Wednesday, April 16, 2014

EXPRESS 2014 FRED PAGE CUP BCHL CHAMPIONS


The Express won their second Fred Page Cup championship in franchise history with a 4-3 win in game 4 of the Fred Page Cup final Tuesday night.

This is the first championship for the franchise based in Coquitlam. They were located in Burnaby when they won their first cup in 2006.

They completed a sweep of the Vernon Vipers thanks to a 4th straight come from behind victory.

Jace Hennig flipped the script for the Express in the first period scoring on a scramble when Austin Smith lost the puck between his pads and the puck found it's way in. Vernon had opened the scoring in each of the previous three games of the series. They opened up a 2-0 lead in each of the first three games of the series. Vernon had a 3-0 lead in game one.

Knowing the cup was in the house, Coquitlam showed no signs of nerves knowing what could be theirs if they came away victorious. They had a number of quality chances in the first period including a breakaway for Corey Mackin, Ryan Rosenthal with a chance off the wing, Cody Boyd from the slot and Canon Pieper in the final 20 seconds. There was no doubt the team was ready to play right from the get go.

Vernon matched the Express energy then started to have the momentum start to swing in their direction. Colton Sparrow 42 seconds into the second period evened the score at one finishing off a set up from Brett Mulcahy.

Canon Pieper restored the Express lead at 7:15 when his shot from the left circle beat Smith on the short side.

Vernon's top line of Mulcahy, Colton Sparrow and Brendan Persley put the team on their back and carried them as the Vipers fought hard to make sure the Express weren't celebrating at the end of the night. Brendan Persley pulled Vernon even again when he snapped a shot past the glove of Gordie Defiel just past the midway mark of the second period.

Persley struck again in the final minute of the second period to give Vernon their lone lead of the night when he scored on a feed from behind the net by Sparrow. The trio of Persley, Mulcahy and Sparrow combined for 7 points in the second period with 3 goals and 4 assists. Persley and Sparrow each registered 3 points in the frame.

The stage was set at the start of the third period for another Express comeback. Their final period has been the best in the 2014 playoffs. Things were no different Tuesday.

Bo Pieper pulled the Express even 1:43 with a quick shot beat Smith up high.

With 6:18 remaining Marc Biega was assessed a hooking penalty giving Vernon what appeared to be a key power play with their BCHL Championship hopes hanging in the balance.

But that penalty also gave the BCHL's most dangerous team shorthanded an opportunity as well.

On this night it was Adam Rockwood delivering the goods for the Express. He took advantage of a Vernon turnover and walked in on a breakaway and scored a goal he will remember for the rest of his life as his deke saw the puck eventually bounce past Smith for what would turn out to be the Fred Page Cup winning goal. Rockwood who is a pass first player which is reflected in his goals to assists ratio had just one goal in the playoffs entering the final. The Coquitlam native had three big ones in the series scoring the tying and overtime winning goal in game 2, and the Fred Page Cup winner.

It's fitting that the cup winner would come for this team while a man down. Combining the regular season (19) and playoffs (6) the Express scored 25 shorthanded goals.

The Express finished the series outscoring Vernon 10-1 in the third period. And all 10 goals came unanswered.

Captain Ryan Rosenthal had a chance to ice it with less three minutes left but was denied on a breakaway.

Then in the dying seconds Vernon had one last close call. Colton Sparrow found himself wide open alone in front of the net where he was robbed by Gordie Defiel, then in one last desperate attempt to tie the game the puck was gloved into the net. Credit to the referee who was in good position to see the play and wave the goal off immediately with 0.4 seconds left on the clock. That meant one final drop of the puck outside the Express zone and a drop of the puck to officially crown the Coquitlam Express 2013-14 Fred Page cup champions.

This team had the belief inside the room led by Head Coach Barry Wolff and his players that they had a good team that gelled into a unit that eliminated Prince George, Langley, Victoria in the semi final round robin and Vernon to earn the title of champions.

The Express now will move on to the Western Canada Cup where they will be joined by the AJHL Champion Spruce Grove Saints, the Winnipeg Blues MJHL champions, and Dauphin Kings WCC hosts to play for two spots in the RBC Cup in Vernon in May. The Yorkton Terriers will look to round out the field for the WCC tonight as they lead the Melville Millionaires 3-0 in the SJHL final.

Coquitlam will begin the WCC on Sunday April 27th when they will play Spruce Grove at 12pm Pacific time.

Click here for full WCC schedule







Monday, April 14, 2014

EXPRESS LEAD 3-0 IN CUP FINAL THANKS TO ANOTHER COMEBACK AND OT DRAMATICS



The Coquitlam Express did it again, they fell behind for the third straight game and found a way to battle back. They defeated the Vernon Vipers 3-2 in overtime and have a 3-0 strangle hold on the BCHL Championship series.

Ryan Rosenthal who has been scoring timely goals all playoffs long, may have gotten his two biggest goals thus far in the playoffs. He tied it with 1:11 to go and was the overtime hero at 12:16.

As has been the story all series long the Express dug themselves into an early hole. Vernon came out strong for a third straight game in the series. They had a 6-1 advantage in shots when Dylan Chanter at the side of the Express net scored to open the scoring for Vernon for a third straight game in this series.

Vernon kept up the pressure looking to build on their lead but were turned aside by Defiel who only let Vernon get one in the opening 20 minutes. Defiel was peppered with 17 shots in that first period.

The Vipers built on their lead on a second period power play to open the frame when Liam Coughlin scored on a feed from Michael McNicholas at 1:14. Vernon led 3-0 in the first period of game 1. And have had 2-0 leads in both games 2 and 3.

Vernon kept their foot on the gas pedal in the second period as they looked to have a full 60 minute effort and not allow the Express to get back into the game. There were times in the first half of this game where the Vipers were in complete control of the contest.

Brendan Lamont midway through the second period scored his second of the playoffs for the Express as he buried the rebound of a Zach Hodder point shot that was kicked out by Austin Smith.

Another solid 20 from Vernon saw them with a 1 goal lead and a 28-12 advantage in shots.

But in case you didn't know, you can't allow this Express team to hang around in the third period.

The final frame has been the best for the Express in the playoffs. And the third saw the game start to turn in the Express favor. They didn't have an all out push and were dominating the period. But they were getting their shots and were hoping one would go in.

Well, one did and no surprise it was Ryan Rosenthal. He came down the right wing and snapped a shot from the boards and beat Austin Smith to the far side with just 1:11 remaining. And out of the blue the game was tied at 2.

That goal all of a sudden gave the Express an incredible boost of energy. They were all over Vernon in the final minute of regulation and had a number of great chances to win it before overtime. Rosenthal rang a shot off the post. Marc Biega and Adam Rockwood also had glorious chances before regulation expired.

In the post-season the Express have now outscored their opposition 27-12. And 6-2 so far in this series.

Regulation ended, and the Express momentum carried over from the third period with them.

They came out in overtime with good shifts in the Vipers zone throwing pucks at the net. Adam Rockwood came close to winning it for a second straight game as he was set up in front of the net but the puck found a way to go out of play.

Then came Rosenthal time, he scored on a set up from Corey Mackin getting it past the glove of Austin Smith for his second of the game to give the Express the dramatic 3-2 win and 3-0 lead in the Fred Page Cup final.

Gordie Defiel turned aside 35 of 37 Vernon shots in the Express crease. And like he's done in the playoffs, he's shut the door at key times the longer the games go on.

What started as a 28-12 advantage in shots for Vernon through two periods. It was reduced to just a 37-36 advantage by the time this one was said and done.

Entering game 4 tomorrow, the big question is how does Vernon respond? They've jumped out to great starts in each of the three games in this series and have nothing to show for it. They know no matter what happens in this series they will still have some hockey left as hosts of the RBC Cup in Vernon in May. A loss of that magnitude might have a real deflating effect. But the Express can't let those thoughts creep into their heads. They still have some work to do if they want to finish the job the right way.

Game 4 is Tuesday night with the Express looking to claim their second Fred Page Cup championship in franchise history.

BO PIEPER BCHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Coquitlam Express forward Bo Pieper has been named the BCHL Player of the Week for the week ending April 13, the league announced Monday.

Pieper exploded for four huge goals, including the game-winner, in Game 1 of the Fred Page Cup Finals. Pieper's offence helped the Express rally from a three-goal deficit to win the game 6-4.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound native of Roseville, Minn. was named the game's 1st Star. He now has 10 goals and five assists for the Express in 17 playoff games.

Honourable mentions this week:

Coquitlam Express F Adam Rockwood: 2G, 1A, OT GWG, 1st Star

Coquitlam Express D Zach Hodder: 3A, 2nd Star

Vernon Vipers F Dexter Dancs: 2G, 1A, 2nd Star
Saturday, April 12, 2014

EXPRESS UP 2-0 IN FRED PAGE CUP FINAL


The Coquitlam Express are coming home up 2-0 in the Fred Page Cup final after taking game two 4-3 in overtime.

The visitors for a second straight night got off to a slow start in the first period. Dexter Dancs and Brendan Persley scored 1:40 apart before the game was 7 minutes old to pace Vernon to a 2-0 lead.

But for a second straight night the Express didn't let the quick start by the opposition phase them.

46 seconds after the Persley goal the Express got on the board with a power play tally by Canon Pieper.

Dancs re-stored Vernon's two goal lead 8 minutes into the second period with his second of the night.

The deeper this Express team travels in the 2014 post-season, we're learning a lot about the heart of this years group of Express. Corey Mackin scored his third goal of the Fred Page cup final 46 seconds into the third period to pull the Express within one.

Then Adam Rockwood scored beating Adam Smith up high with 7:39 remaining to even things up. In addition to his goal in the offensive zone, Rockwood was also a key factor for the Express with some solid plays in his own end of the rink.

In the first two games of this series the Express have showed championship heart battling back from a 3-0 deficit in game 1. They followed it up in game two battling back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits. It's not really a recipe for long term success, and i'm sure the players and coaches would like to reverse this trend, but it's encouraging to see the way they find a way to respond.

Gordie Defiel had another top notch performance for the Express between the pipes. Especially in the third period as he turned aside 22 Vernon shots to keep his team in a position to complete the comeback. Saves off Liam Coughlin, Michael McNicholas in the final minute of the third period, and another one with one second remaining in the third period sent this game to overtime.

It didn't take long for this one to be decided just over two minutes in Adam Rockwood scored off the rush for his second of the night to give the Express the 4-3 win and the 2-0 series lead.

The Express come home with a firm grasp  of the Fred Page cup final where the Express have 6-1 home ice record.

Game 3 is Monday night, with game 4 Tuesday in Coquitlam.

Monday's game will see the return to the lineup of forward Joey Santucci after serving a two game suspension. The Express have now won their last 4 games, all with either Cody Boyd or Santucci serving a suspension. 
Friday, April 11, 2014

BO & EXPRESS EXPLODE IN FINAL 40 TAKE GAME 1 OF CUP FINAL

It took 20 minutes for the Express to get rolling, but when they did they were tough handle, especially Bo Pieper who set an Express playoff franchise record scoring four times in a 6-4 win in game 1 of the Fred Page Cup final vs. the Vernon Vipers. The Express lead the championship series 1-0.

Probably some nerves of playing on the BCHL's biggest stage played a factor in the start for the Express. Vernon stormed out to a first period lead on goals by Brendan Persley, Brett Mulcahy and Deminco Hannoun. The first two strikes coming in the first 3:05 of the first period.

The visitors settled down and the tide definitely turned in the second period in the Express favor, and Bo Pieper began to take over. He scored his first two goals of the night at even strength and on the power play to pull the Express within one. Then late in the frame Corey Mackin on a shorthanded breakaway scored to tie the game at three with 1:03 left in the period. The Express now have 5 shorthanded goals in the playoffs. And 24 if you including the 19 they tallied in the regular season.

Vernon did restore their lead 3 minutes into the third when Mason Blacklock scored on a breakaway of his own.

Then came a key turning point, Gordie Defiel made a key stop, one of his 31 saves on the night as he came across to his left and stacking the pads to keep his team down just a goal. Moments later Bo Pieper capped off his hat-trick to even the game at 4.

Bo then set an Express playoff franchise record by scoring his 4th of the night to put the Express up for the first time Friday night. Corey Mackin then completed the Express run of 3 goals in a span of 5:02 in the third period with his second of the night. Zach Hodder finished with 3 assists from the backend.

Brendan Persley and Demico Hannoun each had a goal and an assist for Vernon. Austin Smith was tagged for 6 goals on 35 shots.

Game 2 goes Saturday night in Vernon. 
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

FRED PAGE CUP FINAL PREVIEW AUDIO

Coach Wolff and the boys come together as one before heading up to Vernon.

Wednesday the Express had their last practice in Coquitlam before heading off to Vernon for the start of the Fred Page Cup final vs. the Vipers. I spoke with a few members of the Express to get their thoughts on the playoffs to date. And to look ahead to the final.






One final practice in Coquitlam before heading up to Vernon.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014

EXPRESS AND VIPERS BY THE NUMBERS


OVERALL RECORDS
EXPRESS - 27-26-2-3, 3rd in Mainland division
Playoff record - 10-5
Defeated Prince George 4-2 in 1st round
Defeated Langley 4-2 in 2nd round
Went 2-1 in round robin in BCHL semi final
VIPERS – 30-18-4-6, 3rd in Interior division
Playoff record - 10-5
Defeated West Kelowna 4-2 in 1st round
Defeated Penticton 4-3 in 2nd round.
Went 2-0 in round robin BCHL semi final
HEAD TO HEAD REGULAR SEASON
December 8 at Coquitlam – 4-2 Express
January 11 at Vernon – 3-1 Vipers
2014 PLAYOFFS
EXPRESS
Round 1 Mainland division semi finals vs. Prince George – Express win best of 7, 4-2
Gm. 1 Mar. 4 @ PG – 3-2 L
Gm. 2 Mar. 5 @ PG – 3-2 W
Gm. 3 Mar. 7 @ CQ – 2-0 W
Gm. 4 Mar 8 @ CQ – 6-3 W
Gm. 5 Mar. 10 @ PG – 3-2 2OTL
Gm. 6 Mar. 11 @ CQ – 2-1 W


Round 2 Mainland division final vs. Langley – Express win best of 7 4-2.
Gm. 1 Mar. 14 @ LA – 4-2 W
Gm. 2 Mar. 15 @ LA – 2-1 W
Gm. 4 Mar. 17 @ CQ – 5-0 L
Gm. 4 Mar. 18 @ CQ – 5-3 W
Gm. 5 Mar. 20 @ LA – 5-2 L
Gm. 5 Mar. 21 @ CQ – 5-3 W


Round 3 BCHL Semi finals vs. Victoria and Vernon. Express advance to Fred Page Cup final with 2-1 round robin record.
Gm. 1 Mar. 30 @ VER – 6-1 L
Gm. 2 Apr. 1 vs. VIC – 6-3 W
Gm. 3 – Apr. 3 @ VIC – 4-3 3OTW
VIPERS
Round 1 Interior division semi final vs. West Kelowna – Vipers win best of 7, 4-2
Gm. 1 Mar. 4 @ WK – 5-1 L
Gm. 2 Mar. 5 @ WK – 4-1 W
Gm. 3 Mar. 7 @ VER – 6-4 W
Gm. 4 Mar. 8 @ VER – 4-1 W
Gm. 5 Mar. 10 @ WK – 4-1 L
Gm. 6 Mar. 11 @ VER – 5-0 W


Round 2 Interior division final vs. Penticton – Vipers win best of 7, 4-3
Gm. 1 Mar. 14 @ PEN – 4-3 W
Gm. 2 Mar. 15 @ PEN – 5-3 L
Gm. 3 Mar. 17 @ VER – 4-3 L
Gm. 4 Mar. 18 @ VER – 5-2 W
Gm. 5 Mar. 20 @ PEN – 3-2 W
Gm. 6 Mar. 21 @ VER – 2-0 L
Gm. 7 Mar. 22 @ PEN – 4-3OT W


Round 3 BCHL Semi final vs. Victoria and Coquitlam. Vipers advance to Fred Page Cup final with 2-0 record.
Gm. 1 Mar. 28 @ VIC 5-4 W
Gm. 2 Mar. 30 vs. CQ 6-1 W
PLAYOFFS SPECIAL TEAMS
EXPRESS PP – 5/54 – 9.26% - 11th
VIPERS PK – 48/62 – 77.42% - 9th *1SHG for.
VIPERS PP – 9/43 – 20.93% - 5th
EXPRESS PK – 53/62 – 85.48% - 2nd *4 SHG's for.
TOP SCORERS PLAYOFFS
EXPRESS
Ryan Rosenthal – 12G, 5A, 17PTS
Adam Rockwood – 1G, 13A, 14PTS
Bo Pieper – 6G, 5A, 11PTS
Canon Pieper – 5G, 6A, 11PTS
Marc Biega – 6G, 3A, 9PTS
Corey Mackin – 2G, 7A, 9PTS
VIPERS
Colton Sparrow – 7G, 11A, 18PTS
Brett Mulcahy – 13G, 3A, 16PTS
Brendan Pearsley – 7G, 8A, 15PTS
Michael McNicholas – 5G, 10A, 15PTS
Josh Bryan – 0G, 13A, 13PTS
Liam Coughlin – 6G, 5A, 11PTS
EXPRESS GOALTENDING PLAYOFFS
VIPERS GOALTENDING PLAYOFFS
Gordie Defiel – 10-5, 2.65 GAA, .922 Sv.%, 1SO
Austin Smith - 2.67 GAA, .916 Sv.%, 1SO