VANCOUVER - Lance Bouma scored three goals as the Vancouver Giants defeated the Prince George Cougars 7-4 in WHL action Wednesday night.
Bouma's second and third goals of the game - just 10 seconds apart early in the third period - broke a 3-3 tie as the defending Memorial Cup-champion Giants (14-4-1-2) posted their second straight victory.
It was the first career WHL hat trick for Bouma, an undrafted native of Provost, Alta., native. The 17-year-old scored only three goals in 2006-07 but now has six already this season.
The Cougars (9-11-0-0) had kept the game surprisingly close despite being shot 34-13 after two periods, thanks to goaltender Tommy Tartaglione, a former Giant who shone against his ex-teammates.
Michal Repik, Brent Regner, and Mike Piluso also scored for the Giants, who went three-for-eight on the power play and outshot Prince George 46-25 on the night. James Wright added three assists for Vancouver.
Plugger Chris Vanduynhoven led the Cougars with two rare breakaway goals. Ty Wishart and Greg Gardner added singles as Prince George went one-for-six on the power play.
Bouma gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead on a power play 3:39 into the game. Standing alone in the slot, Bouma one-timed Repik's pass from the corner.
But Wishart tied the score at 1-1 less than two minutes later while the Cougars were on a power play of their own.
Prince George goaltender Tommy Tartaglione was shaken up when he took a hard Repik slap shot in the mid-section with 3:23 left in the opening frame. After dropping to his knees and freezing the puck, Tartaglione threw off his blocker and flopped backwards in obvious pain.
The goaltender lay on the ice for several minutes while a trainer attended to him, but stayed in the game. Less than a minute after play resumed, Repik beat him with a backhand during another Vancouver power play.
The man-advantage situation arose after Prince George's Dana Tyrell was penalized for checking Repik from behind on a play during which Repik was slow to rise.
Vancouver outshot Prince George 16-5 in the first period.
Vanduynhoven tied the score 2-2 on a slow breakaway at just 1:13 of the second period. Giants goaltender Tyson Sexsmith stopped the puck but lost track of it while falling towards his net and the disk trickled across the goal line as he stood up.
Regner put the Giants ahead 3-2 exactly four minutes later. The power play goal came while Prince George Patrik Magnusson was serving a double minor for roughing.
But with Magnusson still in the penalty box, Gardner scored a shorthanded goal at 6:53 to make it 3-3, and that score stood through 40 minutes.
Bouma netted the winner at 1:01 of the third period. He completed his hat-trick at 1:11 as the Giants stormed towards the Cougar goal following the face-off at centre ice.