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Becher pushes Cougars to victory in team’s return to home ice

It was far from a masterpiece, but the Prince George Cougars rallied when it mattered and topped the Red Deer Rebels 4-3 in a shootout.

Koehn Ziemmer and Ondrej Becher went 2/2 in the shootout while both Rebels fanned on their shooting attempts, giving Cougars rookie goalie Josh Ravensbergen his first career overtime/shootout win.

Becher was the undisputed hero of the game for the Cougars.

The Rebels were leading the game 2-1 with just over five minutes left to play in the third period when the Cougars were given a chance on the powerplay.

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Becher snuck a shot short side to tie the game, then brought the 4,300 fans in attendance to their feet once again 90 seconds later when he scored to give the Cougars their first and only lead at 16:09.

Hunter Mayo tied the game for Red Deer with the net empty at 18:17.

Becher had numerous good looks to complete the hat trick with an overtime winner, but was forced to settle for a shootout goal instead.

The late push was a welcome sight for the rowdy CN Centre crowd, who had seen their WHL leading offence held to just 11 shots through two periods – including just three in the second.

That was after Red Deer opened the scoring with goals 30 seconds apart around the six minute mark of the first period.

Zac Funk put the Cougars within one on the powerplay late in the second period when his shot took a lucky (or unlucky) bounce off a Rebels defenseman in front of the net.

The Cougars were outshot 32-22, Josh Ravensbergen made 29 saves to earn the win.

PG went 2/6 on the powerplay and 5/5 penalty killing – the Cougars powerplay is far and away the best in the WHL right now, clicking at a 34.8% success rate (Portland is second at 28.6%).

They also boast the league’s second best penalty kill at 87.8%, trailing only Seattle at 88.1%.

The win pushes the Cougars’ record to 13-5-0-0 while the Rebels sit at 6-9-0-3.

The Cougars sit on top of the BC Division and Western Conference standings, and are in a three-way tie with Medicine Hat and Saskatoon for the league lead.

They play on home ice again on Tuesday and Wednesday against the 7-9-1-0 Vancouver Giants.

You can find the game’s boxscore here.

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