Sunday, September 28, 2014

LAST MINUTE HEROICS LEADS TO EXPRESS FIRST WIN


Colton Kerfoot's goal in the final minute of the third period broke a 2-2 deadlock to give the Express their first win of the season 3-2 over the Prince George Spruce Kings. The result also handed Prince George their first loss of the season. Click here for box score


It was a tight contest for the full 60 minutes. Coquitlam has shown some good signs of improvement in each of their last two games from their first two outings of the season.


There was plenty of energy for the Express to start of the contest peppering Prince George goaltender Alex Brooks-Potts with 7 shots through the first 5 minutes of the game.


The visitors opened the scoring late in the first period as Braiden Epp got a half step in behind the Express defence in the neutral zone picking up a pass and walking in alone on the breakaway and beating Express starter Brayden Krogfross with a shot over the glove.


Rookie Owen Stout pulled things even for the Express midway through the second period as he banged home his own rebound of a Nic Coltura pass for a powerplay goal and his first BCHL goal.


One of the biggest difference's from Friday's contest to Saturday's was the Express ability to shut down the Spruce Kings top line of Justin Rai, Jeremiah Luedtke and Chad Staley. Friday they combined for 7 points with Rai scoring three times. The Express started the game for the most part matching up their top line of Brett Supinski, Joey Santucci and Corey Mackin head to head. But that changed in the second period with the line of Cody Boyd, Colton Kerfoot and Brendan Lamont taking over that assignment for the second half of the game. That matchup would pay dividends in deciding the outcome Saturday.


Corey Mackin has had an electric start to his second season in the BCHL showing some great skill throughout the first four games of the season. It was on display Friday as he attempted a spin move for a backhand off the right wing side but was denied. His fortunes turned Saturday as he scored on the same move to give the Express a 2-1 lead with 1:32 remaining in the second period.


Penalty killing had been a key cog in the Express slow start to the season with the opposition striking eight times with the man advantage in the previous two games. Saturday was a much different story as the Express killed off all five Prince George advantages including a key penalty to Daniel Fritz to open up the third period.


Jake Lebrun pulled the visitors even as his wrist shot found it's way through the legs of Krogfross just past the 9 minute mark.


Wanting to get that first win meant the Express had to play it smart the rest of the way.


The line of Kerfoot, Lamont and Boyd got the key assignment in the final minute of the third period to match up against the top line for the Spruce Kings to at least preserve the tie and force overtime. But they did one better as Cody Boyd dished the puck off to Kerfoot who made a nice to drag into the middle and snapped his second of the season past Brooks-Potts with 20 seconds remaining in the third period to give the Express their first win of the season. Defenceman Nic Coltura drew the second assist as he finished the night with a pair of helpers.


Brayden Krogfross turned aside 29 shots to earn the victory in the Express crease.



It's a quick turn around for the Express who are back in action for a rare Tuesday night home game vs. the West Kelowna Warriors for the second time in 10 days.  

Friday, September 26, 2014

SPRUCE KINGS SPOIL HOME OPENER

Justin Rai and the Prince George Spruce Kings spoiled the Express home opener with a 5-3 win Friday night.

This contest had some similarities to the Express previous outing Saturday vs. Trail with the opposition getting a big night from a top player and a pretty hot power play. Justin Rai scored three times as did the Prince George power play.

Friday's contest set it self up to be a night to remember as the Express championship banners from last season along with the Express new uniforms were unveiled for the first time.

Coquitlam got their attack rolling two minutes in as Joey Santucci scored his first of the season snapping home a quick pass through the seam by Corey Mackin for the first of three power play goals for the Express.

The Express lone lead of the season through the first three games would last just 1:15 as Prince George scored their first power play goal of the night as Rai scored on a tap in at the side of the net set up of Jeremiah Luedtke and Chad Staley.

A back and forth first period saw the Spruce Kings open up a 2-1 lead when Marco Ballarin scored re-directing a point shot by Michael McEachern past Pierce Dushenko.

The Express man advantage had their reply 1:24 later as Brett Supinski scored his second of the season beating Jesse Jenks from the slot on a set up by Corey Mackin. Mackin was the most dangerous forward for the Express throughout the evening having a hand in some of the Express best scoring chances throughout the night.

Rai added his second of the game just past the two minute mark of the second period.

Again the Express power play had a response as Anthony Gardner scored his first BCHL goal in his 53rd career game blasting a rocket past Jesse Jenks.

This young season is teaching this Express team the hard way right now that mistakes can end up in your net at the BCHL level. A Daniel Fritz cross checking penalty quickly resulted in the third Prince George power play goal of the night as Taylor Allan scored through the legs of Dushenko with 36 seconds remaining in the third period.

Prince George finished 3 for 4 on the power play. To date the opposition has gone 9 for 16 on the power play with 8 of those goals coming in the last two contests.

The final frame saw the Express muster 13 shots to finish with a season high 39 in the contest but they weren't able to get any more pucks past Jenks and a solid defensive effort by a veteran Prince George team who locked the game down limiting the quality chances the Express were able to generate in the middle of the ice.

Justin Rai capped off his three goal game scoring into a gaping net after Jeremiah Luedtke cut off Pierce Dushenko's clearing attempt around the boards. The Spruce Kings top line of Rai, Luedtke and Chad Staley finished with a combined 3 goals and 4 assists for 7 points.

The result drops the Express to 0-3 when Prince George improves to 3-0 to start the season. The two teams will go at it again Saturday night in Coquitlam.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

SMOKIN HOT ZUCCARINI & POWERPLAY TOO MUCH FOR EXPRESS

There were two things the Express couldn't stop Saturday afternoon which was Charlie Zuccarini and the Trail power play in an 8-3 win over the Express at the second day at the Bauer BCHL showcase.

Zuccarini made his BCHL debut memorable by scoring five times while adding an assist for six points. And Trail's power play scored on five of seven opportunities.

Zuccarini's big day started in a hurry with a pair of goals within the first five minutes of the game. His first came when he banged home the rebound of his original shot and banged it past Brayden Krogfross who made his Express debut. Then less than two minutes later came Trail's first power play goal and Zuccarini's second of the afternoon beating Krogfross with a wrist shot from the right wing.

The fast start certainly gave Trail a lift to start the contest. But slowly the Express began to pick their game up.

Corey Mackin pulled the Express within one on an Express man advantage as he swatted home the puck out of the air after Daniel Fritz's point shot rocketed off the glass.

The goal of the game came midway through the second period as Jake Lucchini with great speed entering the Express zone undressed a defenceman then quickly snapped a shot over the glove of Krogfross for a 3-1 Trail lead.

Like the night before against West Kelowna the Express had a quick response to an opposition goal.

Youngsters Owen Stout and Noah Turanski teamed up for the second Express tally as Stout's shot from the right wing was stopped but the 16 year old Turanski buried home the rebound for his first BCHL goal.

The back and forth between the clubs continued in the second period. Zuccarini capped off the hat-trick on the power play finishing off a great passing play for Trail's third power play goal of the game.

Again the Express had a response before the period was done as Daniel Fritz blasted home his first BCHL goal on the power play to make it a one goal game going to the third at 4-3.

The third period proved once and for all this game belonged to the Trail power play and Zuccarini.

Bryan Gerstenfeld and Craig Martin scored the fourth and fifth power play goals for Trail. The five power play goals is the most the Express have allowed on a game since November 28th 2009 vs. Nanaimo. The franchise is six set by Surrey in 2007.

Then Zuccarini point an exclamation point on his big game with a shorthanded goal for his fourth of the game and capped off the debut to remember in the final minute scoring on a breakaway by popping the puck in the top corner with ease.

Saturday's game was the second time a player had scored five goals in a game against the Express matching the franchise record initially set by David Ullman off the Burnaby Bulldogs November 17th 2001 during the Express inaugural season.

The showcase saw the Express get outscored 14-5 in the two games and get outshot 95-55.

Friday will be a special night in Coquitlam for the home opener to raise the 2014 Fred Page Cup championship banner and debut the new white jerseys with the black and gold trim. 

WARRIORS TAKE SEASON OPENER FROM EXPRESS

The Coquitlam Express opened up defence of their 2014 Fred Page Cup title at the third annual Bauer BCHL showcase in Chilliwack with a 6-2 loss to the West Kelowna Warriors.

It didn't take long for the goals to start to flow and some early chemistry to be demonstrated.

Greydon Robinson's screened point shot on the powerplay got things rolling by beating Pierce Dushenko from the point.

The lead only last 10 seconds however as Corey Mackin setup up Union committed forward Brett Supinski who wired home his first BCHL goal under the crossbar. Supinski certainly impressed in his first BCHL contest. He showed some smooth hands earlier in the first period with a nice toe drag and shot attempt while the Express were shorthanded. If the first game is any indication Supinski and his fellow Pennsylvania native Corey Mackin should have some good chemistry together.

This night however belonged to West Kelowna. Liam Blackburn scored his first of two of the first period shorthanded less than two minutes after Supinski's goal to restore the Warrior advantage. Just past the 10 minute mark it was 3-1 on a goal by Jonathan Desbiens. Blackburn potted his second of the frame at 17:45.

Fortunes for the Express didn't change a whole lot in the second period. Goals by Jason Cotton on a tip and Brett Mennear poking in a loose puck in the crease made it 6-1 after 40.

The final shots Friday night finished 50-21 in favour of the Warriors. A good chunk of the play in the course of the evening was spent in the Express end of the rink.

Pierce Dushenko did take the loss. Perhaps you could see some opening night jitters in his game in the first period, but to his credit he did settle into the game the longer it went on and did well to keep the score closer than it might have otherwise been.

Colton Kerfoot i'm sure would have preferred he scored his first BCHL goal under better circumstances as he whipped home a quick cross crease pass by Brendan Lamont for a powerplay goal with four seconds remaining in the game.

West Kelowna went 1 for 5 on the powerplay while the Express finished 1 for 4.

Friday's result was just part of an all around tough night for Coastal conference team in the first day of the showcase. Coastal conference teams lost all four of their games vs. Interior conference foes by a combined score of 23-6.

The memories of Friday's game have to be short for the Express as their right back at it Saturday at high noon for a home game vs. the Trail Smoke Eaters at the main rink at the Prospera Centre.

Friday, September 19, 2014

EXPRESS SEASON PREVIEW

The off-season was shorter than every other team in the BCHL, but that can only be a good thing as the Express went on the longest playoff run of any team last season winning their second BCHL championship in franchise history and advancing to the Western Canada Cup.

But now everything starts fresh again and everything is reset back to zero as all 15 other BCHL teams try and take the Fred Page Cup out of the hands of the Express.

It all starts tonight with the third annual Bauer BCHL showcase in Chilliwack. The Express will play one home and one away game in Chilliwack against the West Kelowna Warriors Friday then getting right back at it Saturday vs. the Trail Smoke Eaters at high noon.  This event is a great way for all the college scouts who flock to the BCHL every year to watch the talent available and begin the process of trying to recruit players to their program.

Like all teams there is always player turnover from year to year. The Express bring back 10 players who were on last years championship team.

Most of the returnees come up front with Joey Santucci, Corey Mackin, Brendan Lamont, Cody Boyd, Daniell Lange, Josh Smith, Nic Rasovic and Jackson Cressey.

The blue line only has one returnee in Anthony Gardner. And Pierce Dushenko returns for his second season in the Express crease after backing up Gordie Defiel a year ago.

Some of the new faces include some familiar names to BCHL fans in the lower mainland. 20 year old forward Stefan Burzan comes to the Express after starting this season in Okotoks (AJHL). He split last season with the Oilers and the Victoria Grizzlies. He has previous championship experience being on the 2013 Surrey Eagles squad that won the Fred Page and Western Canada Cups and came within one goal of advancing to the RBC Cup final.

Other players familiar to BCHL fans in the lower mainland include defenceman Austin Bietenbeck who played last season with Langley. He also spent time in Surrey the previous year.

Colton Kerfoot is certainly one of the more recognizable names to Express fans. He is the younger brother of Alexander who was the BCHL rookie of the year in 2012 and a New Jersey Devils draft pick. Colton had a good season last year in Major Midget last year where he was second in the league in scoring with 86 points. He played 3 games with the Express last year as an affiliate player. He's expected to be one of the top young players to watch.

Brett Supinski comes to the Express for his 19 year old season looking to help prepare himself for University when he heads off to Union next fall. He was a 20 goal scorer and 41 point producer at Millbrook High school last season.

The youngest player on the roster no doubt certainly is the biggest. Noah Turanski is entering the BCHL as a 16 year old. He's a "man child" as he was described to me by Head Coach Barry Wolff. He stands at 6'4 and weighs in at 220lbs. He's a former defenceman turned forward from Vernon who decided to go the Junior A route instead of the WHL where Prince Albert owns his rights.

Coquitlam opens the season with four twenty year olds on their roster and they're all forwards. Joey Santucci, Brendan Lamont and Cody Boyd.

Daniell Lange, Nic Rasovic, Jackson Cressey and Josh Smith all come back a year older and stronger. They all had solid first full seasons in the BCHL providing Barry Wolff with solid minutes when called upon.

The blue line consists mostly of 19 year olds with 3 of the 6 spots occupied by players born in 1995.

It all gets going again and we will see how this years group will come together as the Express begin their defense of their BCHL championship. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

NEW LOOK FOR 2014-15 EXPRESS

Brendan Lamont and Joey Santucci show off the new jersey.
A beautiful sunny day was the perfect backdrop for a barbecue at Mundy Park for a meet and greet with the 2014-15 Express and to unveil a new jersey and logo.

It now features black and gold to match the colors of Coquitlam minor hockey. The logo has also been modified with the aggressive face being replaced by a headlight.

The new white jersey will make it's debut when the Express open their season this coming weekend at the showcase in Chilliwack vs. West Kelowna at 7pm.

It was a great turnout to see this years squad. The early reviews for the new look from those in attendance at the gathering and online has been very positive.

Friday the Express completed their 5 game exhibition schedule with a 4-3 win over Powell River.  The Express finished the pre season with a 2-3 record.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

EXPRESS FIRST EXHIBITION WIN

The Coquitlam Express picked up their first win of the pre-season with a 4-3 decision over the Surrey Eagles from the Port Coquitlam recreation complex.

Things started well for Coquitlam with first period goals by Jackson Cressey on the powerplay and a goal by Matt Michie 1:13 later after Surrey netminder Christian Short got crossed up in his crease.

The second period saw Surrey's Darius Davidson score twice in the first 11 minutes to even the score.

Michael Revalakis who showed the fight of a pit bull throughout the night helped set up a 2 on 1 in the the neutral zone followed up on the play to bang home the rebound from the odd man rush to restore the Express lead.

28 seconds later Surrey tied it again on a goal by Chase McMurphy.

Pierce Dushenko got his first start of the exhibition playing 40 minutes turning aside 19 of the 22 shots sent his way.

Brendan Soucie broke the deadlock in the third period for the Express showing great patience with the puck before beating Danny Davidson. 

Adam Derochie had a perfect third period in the Express crease making 14 saves.

The Express were 1 for 6 on the powerplay while Surrey was 1 for 3.

Thursday night the Express are in Hope for their next exhibition game vs. Chilliwack.  They wrap up exhibition play Friday at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre vs. Powell River.