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Ravensbergen, Cougars blank Rockets again to take early series stranglehold

Total domination.

For the second night in a row, the Prince George Cougars silenced the Kelowna Rockets.

Riley Heidt, Viliam Kmec, Zac Funk, Borya Valis and Oren Shtrom drove the bus offensively for the top-seeded in the Western Conference during a 5-0 victory Saturday night in front of another standing-room only crowd at CN Centre.

PG leads the best-of-seven semi-final series 2-0 heading to the Okanagan Tuesday and Wednesday for Games Three and Four.

It didn’t take long for the host fans to turn the CN Centre into a madhouse. Off a broken play in the neutral zone, Heidt collected the puck, winded around the Kelowna net before banking a shot off goaltender Jari Kykkanen and into the net.

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Kmec doubled the advantage less than two minutes later while shorthanded. Terik Parascak entered the Rockets zone and found the Slovakian blueliner who made no mistake for his third of the postseason.

PG upped the ante offensively in the second, outshooting the visitors by an 18-5 margin, swarming the Rockets at every turn with their forecheck.

The Cougars had several chances to make a statement but Kykkanen somehow turned aside several grade A chances from Heidt, Aiden Foster and Funk who rung a puck off the crossbar.

Hard work would eventually pay off as the Rockets once again got caught in transition at centre ice leading to a 2-on-1.

Funk saucered a feed to Koehn Ziemmer who was stoned by Kykkanen but the puck dribbled to the blade of Funk who had an easy tap in.

In the third, an ally-oop pass from inside the PG zone via captain Hudson Thornton, somehow eluded four Rocket players and sprung Valis on a clear-cut breakaway who made no mistake on Kykkanen.

“I saw Huddy (Thronton) who has back in our end and all of their guys were focused on the puck – when I saw Bechs (Becher) in the middle, I decided to gamble a bit and take a risk. It came to me on a breakaway,” added Valis.

A point shot from Keaton Dowhaniuk landed in the direction of Ziemmer who grinded along the boards and found Oren Shtrom who pounced on the the loose puck and jamming it past a yawning cage.

PG outshot Kelowna 44-16. In what was a chippier game, both teams went 0-for-10 on the power-play.

Josh Ravensbergen pitched his second shutout in as many games for the Cougars to kick off round too. Despite the light workload on Saturday, he was named the game’s first star.

“We have been playing really well in the defensive zone and not giving up too many chances. I think we are playing really hungry and it’s been paying off.”

“We limited them (the Rockets) to one or two good chances, the defence did a really good job in front of me to make my job easy and I am trying to help the team out.”

Playing in front of another raucous crowd, Ravensbergen told MyPGNow.com the standing room only crowds are giving them an extra boost.

“It’s a lot of fun to see all the fans and see how loud it is. It is just cool to be a part of.“

In his first five playoff starts, the 17-year-old has tallied a 1.40 goals against average and a .933 save percentage, allowing just seven goals in the process.

Elsewhere in the WHL Playoffs tonight (Saturday), the Moose Jaw Warriors exploded for six second period goals to pound the Swift Current Broncos 7-1.

Pittsburgh Penguins prospect and Warriors forward Brayden Yager notched a hat-trick. The Broncos claimed Game One on Friday 7-2.

That series is tied 1-1.

In addition, the Portland Winterhawks continued its mastery of the Everett Silvertips skating to a 6-1 victory on Saturday.

Kyle Chyzowski led the way for the hosts with a pair of goals.

Portland leads the series 2-0 with the series shifting to the Angel of the Winds Arena for three consecutive games starting on Monday.

You can listen to Cole Waldie on the road for Games Three and Four in Kelowna on 94.3 The Goat.

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