At 26-8-2 prior to the break in the regular season schedule before Christmas, the Cougars have been consistently ranked among the top ten teams in the entire CHL this season.
The veteran-laden crew probably underachieved last year, when injuries and discipline got the better of them as much as their opponents. A four-game sweep at the hands of the Seattle Thunderbirds in the first round of the WHL playoffs was most certainly a bitter pill to swallow. In part, the early exit likely cost head coach Mark Holick his job.
On the other hand, the loss has probably served to motivate the returnees. Among the group of dangerous, offensively skilled forwards in Jesse Gabrielle (BOS), acquired prior to last season in a deal with the Regina Pats. All he did was produce 40 goals and 75 points while appearing in all 72 regular season games.
|Jesse Gabrielle at 2015 NHL Draft|
So far this season, Gabrielle has scored 19 goals and 13 assists in 28 games. The gritty prairie boy is a key top six forward, the type of player opponents despise.
Certainly the Boston Bruins of the NHL have taken notice.
Selected in the fourth round, 103rd overall by the Bruins at the 2015 NHL Draft, Gabrielle inked an entry level contract on Dec. 11.