Tavin Grant a Gi­ant slayer for Cougars

The Prince George Citizen - - SPORTS - Ted CLARKE Ci­ti­zen staff

On a night when the Van­cou­ver Gi­ants wel­comed back a home­town hero after more than 200 days on the in­jury shelf, a Burn­aby boy dressed in a Prince Ge­orge Cougars uni­form stole the show.

Tavin Grant, the 19-year-old Cougars goalie, was at his best in the late stages to pre­serve a 2-1 vic­tory over the Gi­ants Fri­day night in Lan­g­ley.

He saved the day for the Cats, ston­ing Tyler Ben­son with a kick save on a clear-cut break­away with 40 sec­onds left and the Gi­ants play­ing with the ex­tra skater.

Ryan Schoet­tler and Lan­g­ley na­tive Den­nis Schoet­tler scored for the Cougars, who led 2-0 after two pe­ri­ods.

The 19-year-old Ben­son, an Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers draft pick (32nd over­all in 2016), had been side­lined since Jan. 2 after surgery to re­pair a sports her­nia. The Gi­ants’ cap­tain cut the lead in half with 4:54 left in the third pe­riod, beat­ing Grant with a wrist shot. Grant made 32 saves to back the Cougars their fifth win of the sea­son. Todd Scott took the loss in goal for Van­cou­ver, stop­ping 27 shots.

The Gi­ants (5-6-1-1) had won three of their last four, com­ing off a 5-2 win in Regina. The Cougars (5-5-2-2) kept pace with the Kelowna Rock­ets, who beat Tri-City 4-3 in over­time Fri­day. The Cougars and Rock­ets each have 14 points. The Cats moved into third place in the B.C. Dvi­sion, two points ahead of Van­cou­ver.

The Cougars will be in Kelowna tonight to take on the Rock­ets (7 p.m. start, 93.4 FM The Goat).

LOOSE PUCKS: Grant was backed up by Tay­lor Gau­thier, who leaves Mon­day to play for Team Canada in the World Un­der-17 Hockey Chal­lenge in Fort St. John and Daw­son Creek… No­table in his ab­sence from the Cougars’ lineup Fri­day was left winger Nikita Pop­u­gaev, who left the team Thurs­day to re­turn to his home in Mos­cow, Rus­sia… For­ward Matt Mosher made his Cougars’ de­but play­ing on a line with Josh Maser and Ethan O’Rourke and the na­tive of White Rock did not look out of place. The Cougars ac­quired 17-year-old Mosher this week in a trade from the Saska­toon Blades… D Josh An­der­son has re­sumed skat­ing with the Cougars but re­mains out of the lineup with a shoul­der in­jury… Fri­day’s game was the first for Van­cou­ver cen­tre Brad Mor­ri­son since he was sent to the Gi­ants over the sum­mer in a trade for a sec­ond-round pick in the 2018 WHL ban­tam draft. The 20-year-old Prince Ge­orge na­tive played four sea­sons with the Cougars. Mor­ri­son, a fourth-round draft pick of the New York Rangers in 2015, came into the game third in Gi­ants’ scor­ing this sea­son. He was av­er­ag­ing bet­ter than a point per game with two goals and 11 as­sists through 12 games but was held with­out a point Fri­day.

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