Bourke and Fiddler Grab Records as Cougars Close Out Season
By Brady “Smoke” Stark
The Prince George Cougars ended another disappointing season on 15 March with a blowout win against the Kamloops Blazers. The 8-3 victory was received by the fans and followers of the WHL franchise with mixed feelings.
When looking at the bright side of a season that ended with the Cougars missing the playoffs by a mere 6 points, one could look at individual successes on the ice, the plays of Troy Bourke and Todd Fiddler in particular.
The 20-year-old Troy Bourke has spent his entire WHL career with the Cougars. Bourke was named the team’s captain, taking over for fan-favourite defenceman Dan Gibb. His leadership on and off the ice was a wonder for the fans to watch as he played his hardest every time he stepped onto the ice.
Last Saturday, Troy Bourke stepped onto the ice one point behind Eric Hunter for the alltime points in franchise history with 233, but that record was about to fall. In the first period, Troy Bourke’s name was the first ink on the score sheet as he sent home his 29th goal of the season. What seemed like mere moments after that, Bourke fed the 2012, 7th overall draft pick Brad Morrison a beauty pass to send him flying towards the Blazers’ goaltender Bolton Pouliot. Pouliot was no match for Morrison as he buried the puck in the back of the net to make it a 2-1 game. The assist gave Bourke the outright points record for the Prince George Cougars. Bourke would set up two more goals from the stick of Fiddler to cap a night he will never forget. The other bright spot of the last game of the season came from one of the newest members of the Cougars, 20 year old Todd Fiddler. Being sent to Prince George from the Moose Jaw Warriors in late October, Todd Fiddler had only two goals in his first 14 games; all that changed when he donned the red, black, and white Cougars colours.
In the next 51 games that Fiddler played, he amassed an astounding 44 more goals. His total was 46 goals with only one game remaining. Obviously, with a score like 8-3, the goals have got to come from somewhere. Fiddler, only needing 4 more goals to reach the 50 goal plateau, went to work. With a fresh sheet of ice for the second period, Fiddler started to make his mark on the record books. Like a bullet shot from a colt-45, Fiddler raced past the defence of the Kamloops Blazers and easily put the puck past an overmatched netminder. His second goal of the game came in the later stages of the second period as the Cougars were up 3-2. Blasting a shot from the point, the crowd could sense something special was happening. To open the third period, the two teams traded goals before Fiddler and the Cougars blew the doors wide open. Fiddler’s 49th goal of the season came short-handed midway through the third period as he made the Blazers’ defence once again look like pylons and put the puck on the top shelf. As the time wound down, the crowd grew anxious as they all waited to see if number 50 was coming. With the game all but decided, the moment arrived. Troy Bourke brought the puck into the offensive zone, he got the puck on net with a solid shot but it was saved by Pouliot. Before he could cover it for the whistle, there was a mad scramble in front of the net; players were hacking and whacking away at the loose puck, then it landed on Fiddlers stick; number 50 went into the back of the net.
The crowd erupted and the team went wild, Fiddler became only the second Cougar to record 50 goals in a season, and it’s only fitting that the assist goes to one of the greatest players to don a Cougar’s jersey; Troy Bourke.