Donovan Neuls scored two goals to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-2 Western Hockey Leauge win over the Prince George Cougars at the CN Centre in British Columbia on Tuesday night.
The T-Birds and Cougars meet again at 7 p.m. Wednesday at CN Centre.
Seattle returns to the accesso ShoWare Center on Friday to play the Kelowna Rockets at 7:35 p.m. They host the Swift Current Broncos at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in a game featuring the annual Fred Meyer Teddy Bear Toss presented by WARM 106.9 FM.
On Tuesday, Neuls has three two-goal games in the last six games and seven goals and six assists over the last seven games.
Seattle goalie Dorrin Luding had 28 saves on 30 shots to improve to 4-10-1-0.
Prince George (17-21-4-3) took a 1-0 lead at 7:08 of the first period. Max Kryski tipped a Joel Lakusta shot past Luding. Josh Maser had the second assist.
Seattle (21-16-4-2) tied the game 1-1 1:29 after the Cougars’ goal. Sami Moilanen had the puck in the right corner and centered the puck. The puck went off a Prince George defenseman’s stick right to Neuls in the slot. Neuls took a wrist shot that hit Prince George goalie Tavin Grant’s glove and went into the net. The goal was Neuls’ 15th of the season which is a career season high.
The T-Birds took a 2-1 lead with 31 seconds left in the first period. Matthew Wedman gained the offensive zone on the right wing. Wedman made a cross ice pass to Nolan Volcan in the left circle. Volcan took a wrist shot that Grant got a glove on but the puck trickled across the goal line. Turner Ottenbreit had the second assist on Volcan’s team leading 19th goal of the season.
The T-Birds took a 4-1 lead with two goals in 34 seconds midway through the second period.
Zack Andrusiak came up the right-wing wall and found Austin Strand inside the blue line at center ice. Strand took a slap shot with traffic in front of Grant that beat the goalie over the blocker at 8:26. It was Strand’s 15th goal of the season.
On the next shift, Neuls tipped a Dillon Hamaliuk shot past Grant at the nine-minute mark for his second goal of the game. Owen Williams had the second assist.
Prince George pulled Grant for an extra attacker with under two minutes in the game. Blake Bargar hit the empty net from center ice at 18:54 to seal the win for the T-Birds. Strand had the only assist on Bargar’s eighth goal of the season.
Seattle outshot Prince George 10-6 in the third period and 34-30 in the game.
Grant had 29 saves on 33 shots and his record is now 11-12-3-1.
For tickets, order online on the T-Birds website and at the ShoWare Center box office. Season tickets may be purchased by calling the T-Birds office at 253-239-7825.
First period – 1, Prince George, Kryski 4 (Lakusta, Maser), 7:08. 2, Seattle, Neuls 15 (Moilanen), 8:37. 3, Seattle, Volcan 19 (Wedman, Ottenbreit), 19:29. Penalties – No penalties.
Second period – 4, Seattle, Strand 15 (Andrusiak) 8:26. 5, Seattle, Neuls 16 (Hamaliuk, Owens), 9:00. 6, Prince George, Leppard 11 (Lakusta, Maser),18:30. Penalties – MacPhee, PG (cross checking), 3:53. Volcan, Sea (goaltender interference), 9:34. Lee, Sea (hooking), 14:30. Huo, Sea (tripping), 17:07.
Third period – 7, Seattle, Bargar 8 (Strand), 18:54 (en). Penalties – Sander, PG (hooking), 3:51. Strand, Sea (slashing), 6:19. Bethune, PG (high sticking), 16:16.
Shots on goal – Seattle 13-11-10 34, Prince George 8-16-6 30. Goalies – Seattle, Luding 30 shots-28 saves (4-10-1-0); Prince George, Grant 33-29 (11-12-3-1). Power plays – Seattle 0-3; Prince George 1-4. A – 2,474. Referees – Brett Iverson, Trevor Peluk. Linesmen – Nick Albinati, Anthony Maletta.