Bruins look to cage the Cougars

The Chilliwack Bruins try to halt a two-game skid when they host the Prince George Cougars at Prospera Centre tonight in a game that starts at 7 p.m.

The two teams are quickly developing a rivalry, having squared off five times in the first half of the season, including three in a row Nov. 18, 24 and 25.

The Cougars hold a 3-2 edge in the season series, but Chilliwack prevailed in their last meeting Dec. 2, winning 5-4 in a shootout.

“They have a skilled and deep lineup,” said veteran Bruins forward Dillon Johnstone. “They should have a great team. But I think if we come out with a good physical effort and play the way we can we can take them for sure.”

Johnstone is coming off of one of the best games of his career, having scored twice in a 4-3 loss at Kelowna Saturday night.

But the Chilliwack fortunes still rest on the shoulders of the big line of Mark Santorelli, Oscar Moller and Josh Aspenlind.

Santorelli snapped a mini-slump with a goal and two assists versus the Rockets. Johnstone hopes that will help get the struggling rookie back on track offensively.

“We’ve been shut out nine times this season, and three of our last five games,” Johnstone said. “So I think everyone’s pressing a bit to score goals. But Mark keeps working hard every day, and if he does that the goals will come.”

The Cougars are looked upon as one of the WHL’s bigger disappointments this year. They are a talented group, led by forwards Eric Hunter, Nick Drazenovic, Dana Tyrell and Devin Setoguchi, but they have yet to find any consistency.

“With a team like ours we will play a defence-first game,” Johnstone said. “The Cougars are a team that can be taken off their game by hitting. That’s what we’re going to go out there trying to do.”

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