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WHL Roundup: Elynuik’s late tally tops Tips
Larry Brunt

 

Prince George Cougars (6) at Kamloops Blazers (2)  
Prince George (2-3-0-0) // Kamloops (0-6-0-0)

Kody McDonald had a pair of goals and three points and Dennis Cholowski added a pair of assists as the Prince George Cougars continued their winning ways Wednesday.

Five different Cougars scored in the victory, with McDonald’s second goal standing up as the game-winner in the team’s biggest offensive outburst of the season so far.

Joel Lakusta got the visiting Cougars on the board in the first, followed shortly after by McDonald’s first of the game. Connor Zary’s first career WHL goal cut the lead in half, but Prince George kept coming.

McDonald added his second minutes later, though Nic Holowko kept the Blazers within one following his third goal of the season late in the first.

The Cougars put the game out of reach in the second, with goals from Aaron Boyd, Nikita Popugaev and Josh Maser. Tavin Grant got his second win in as many nights, making 17 saves on 19 shots.

The Kamloops duo of Dylan Ferguson and Max Palaga stopped 36 of the 42 shots sent their way.

The Cougars will now return home for a pair of home dates against the Kelowna Rockets while the Blazers will remain at home to host the Victoria Royals Friday.

Victoria Royals (8) at Kelowna Rockets (3)  
Victoria (5-0-0-0) // Kelowna (2-1-0-1)

In a battle of the two top teams in the B.C. Division, the Victoria Royals stayed perfect as Regan Nagy, Jared Legien and Matthew Phillips led the team to an 8-3 victory over the Kelowna Rockets.

The Royals’ perfect record seemed in doubt after 20 minutes following goals from Dillon Dube and Kole Lind to put the home side up 2-0. Whatever the Royals did to adjust in the first intermission worked though, with the team tallying six goals in the middle period to swing the momentum permanently in their favour.

Nagy opened the scoring 1:57 into the second period, followed five minutes later by Ryan Peckford’s sixth goal of the season.

Like clockwork, the Royals then added goals from Yan Khomenko, Dante Hannoun and Nagy’s second of the game in a 4:17 span. For good measure, Legien potted a goal on the power play with 33 seconds left in the period to round out the scoring.

Griffen Outhouse had a relatively tame night between the pipes, making 26 saves for his fourth win of the season. Brodan Salmond allowed five goals on 15 shots before being pulled. James Porter made 8 saves on 11 shots in relief.

Regan Nagy completed his hat trick in the third period. Phillips (3A) and Legien (1G-2A) also had three-point games to match Nagy in the offensive onslaught.

Conner Bruggen-Cate got one back for the Rockets in the third, but Khomenko added his second of the game late to cancel it out.

The Royals are in Kamloops Friday for a game against the Blazers while the Rockets will make the trip up to Prince George for two games against the Cougars.

Everett Silvertips (4) at Spokane Chiefs (5) 
Everett (2-3-0-0) // Spokane (4-1-0-0)

Connor Dewar scored a natural hat trick, but the goal that mattered the most came from the stick of Hudson Elynuik with three seconds left in the game to give the Spokane Chiefs a big regulation win over the Everett Silvertips.

Momentum swung back and forth throughout the game. The Chiefs opened the scoring in the first on goals from Ethan McIndoe and Jeff Faith, but the Tips wouldn’t back down.

Connor Dewar scored a natural hat trick, scoring 4:02 into the second period and then tallying goals in the last minute of the second and the first minute of the third to complete his trick and put Everett in the lead.

Taylor Ross and Tyson Helgesen then answered back for the Chiefs to put them in the lead, but the Silvertips weren’t done as Riley Sutter scored 84 seconds after Helgesen to keep the game tied.

That’s the way things stayed until the final moments, with the Chiefs pressing in the dying seconds. A last-chance shot by Elynuik found its way through a crowd of players and past Dorrin Luding to clinch the victory.

Dawson Weatherill made 24 saves on 28 shots as the Chiefs remained first in the U.S. Division for another night.

The Chiefs open up a home-and-home series with the Portland Winterhawks Friday. The Everett Silvertips will begin a six-game road trip through the Central Division Friday in Calgary against the Hitmen.

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