Sunday, November 29, 2015


The Chilliwack Chiefs struck four times in the first period with three coming late in the opening twenty minutes en route to a 6-3 win over the Express Saturday night. Click here for boxscore

The Express had a good start playing with plenty of energy and looking ready to battle. But it was Chilliwack who struck first with Jordan Kawaguchi opening the scoring midway through the first period.

That goal didn't deter the Express who showed signs of trying to pull even. Jackson Cressey had the best chance for the Express getting his stick lifted just as he was about to tap in a centering pass from Colton Kerfoot from behind the net.

Then in a quick blink of an eye the game turned in Chilliwack's favour. Luke Adam scored on a slap shot that was tipped in the high slot for a 2-0 Chiefs lead. That was quickly followed by goals from Kale Kane and Vimal Sukumaran and it was 4-0 Chilliwack after the first period. Chilliwack scored three times in a 2:27 span to end the first period and they outshot the Express 19-8 in the period.

It was more of the same for Chilliwack in the second period. But they couldn't get another puck past Tyger Howat. The Express goaltender faced 54 shots Saturday. But he didn't have much luck on any of the four goals that got past him in the first period.

The game was delayed midway through the second period when a Austin McIlMurray hit in the corner popped out a pane of glass.

The delay allowed the Express to settle things down a little and get a boost when play resumed.

Moments after the resumption of play Alex Ambrosio got the Express on the board finding a loose puck in the crease and sliding it past Aiden Pelino.

Late in the second period the lead was cut to 4-2 on a power play goal by Jackson Cressey with a quick shot from the slot. Cressey has four goals in his last two games.

The Express weren't able to muster up much in the third period looking to complete the comeback.

Jesse Lansdell put the Chiefs back up by three snapping home the rebound of a Kale Kane shot with less than three minutes remaining in the third period.

Owen Stout capped off the scoring for the Express wiring a wrist shot top shelf over the glove of Pelino with 1:39 remaining. The Express finished with 24 shots.

Lansdell then added his second of the game in the final minute of the third period into an empty net.

Next week will be a busy one for the Express with four games in five nights with lots of travel in between. It starts Wednesday night at home vs. Vernon. Then the Express are in Prince George Thursday then returning to Chilliwack Friday. A day off Saturday then the Express host Alberni Valley Sunday afternoon. 

Friday, November 27, 2015


Photo courtesy of Damon James.

Jackson Cressey scored his first BCHL hat-trick and the Express scored four unanswered goals in the third period to rally for a 6-3 win over the Prince George Spruce Kings. Click here for boxscore

Fresh off being invited to the selection camp for Team Canada West for the World Junior A challenge, the Express captain rewarded his Head Coach and Team Canada West assistant coach Barry Wolff with a solid effort.

Cressey opened the scoring for the Express in the first period by getting a half step behind the Spruce Kings defense and sliding a backhand past Liam McCloskey.

Blake Hayward - Photo courtesy of Damon James
Three minutes later the Express struck again. Noah Turanski who has spent the last two weeks on defense due to the injury to Nic Coltura scored his first of the season by letting a wrist shot fly from the left point. The other Express Team Canada West selection camp invitee Blake Hayward didn't register a point on the goal, but he was instrumental on it creating havoc for McCloskey to battle through in front of the net.

Turanski has shown steady improvement in recent weeks on the blueline. He's looking more and more comfortable in that position.

Prince George playing their third game in three nights and coming out on the wrong end of the first two games of the trip didn't allow the early deficit deter them. They slowly began to find their game in the second half of the first period.

They started to get rewarded for their play in the second period on the power play. Adam Brubacher beat Lawson Fenton with a shot up over the shoulder to get Prince George on the board.

The pace of play in the second period was so muddy it would make a pig happy. And that suited the Spruce Kings just fine.

That led to some mistakes by the Express, and one proved costly. They turned the puck over at their own blue line and Bryan Basilico in behind the Express D beat Fenton with a deke to the backhand to tie the game at two.

Jonathan Irving - Photo courtesy of Damon James
The end of the second period couldn't come fast enough for the Express to re-group for the third.

The message in the room didn't quite register with the Express to open the final period. Alex Stoley gave the Spruce Kings their lone lead of the night after a won face-off in the Express end and Stoley took the puck deep then cut in front and beat Fenton with a shot up over his glove.

That goal proved to be the wakeup call the Express needed.

Less than a minute later the game turned in the Express favour in spectacular fashion. Eric Udahl took a pass at centre ice with speed, he then cut to the middle of the ice with a toe drag and flipped a shot over McCloskey while falling to the ice to tie the game at three.

For Udahl that goal snaps a lengthy slump. It was his first goal since October 1st in Victoria and span of 16 games. It was also his first point in 15 games. But he's shown signs recently of breaking through. He was using he speed effectively tonight to help create chances.

The fans hadn't even had a chance to pick their jaws off the floor of the Udahl goal when the Express struck again. Jackson Cressey from the left boards snapped a shot for his second of the night just 19 seconds after Udahl's goal.

The third period saw three goals in a span of 1:07 with the Express getting the latter two.

Liam McCloskey battles Express traffic - Photo courtesy of Damon James
The two quick goals settled the Express down.

Cam Bertsch gave the Express their second two goal lead of the night midway through the period. The goal began deep in the defensive zone and Bertsch picking up speed and rushing all the way to the Prince George net where his first shot was denied but he buried his own rebound.

Captain Cressey then sealed the win by hitting an empty net complete his first BCHL hat-trick for a shorthanded goal in the dying moments. It was also the first shorthanded goal for the Express this season. The shorthanded goal was a long time coming for a team

that led the BCHL in shorthanded goals in each of the last two seasons with 33 in that time.

Lawson Fenton quietly had another solid night in the Express crease with 36 saves for his second straight win and 5th overall this season.

It wasn't the prettiest game for the Express. But when it mattered most they corrected their game and found a way to get the two points. They will need to build on it when they travel to Chilliwack Saturday night. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Express forwards Captain Jackson Cressey and Blake Hayward have been invited to selection camp for Team Canada West for the upcoming World Junior A Challenge.

Selection camp will take place from December 5-8 in Leduc, Alberta. A total of 60 players have been invited and they will play four intrasquad games.

Click here for full selection camp roster

Click here for BCHL release

Jackson Cressey is in his third full season in the BCHL. Prior to the 2015-16 season he was named the Express captain. He's had a breakout season thus far with 11 goals and 27 points through 20 games this season. In 138 career BCHL games the West Vancouver native has 31 goals and 81 points.

Earlier this season Cressey accepted a scholarship to Princeton University for the fall of 2016. Cressey was a member of the Express 2014 Fred Page Cup championship team.

Blake Hayward is in his first full season in the BCHL. He has 2 goals and 5 points in 24 games this season. One of his goals this season is a game winning goal. In 29 career games with the Express Hayward has 5 career points.

This years World Junior A challenge will take place from December 13-18 in Cobourg and Whitby Ontario.

Express Head Coach and GM Barry Wolff will serve as an assistant coach for Team Canada West. This will be his second stint coaching at the World Junior A challenge. He also served as an assistant at the 2010 event in Penticton.

The last time the Express were represented at the World Juinor A Challenge was 2012 when Alexander Kerfoot, Zach Pryzbek and Brandon Morley dressed for Team Canada West.

Congratulations Jackson and Blake. And best of luck in Leduc.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Penticton had their 23 game winning streak come to an end last night in Langley Friday. Saturday, the Vees took their frustrations out on the Express like a nest of angry bees. 

The 38 minutes between the opening minute of the game and the final minute of the second period Penticton put on quite a display en route to a 8-2 win over the Express. Click here for boxscore

Friday night vs. Wenatchee Austin McIlMurray opened the scoring for the Express 1:03 into the first period. Saturday he pretty much matched that by opening the scoring at 1:04 of the first period.

Then the Vees began to take control of the game.  Their speed and skill was on display in full force. 

Penticton would go on to score the next 8 goals in the game. 

Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro who are expected to be first round picks in this coming NHL draft looked every bit the reason why they get the attention they do.

Fabbro showed a great release and the ability to jump into the play on his two first period goals. Jost showed his great hands in tight for his lone goal of the night tucking the puck past Tyger Howat. He was dangerous almost every single shift he was on the ice for the Vees and far away the best player on the ice. Jost finished with 5 points with one goal and four assists. 

In addiiton to the two goals from Fabbro and the single from Brodzinski, Demico Hannoun also scored in the first period with a nice toe drag then unleashing a wrist shot while falling to the ice. 

At one point in the first period the Express had a 5-2 advantage in shots. By the end of the first period the shots were 19-8 Penticton who took a 5-1 lead to the second period. 

As good as the Vees looked in the first, Penticton looked even better in the second period. Scott Conway and Chris Gerrie scored 33 seconds apart to make it 7-1 Vees. That meant the end of the night for Tyger Howat after allowing 7 goals on 24 shots. 

Lawson Fenton came in to finish the game. He allowed the 8th Vees goal on the 2nd of the night for Easton Brodzinski.

But if you're looking for any positives for the Express in this game it's how Fenton shut the door the rest of the way. Fenton finished with 19 saves on 20 Vees shots. 

At the other end Anthony Brodeur knew what his father Martin went through during his heyday with the Devils seeing very little rubber. The Express didn't register their first shot of the second period until the 10:27 mark off the stick of Charlie Barrow. 

I had tracked the shots on goal from the 3:30 mark of the first period to the 19 minute mark of the second period and I had the Vees with 35-4 run of shots. 

Taylor Green rounded out the scoring burying his own rebound for a power play goal and his first of the season in the final minute of the second period. 

Sure this game didn't go the Express way, but there's still plenty of good things for the Express going forward. When you look at the schedule as a whole this week, they had three tough games. And they came away with 3 out of a possible 6 points. And they were one shot away from getting 4 points this week. 

That's the positive to take out of this week. They can only build on it going forward starting next Friday vs. Prince George. 

Friday, November 20, 2015


Blake Hayward celebrates his 1st period goal - Photo courtesy of Damon James
On the first game of parents weekend for the Express, the players put on a good show for the moms and dads in attendance taking care of Wenatchee 4-1 in Coquitlam. Click here for boxscore

Lawson Fenton making his first start in two weeks had one of his best outings of the season turning aside 37 of 38 Wild shots.

Coming a solid effort Wednesday night in Penticton, the Express were looking to build off that outing despite the 1-0 2OT setback.

Right from the start the Express showed they were ready to play.

The top line of Jackson Cressey, Colton Kerfoot and Austin McIlMurray were buzzing in the Wild end. It didn't take long for them to break through with McIlMurray sliding the puck under Chase Perry for a 1-0 Express lead just 1:03 into the game.

Defenceman Taylor Green - Photo courtesy of Damon James
That goal put the game in motion and both teams were skating at a fantastic pace providing great entertainment for those in attendance.

Midway through the first period the Express added to their lead.

Jake Brien pinched in from the right point and got down the wall then fired the puck at the net and Blake Hayward found a loose puck in the crease and poked it home for a 2-0 Express lead.

Friday's game may have been Brien's best in the BCHL to date. He moved the puck confidently and was very active from the backend for the Express. He was also very rock solid in his own end of the rink. He also made sure to get at least one of his trademark hits on the Wild coming down the wing and connecting on the hit at the Express blueline.

Up 2-0 late in the first period the Wild pressed looking for a goal to get within at least one after 20 minutes. Matt Baker was thwarted by Fenton as the puck came to him alone in front of the Express net.

Lawson Fenton earned 1st star honours - Photo courtesy of Damon James
Fenton came up with a number of key saves late in the first period to preserve the Express lead.

In the second period the quality of saves from Fenton only improved.

Fenton's best save of the night came off Mike Coyne with Fenton firing out his glove to rob Coyne who pounced on the rebound of a Bryan Yoon point shot.

That was followed in quick succession off a reach back save with his stick off Tyler Rockwell. Then another save off Joe Drabin who found himself alone in front on a Wild power play.

Coquitlam extended their lead in the second period on the power play with Taylor Green sliding the puck across to Kerfoot who went to his backhand then slid the puck under Chase Perry for Kerfoot's Express leading 12th goal of the season.

Wenatchee finally got a puck past Fenton early in the third period. Logan Milliken from the slot snapped a shot low past the glove for Fenton just shy of the three minute mark.

That goal really sparked a Wenatchee push. But each time they were turned back from the rock solid play from Fenton.

Owen Stout - Photo courtesy of Damon James
The Express as a team bent in the third period as Wenatchee fired 16  shots but they never broke. They were content to relieve the Wild pressure immediately by icing the puck repeatedly. But they were never hanging on for dear life in the third period. The shots finished 38-24 in favour of the Wild. But that was more of a product of the Express sitting back and protecting their lead.

The penalty killing unit was stellar for the Express. They capped off a great night by going a perfect 6 for 6 by shutting down the Wild one final time in the third period with Owen Stout in the box shortly after the Wild got on the board.

Then Jarrell Pinchuk iced the game with just under 5 minutes to go snapping a shot past Chase Perry for his 3rd goal of the season and second against Wenatchee this season.

Colton Kerfoot picked up an assist on the goal and finished with three points with 1 goal and 2 assists. He now has 32 points on the season in 24 games which surpasses his rookie season total of 31 points in 40 games.

Jackson Cressey - Photo courtesy of Damon James
In their first two games against two of the top teams in the BCHL, the Express have been able to pick up 3 out of a possible 4 points. They're now 3-0-0-1 in their last four games. They've played two of their best games of the season to date. They've shown how they can compete against the best of the BCHL when they execute a game plan and truly play as a team.

Up next the Express will get another crack at the Penticton Vees. But the Express won't have a chance to snap the Vees streak as their run of 23 straight games came to an end with a 4-2 loss in Langley Friday.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Here's the highlights of the Express 4-3 overtime win last Friday vs. Victoria.

Highlights courtesy of Jorge Parra and Underdog Productions.


For the Express heading up to Penticton if you were to list a number of items for the Express to tick off to snap the Vees 22 game winning streak they would be...

- Top notch goaltending - check
- Smart decisions with the puck - check
- Disciplined play - check
- Be ready to go for 60 minutes and possibly more - check

The Express did all those things and played their best game of the season in Penticton Wednesday but lost 1-0 in double overtime. Click here for boxscore

Wednesday's game may have been the game of the season in the BCHL this year. Tyler Howat for the Express and Anthony Brodeur for the Vees were stellar in their respective creases. 

Head Coach Barry Wolff knew entering this week that his team had three big tests with two games vs.  Penticton and one vs. Wenatchee. He pushed his troops hard at practice to be ready to go. And in their first test they rewarded their head coach with a strong game. 

The Express caught a break right from the start with Colton Poolman of the Vees being called for delay of game after he failed to leave the ice on time following the conclusion of warm up. 

That allowed the Express to settle in the game and try and put the Vees in an early hole. The Express weren't able to convert on the power play. Minutes later the Express were on the power play a second time. This time around they were a little more threatening around the Vees net but weren't able to get a puck past Brodeur. 

The Express started the game by outshooting the Vees 11-0. 

One of the Vees best chances in the first period came off the stick of Demico Hannoun who had a shorthanded breakaway and couldn't beat Howat trying to go to the backhand. (Full disclosure here) It was hard to tell from my broadcast position so far away if Howat got a piece to make a save or Hannoun missed the net. 

Scott Conway came close to opening the scoring in the first period ringing a shot off the crossbar from the left circle. Then the best chance for either team in the first period came off the stick of Tyson Jost, he had the puck at the side of a wide open Express net and I still don't know how he was unable to convert the tap in and it was scoreless after one period. 

The bounces continued to go Howat's way in the second period when Hannoun rang a shot off the post from the right wing. Owen Sillenger also ripped a shot off the red metal from the left wing. 

The Express had another solid period outshooting the Vees 13-10 and had a 27-18 advantage in shots through 40 minutes. 

The Vees really began to press in the third period looking to break the deadlock. But Howat only raised his game to match the Vees level. 

Tyson Jost had three good chances in regulation play to score. Aside from the tap in he missed, he was robbed by Howat on the power play after unleashing a one timer from the right circle only to be turned away by the black and red leather glove of Howat. Jost also had a good chance to score in the final two minutes of the third period as he used his speed to attack the Express defence and take the puck to the net. 

Blake Hayward watched for an anxious two minutes in the third period sitting on the penalty box after a solid play on the back check. Hayward came out of the box and joined Colton Kerfoot to set up a two on one. Kerfoot slid the puck across the Hayward who couldn't finish the chance as Brodeur reached back to keep the puck out. 

The Express executed their game plan to a "T" for a full 60 minutes but not a single goal was scored. So for just the second time in franchise history the Express had played 60 minutes of scoreless hockey. The only other occasion was the season opener for the Express at the first ever BCHL showcase where Brady Shaw gave the Express a 1-0 OT win over Victoria on September 12, 2013. 

But this game was historic for the Express being the first game to be scoreless going into 3 on 3 overtime after nothing was decided of 5 minutes of 4 on 4. 

After 65 minutes of scoreless hockey, it seemed like the game ended in a blink of an eye in 3 on 3. The Vees won the opening draw and Scott Conway on the opening possession attacked Jackson Cressey one on one and beat him then just trickled a shot through Howat for a heart breaking ending for the Express and extending the Vees winning streak to 23 just 16 seconds into double overtime. 

The loss for the Express was disappointing. But they showed what they can do when they're on their game. Play smart and be able to compete with the best team in the country. The Express will have another crack at the Vees Saturday night in Coquitlam. Before that they will host the Wenatchee Wild Friday.