Goaltender Brett Zarowny was like a brick wall on Friday night, stopping 44 shots as the host Prince George Cougars blanked the Kamloops Blazers, 1-0.
Zarowny, a 17-year-old freshman from Edson, Alta., evened his record at 9-9-0 as the Cougars halted a seven-game losing streak.
Sophomore forward Jordan Tkatch scored the game's only goal, getting his fourth of the season at 12:15 of the second period.
The story, however, was Zarowny, who capped his night with a terrific save off a backdoor play as the buzzer sounded to end the game. That completed a 23-save third period for Zarowny, who put up his third shutout of the season but his first against a team with a winning record.
Zarowny, who played last season for the midget AAA Leduc Oil Kings, also has blanked the Everett Silvertips and Vancouver Giants this season. He now has a 3.04 GAA to go with a .911 save percentage. He was a third-round pick by the Cougars in the 2010 bantam draft.
Kamloops goaltender Cole Cheveldave, who went into the game with a 9-0-0 record against the Cougars, stopped 20 shots. Cheveldave, now 19-8-2, has been stalled on 19 victories since Dec. 11. Since then, he is winless in six appearances.
This was the first time the Blazers have lost 1-0 since March 12, 2011, when Kelowna's Adam Brown stopped 33 shots and the host Rockets won 1-0 in a shootout.
The Blazers welcomed back right-winger JC Lipon, defenceman Marek Hrbas and associate coach Dave Hunchak.
Lipon had been at home in Regina, spending time with his family after playing for Canada at the World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia, while Hrbas was there playing for the Czech Republic.
Hunchak missed one game while in Saskatchewan dealing with a family matter.
Lipon's return meant the Blazers' big line was together for the first time since Dec. 9. However, he, centre Colin Smith and left-winger Tim Bozon were ineffective for the most part. Smith was pointless for a third straight game.
The Blazers (28-12-4) now trail the B.C. Division-leading Kelowna Rockets (32-10-2) by four points. The Rockets won their eighth straight game last night, and their 17th straight at home, as they doubled the Tri-City Americans, 6-3.
The Blazers, who have lost two in a row after having won three straight, and Cougars meet again tonight in Prince George.
JUST NOTES: The Cougars took all three of the game's minor penalties. . . . The Blazers scratched F Aspen Sterzer (undisclosed injury), F Mitch Friesen and D Landon Cross. . . . The Blazers' next home game is Jan. 19 against the Victoria Royals. . . . The Portland Winterhawks ran their winning streak to 13 games last night, as they beat the visiting Spokane Chiefs, 5-2.