From the Prince George Cougars/ Dan O’Connor
Over the course of his 400 game WHL coaching career, Mark Holick has seen it all. Was Monday’s victory against the Lethbridge Hurricanes the most scenic victory of his career? Nope. But does it count all the same? Absolutely. Monday night in Prince George in front of 2300 plus, the Prince George Cougars earned their second straight victory and eighth overall, a 4-3 decision over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Jesse Gabrielle and Brad Morrison (second star) each had a goal and two assists and goaltender Ty Edmonds turned aside 25 of the 28 shots he faced to help the Cougars to victory. Corey Millette had a goal and an assist in response for Lethbridge who have now dropped three straight. It was the 193rd career victory in the 400 game WHL coaching career for Holick.
Late in the first period the Cougars struck first when Jesse Gabrielle and Brad Morrison (20-15 Fourth) teamed up for a gorgeous two-on-one finish. Gabrielle got the play started by skating the puck down the right wing. He then waited for the perfect moment and slid a pass across the ice to Morrison who had the entire open net to shoot at. 1-0. The first period ended with the Cougars ahead by a goal and they outshot Lethbridge 13-12 in the opening frame.
In the second each team would strike twice, the first of which came via the Prince George Cougars on the power play. At the 8:06 mark of the second Luka Zorko took the puck from the right point and snuck it through a maze of bodies and in for his first ever WHL goal to give the Cougars a 2-0 cushion.
Back came the Hurricanes less than two minutes later with a power play marker of their own. Brady Reagan wired a shot through traffic and home from the left point to get his first goal of the season. It was the first of two power play markers on the night for Lethbridge who came into the game with the league’s best power play percentage.
Jesse Gabrielle restored the Cougars two goal lead though at the 16:34 mark of the second period. Brad Morrison fed him a beautiful pass into the high slot, and Gabrielle did the rest sneaking a low shot past Jayden Sittler and home for his team leading 11th goal of the season.
But with less than a minute remaining in the second, Brayden Burke got Lethbridge back within a goal when he converted off of Girgio Estephan’s pass off the rush. Burke’s fifth of the season gave him his 27th point moving him into a four-way tie for second in league scoring.
5:42 into the third period, Chase Witala grabbed the Cougars their third two-goal lead of the night when he knocked home a Brad Morrison pass at the side of the Lethbridge goal. Corey Millette responded with a power play goal for Lethbridge at the 7:56 mark, but that’s as close as they’d come.
Ty Edmonds held down the fort making some key late saves, and the Cougars held on to earn their eighth victory of the season and their fifth consecutive home ice victory against the Lethbridge Hurricanes dating back to 2012. The Cougars outshot Lethbridge 40-28 and finished one-for-seven on the power play.
The victory moves the Cougars record to 8-6 and they will now head to Everett Friday chasing their season high third straight victory.
Morrison improves to 5-4-9 on the season good for second among New York Ranger prospects.