generate any goals on their first three power play chances of the game, the Cougars got things going midway through the second in large part thanks to the work of those manning the points. Already leading 2-1, the three goals broke the game open.
First it was Thomas who rung a long-range shot off the post and after the puck bounced off Blazers starting goalie Daniel Toews, Roach poked it home. Then it was Cullen’s turn and his point shot beat a screened Toews, with Brendan Moore picking up the lone assist.
The Blazers switched goalies, sending in Bailey De Palma, but the Cougars still converted their next power play chance. Once again it was a Thomas shot that got things started. His point blast was wide of the mark, but Berra collected the rebound off the end boards and scored. Bryan Allbee also got an assist as the Cougars took a 5-1 lead into the third period.
The Blazers made a game of it in the third as Gordon Keaton scored right off a face-off and then set up a Nii Noi Tettah goal a minute later to cut the Cougars’ lead in half.
The Cariboo defence tightened up after that and the Cougars restored their big advantage. First Thomas set up Dubois, with Allbee getting an assist, then Dakus tipped home a Riley Pettitt shot.
Webster rounded out the scoring with a shot from the high slot.
The loss dropped the Blazers to 4-19-6 on the year.
The Cougars top offensive line generated both Cariboo goals in the first period. Less than three minutes into the game Roach did the heavy lifting getting the puck into the Blazers zone and slid it front. In the ensuing scramble Berra buried it past Toews.
After the Blazers tied it midway through the period when Zander Buchanon tipped home an Alex Astasiewicz point shot, the Cougars took the lead a second time.
Jandric was the beneficiary of a beautiful passing play. Roach fed Berra in front and rather than shoot he passed off to Jandric at the side of the net. All Jandric had to was tap the puck into the open net.
Jeremy Matte made 16 saves for the Cougars – 13 of those in the third period. Toews had 19 saves for the Blazers and De Palma blocked seven pucks.
The two teams complete the weekend set back at the CN Centre on Sunday at 10 a.m.