Zach Pochiro made quite the impression on his new teammates.
The 18-year-old rookie had four points, including his first two Western Hockey League goals, as the Prince George Cougars downed the visting Kelowna Rockets 6-3 on Friday.
"He's like a little Energizer bunny out there," said teammate Brock Hirsche about Pachiro. "He's pretty quick and doesn't really stop and he's learning how to play systems really well."
Hirsche had two goals and an assist for the Cougars (4-0-1) while Colin Jacob's power-play goal moved him into a tie for the WHL scoring lead with 10 points in five games.
Caleb Belter and Troy Bourke each had a pair of assists and Daulton Siwak added a single goal to round out Prince George's offence.
The return of Chase Witala to Prince George's lineup meant shuffling up its combinations. Playing on a line together for the first time, Pochiro, Hirsche and Belter combined for nine points.
"We hadn't played with each other before so we just wanted to be simple and it paid off for us," said Hirsche. "We thought their defencemen were a little bit young and inexperienced so if we could just keep it in their corners and be on the forecheck we'd have success."
Ryan Olsen had two goals for the Rockets (2-3-1) while Colton Sissons had one.
Brett Zarowny made 27 saves for the second win of his WHL career.
Jordon Cooke started in goal for Kelowna but was pulled after allowing five goals on 14 shots. Jackson Whistle stopped 28-of-29 shots in relief.
Prince George went 1-for-4 on the power play while Kelowna went 1-for-2
The two teams meet again Saturday in Prince George at the CN Centre.
Elsewhere in the WHL, it was: Portland 2, Brandon 1; Prince Albert 5, Calgary 4 (SO); Regina 3, Red Deer 2; Swift Current 10, Saskatoon 1; Kamloops 7, Seattle 2; Prince George 6, Kelowna 3; Spokane 5, Victoria 3; Tri-City 4, Lethbridge 1 and Vancouver 6, Medicine Hat 1.
At Prince George, B.C., Olsen opened the scoring for Kelowna at 1:30 of the first period, but Pochiro and Jacobs responded to make it 2-1 Prince George less than nine minutes into the game.
Sissons tied the game with a shorthanded goal at 13:28, however the Cougars scored three more times before the first period was through.
Hirsche scored back-to-back and Siwak added another at 19:01 to make it 5-2 Prince George after 20 minutes of play.
Pochiro completed his hat trick at 9:20 of the second period.
Olsen added a late goal for Kelowna in the third period.
Winterhawks 2 Wheat Kings 1
At Brandon, Alex Schoenborn's first Western Hockey League goal was the game-winner as Portland (4-2-0) handed the Wheat Kings (4-2-0) their second straight loss.
Raiders 5 Hitmen 4 (SO)
At Calgary, Mark McNeill scored the lone goal of the shootout and Anthony Bardaro scored twice in regulation as Prince Albert (5-0-1) downed Calgary (3-0-2).
Pats 3 Rebels 2
At Regina, Chandler Stephenson scored the winning goal with only 16 seconds remaining in the third period as the Pats (3-4-0) edged Red Deer (2-4-1).
Broncos 10 Blades 1
At Saskatoon, Adam Lowry had two goals and two assists and Eetu Laurikainen stopped 46-of-47 shots as Swift Current (2-0-3) crushed the Blades (2-4-0).
Blazers 7 Thunderbirds 2
At Kamloops, B.C., Brendan Ranford scored once and assisted on four others as the Blazers (4-0-1) defeated Seattle (2-3-0).
Chiefs 5 Royals 3
At Spokane, Wash., Brenden Kichton scored twice and set up three more and Mitch Holmberg added two more goals as the Chiefs (3-1-0) downed Victoria (4-2-0).
Americans 4 Hurricanes 1
At Kennewick, Wash., Eric Comrie stopped 36 shots and Justin Feser had a goal and two assists as the Americans (3-3-0) beat Lethbridge (2-3-0).
Giants 6 Tigers 1
At Vancouver, seven Giants' players recorded a multi-point game and Tyler Fuhr stopped 20-of-21 shots as Vancouver (2-4-0) beat Medicine Hat (3-2-1).