PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Connor Bowie and Austin Crossley – both of whom originally from Fort St. John – will be in the lineup tonight as the Prince George Cougars host the Kelowna Rockets in their first home game of the season.
The Cougars are 1-1-1 to start the WHL season, losing their season opener last Friday at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre against the Victoria Royals 2-1 in a shoot-out and falling to the Royals 5-1 the next night, before beating the Rockets 4-2 in Kelowna on Wednesday.
Crossley has a +/- rating of 1 and six PIM in two of those three games. Bowie meanwhile has appeared in the lineup for all three games, tallying one assist and six shots on goal with an even +/- rating, as well as a 67 percent win rate at the face-off dot.
The 17-year-old said that after having played 13 regular season games in the WHL, he’s excited to have finally cracked the lineup for the start of the regular season, after playing seven exhibition games but none during the regular season with the Portland Winterhawks before he was traded to the Cougars in February.
“They’ve sent everybody home that they’re going to until they make trades, which is a comfortable feeling but at the same time, you feel sad because you have a couple friends that leave. But, the mood in the room is really positive, we’ve got a great group of guys this year. One of the closer teams I think I’ve ever been on.”
Bowie said that after playing an average of 11-12 shifts per game on the Cougars’ third and fourth lines during the ten games last season, this year he’s playing centre on the second line between two of the team’s bigger wingers.
“I’m playing with Josh Maser and Mike MacLean, 18- and 20-year-olds. They’re two massive guys, I’m just trying to play centre in the middle of them. It’s a little bit of a tough adjustment in this league because after every game I’m just so bagged. I’m not used to getting so tired, but it’s great to get the experience against all these good players and get the confidence going.”
The Cougars are hosting the Rockets for a pair of games at the CN Centre in Prince George on Friday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m., before continuing the homestand against the Vancouver Giants on October 5th and 6th.