by Allan Bristowe
February 8, 2014, Prince George (ISN) – Jeremy Matte made 26 saves Saturday afternoon as the Cariboo Cougars blanked the South Island Royals 3-0 at CN Centre. Defenceman Bryan Allbee was the offensive catalyst for the Cougars, setting up one goal and scoring another in the second period as Cariboo extended its BC Major Midget Hockey League home ice winning streak to three games.
Steven Jandric and Riley Pettitt scored for the Cougars as the team improved to 15-16-2 on the year. The loss dropped the Royals to 10-21-4 as they continue to battle for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Jandric got the Cougars on the board midway through the second, banging home a rebound from an Allbee shot.
Allbee extended the lead a few minutes later when he fired a point shot past Royals goalie Markus Daly. The play was set up by Pettitt, who decided to forego a backhand chance from the slot and pass it back to Allbee. Greg Dakus also picked up an assist on the play as the Cougars went into the second intermission with a 2-0 lead.
Pettitt banked one off the glass from deep in his own zone and into the empty net to ice the game with less than a minute to play in the third.
The first period was scoreless, but both teams generated some great scoring chances. Riley Pettitt had the best opportunity early when a rebound off a Greg Dakus shot bounced in his direction, but a Royals defender got there just in time to break it up.
Matte came up with some big saves, first off a power-play one-timer by Cameron Couture and then off a wicked off off the rush by Andrew Jack.
Late in the period Isaiah Berra sprung Jandric on a breakaway, but the Cougars forward’s shot went wide.
Matte didn’t keep every puck out of the net as the Royals got one past him early in the third, but after the officials conferenced they determined the puck was directed in intentionally by a Royals player with his body and disallowed the goal.
Daly had 29 saves for the Royals.
The two teams wrap up the weekend set on Sunday at 10 a.m. at CN Centre as the Cougars look to climb back to .500 on the year.