The Express joined the Wenatchee Wild as the only teams in the BCHL to defeat the Langley Rivermen on home ice in regulation by a score of 3-1 Saturday night. Click here for boxscore
It was the second straight road win for the Express and their third win overall in their last four games.
During this run for the Express, they've been at their best creating chances offensively, and getting out of the zone quick in their own end. They were able to do that on Saturday night. Plus the Express did a good job of blocking shots particularly in the middle part of the ice in their zone.
Josh Bruce forced a turnover at the Express blueline and walked in on a breakaway snapping a shot over the shoulder of Rivermen goaltender Braedon Fleming.
In their own end the Express showed good poise with the puck not rushing plays and getting it out of their end.
Early in the second period Eric Linell came close to adding to the Express lead beating Fleming with a wrist shot that hit the post.
12 minutes into the second period Landon Fuller got involved in a scuffle behind the Express net. The blue liner came up swinging on Ethan Leyh. Fuller was given a double minor for roughing and a game misconduct. So the Express had to play the rest of the game without their most physically imposing defenseman.
Dominic Davis dressed for a second game for the Express as an AP. He didn't look out of place throughout the night. He was even rewarded with some time on the penalty kill on Fuller's double minor.
Langley did pull even on that power play when Colin Bernard hammered a one timer from the point over the shoulder of Brock Hamm.
In the third Langley did start to ramp up their pressure looking for their first lead. But the Express stood tall against the Rivermen attack. And they had a sharp Brock Hamm behind them backing the team up.
His best save came early in the third off a re-direct by Ethan Leyh. Hamm also got some help when Trevor St. Jean hit the post midway through the period. He finished with 32 saves earning first star honors and is now 2-0-1 in his last 3 games.
With no Fuller to finish the game, the rest of the blue liners were tasked with additional minutes. They rose to the occasion. Doug Scott had a strong night on the backend. If he got paid, he would have earned his money. He had a number of shot blocks that clearly stung the Express blue liner who gritted it out.
The tie was broken by the Express who rushed into the Langley zone. Linell fed it across to Josh Wildauer, his shot went wide, but he stayed in pursuit the puck and set up captain Alex Ambrosio who snapped home the pass from the slot.
Langley's last gasp came moments later. Josh Bruce was called for a check to the head penalty less than a minute after Ambrosio's goal. With the game on the line, the Express shut down the struggling Rivermen power play. Langley finished 1 for 4 on the power play. The Express were 0 for 2.
Colby Pederson battled hard all night long for the Express. He was battling for pucks, blocking shots and just played with a high compete level. He was rewarded for his play breaking away from his own blueline and rushing the puck up the ice and scoring into the empty net to seal the win.
It was the third win for the Express this season vs. Langley. Their first win on the road in the season series.
The Express have two games next weekend at home before their Christmas break Friday and Saturday vs. Prince George and Powell River.
Chilliwack scored four unanswered goals en route to a 4-2 win over the Express Friday night in Coquitlam. Click here for boxscore
In the process the Express had their two game winning streak come to an end.
It was second meeting in a week between the two teams. The Chiefs were victorious by a 2-1 score in Chilliwack last Friday.
Both teams came out skating in the first period. But neither team was able to generate many shots.
Josh Wildauer opened the scoring for the Express moments after a early 2nd period power play expired.
Troy Robillard fired a wrist shot from the right point that was deflected by Wildauer in the slot for his 5th of the season at 5:42.
52 seconds later the Chiefs pulled even. Ryan Miotto snapped a shot from the slot under the arm of Clay Stevenson to even the score at one.
That goal tilted the game in Chilliwack's favour. They did a decent job working the puck along the boards in the Express zone and trying to control the play.
Christian Sanda - Photo courtesy of Damon James
Chilliwack captain Will Calverley returned to the Chiefs lineup after missing the previous three games with an injury. He gave the Chiefs the lead on the power play swiping home a loose puck that bounced his way off a Marcus Tesink point shot.
Regan Kimens scored Chilliwack's third goal of the period late in the frame firing a shot past the glove of Clay Stevenson after the Express failed to get the puck out of their zone for a 3-1 Chiefs lead after 2 periods.
Midway through the third period Ryan Miotto essentially sealed the win for Chilliwack by putting the puck into an empty net after Clay Stevenson coughed up the puck to Will Caverley who set up Miotto who scored his second of the night.
Doug Scott rounded out the scoring for the Express jamming home a loose puck in the crease in the final minute after a good play by Johnathan Sheardown on a wrap around. AP Dominic Davis who dressed in his 4th game with the Express picked up his first BCHL point with an assist on the play.
The Express outshot Chilliwack 28-24. But unlike last Friday in Chilliwack,
the Express weren't able to generate as many quality chances on this night.
The power play finished 0 for 6 for the Express. Most of the night with the man advantage they had trouble setting up in the offensive zone. That was due in part to Chilliwack penalty killing pressure all over the ice. On the other side the Chiefs were 1 for 4 on the man advantage.
Saturday night the Express will visit the Langley Rivermen.
Eric Linell took the first step to repeat as BCHL player of the week scoring the overtime winner as the Express defeated the BCHL's top team the Vernon Vipers 3-2 in overtime. Click here for boxscore
The win was the first road win for the Express in their 17th away game, and they posted consecutive victories for the first time this season. They're now 2-1-1 under Head Coach Jason Fortier.
The visitors looked a little sloppy in the opening minutes of the game. Then they settled into the game starting to generate their own chances.
Sam Kozlowski opened the scoring for the firing a wrist shot that deflected off the stick of a Vipers defenseman and past Anthony Yamnitski. That goal would be the first of a constant theme of the night of some slightly unconventional goals for both teams.
Injuries to the Express have seen them dress a few AP's in recent games. Nick Amsler dressed for his second straight game. Brayden Szabados meanwhile made his BCHL debut. They mostly played on a line with Jonathan Sheardown. When they were out there they gave the Express some valuable minutes.
Kozlowski struck again for the Express late in the second period. Again he caught a break. After taking a pass from John Sheardown, Kozlowski's shot from the slot bounced in off the stick of Vipers goaltender Yamnitski.
The lead for the Express held into the third period where things really got wild.
For the first 13 minutes of the period the Express were doing everything right to protect their lead. Then at 12:50 Vernon's Keyvan Mokhtari was called for cross checking. It was a great opportunity for the Express to put the game away.
Off the ensuing offensive zone draw the puck split the Express defense. That allowed Jesse Lansdell to pounce on the puck for a breakaway. He was given a slight hook then was awarded a penalty shot.
On the penalty shot Lansdell slid a backhand through the pads of Brock Hamm to get Vernon on the board with 7 minutes to go.
At the time the Express still had 1:50 of power play time remaining to at least re-store their two goal lead.
The Lansdell goal rattled the Express who never really set up on the power play. Then the puck was fired into the Express zone and Hamm was forced to race out of his net to clear the puck away from the oncoming Lansdell. The Vernon forward knocked down the clearing attempt and scored his second shorthanded goal of the night 1:20 after his penalty shot goal to tie the game at 2.
That goal capped off a period for Lansdell that saw him get shaken up earlier in the period on a pair of shot blocks.
At this time for an Express team that is still learning how to close out wins, let alone do it on the road against the league's top team this was their test.
In the final minute of the third period Josh Bruce was called for a check to the head penalty and was essentially done for the night with the minor penalty plus the automatic 10 minute misconduct.
The Express survived the final 15 seconds of regulation shorthanded. And the overtime intermission was a great time for the team to reset after blowing a two goal lead in dramatic fashion.
With 1:45 of power play time to open overtime at 4 on 3, the Vipers had no reason to rush to set up the perfect play to get the winner.
Vernon's patience may have actually played into the hands of the Express. Vernon worked the puck around, looking for the perfect chance and eventually the Express killed off the penalty.
Throughout the night Eric Linell just seemed to have the puck find his stick to create chances. They weren't going in for him in regulation. The puck found Linell's stick again in overtime. This time the BCHL's player of the week got a bounce only red hot players get as his shot went off the stick of a Vipers defenseman and past Yamnitsky giving the Express the 3-2 OT win.
For Linell it was his 7th goal in his last 5 games.
Brock Hamm turned aside 30 of the 32 shots sent his way to post his second consecutive win in the Express crease.
The Express return to action on Friday when they host the Chilliwack Chiefs. Then they will travel to Langley on Saturday night.
After five consecutive goals in three games, Express forward Eric Linell was named the BCHL's player of the week. His linemate Alex Ambrosio was named an honorable mention after potting 1 goal and 5 assists.
See the full press release from the BCHL below:
Coquitlam Express forward Eric Linell has been named the BCHL Player of the Week for the week ending Dec. 3, the league announced Monday.
Linell scored five time as the Express earned a win and a tie in three outings. The native of Great Neck, N.Y. opened the week with a two-goal outing in a 3-3 draw against the Langley Rivermen where he was 1st Star. He scored again the Express’ only goal the next game against Chilliwack and finished his week with another two-tally performance and a 2nd Star nod in a 6-2 triumph over the visiting Victoria Grizzlies.
With 15 goals and 25 points now on the season, Linell leads the club in both categories.
Honourable Mentions this week:
Nanaimo Clippers F Jake Harris: 3G, 4A, 1st Star, 2nd Star
Coquitlam Express F Alex Ambrosio: 1G, 5A, 1st Star, 3rd Star
Penticton Vees G Adam Scheel: 2W, SO, 55 saves/56 shots, .982 sv%, 0.50 GAA, 1st Star
Merritt Centennials F Zach Zorn: 3G, 1A, GWG, 1st Star, 2nd Star
Surrey Eagles F John Wesley: 3G, 2A, 1st Star, 2nd Star
Chilliwack Chiefs F PJ Marrocco: 2G, 1A, two 1st Stars