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Saturday, October 19, 2019

RIVERMEN BLANK EXPRESS

It wasn't the first time, nor was it the second time. It was the fourth time that Langley goaltender Braedon Fleming blanked the Express dating back to the start of the season by posting a 27 save shutout Friday in the 2-0 Langley win. Click here for boxscore

In an odd scheduling quirk it was the fourth visit already for the Express this season to Langley. And now they're done visiting that rink unless the teams meet in the playoffs.

The Express outshot Langley 11-7 in the first period. Their best sequence of pressure in the first period came after their second powerplay came to an end, but Fleming held the fort shut.

At the other end Clay Stevenson did some of his best work off Brendan Budy. First Stevenson found a way to close the pads on a Budy tip of a Tanner Versluis pass while Langley was shorthanded. Then in the dying seconds of the first period the puck bounced to Budy at the side of the net and he appeared to have a sure goal for a tap in. But somehow Budy couldn't finish. Stevenson may have gotten a piece of it as he dove to his right.

Devin Leduc opened the scoring on a second period Langley powerplay ripping a shot from the slot that went post and in past Stevenson on the stick side.

A lack of finish highlighted the Express attack Friday. On a second period powerplay Tyler Schleppe wasn't able to get his stick ready to bury a loose puck at the side of the net. By the end of the second period the Express were 0 for 5 on the powerplay. And now the powerplay has gone scoreless in the last three games.

To compound matters Langley added to their lead while the Express were on the powerplay when a pass eluded an Express defenceman at the Rivermen blueline. That allowed Leduc to walk in on a shorthanded breakaway where he scored his second of the night for a 2-0 Langley lead after two periods.

With these teams playing as much as they have, it's no surprise that tempers throughout the night were short. That was highlighted with a pair of fights in the second period. First it was Luke Burke going with Colten Kovich.  Then late in the period it was Addison Macey and Matteo Pecchia dusting it up.

The Express lack of puck luck carried over to the third period. Massimo Rizzo came the closest anyone would for the Express on this night to find the back of the net when his shot from the left wing beat Fleming but clanged off the post.

Danny Pearson had a chance where drove to the net from the left wing, but just as he went to his backhand his hands were hacked slightly preventing him from getting a shot on goal.

The season series between the teams is now even at two games apiece. And just in case the Express and Rivermen hadn't seen enough of each other already. There's two more meetings before the end of October. But before that the Express will play their pink in the rink game Sunday afternoon vs. Powell River in Coquitlam. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Sunday, October 13, 2019

GOALS IN BUNCHES PACES EXPRESS TO 10TH WIN

The Express scored goals less than a minute apart twice as part of a 4-1 win over the Langley Rivermen. The red hot Express improved their record to 10-2 on the season. Click here for boxscore

Saturday's game was the first of four meetings between the teams between now and the end of October.

Langley entered the game with a season high four game winning streak. And Brendan Budy's hot play was a big catalyst for that success. The Rivermen got a scare early on as Budy crashed into the end boards on his first shift and was down for a long period of time. Fortunately for Langley Budy returned midway through the first period.

Clay Stevenson had to help weather Langley's fast start in the opening minutes of the first period. His best save was one with his right shoulder off Jake Livingstone on a Langley powerplay.

Late in the frame the Express got rolling. Connor Gregga continued his red hot play sliding home the rebound of a Addison Macey shot past Braedon Fleming to open the scoring. For Gregga it was his 4th goal in 4 consecutive games. Three of those goals have opened the scoring for the Express.

29 seconds later the Express struck again with Ryan Tattle freeing up the puck in the neutral zone for Tyler Schleppe who undressed the Langley defence then tucked his 7th of the season for a 2-0 Express lead after 1.

Schleppe appeared to have his second of the night on his stick early in the second period but some put two glorious chances just wide of the net.

Then at the other end Clay Stevenson made one of his better saves of the net stretching out his right leg to prevent Devin Leduc from jamming it home to get Langley on the board.

This game was littered with various chippy penalties all night. With both sides being called for penalties like slashing, roughing, high sticking, checking from behind and even slew footing.

Late in the second period Adam Trotman was whistled for a double minor for high sticking. Jake Livingstone scored on a rebound in the final minute of the second period in the first half of the Trotman double minor penalty.

With all the penalties being whistled, it wouldn't have surprised anyone if the Express got rattled and the game slipped through their hands. But that wasn't the case for this group. They dug in and were backstopped by another strong performance from Clay Stevenson who posted his 4th game giving up one goal or less.

Jason Fortier juggled some of the lines Saturday night putting Josh Wildauer with Danny Pearson and Connor Gregga, And Greg Lapointe moved alongside Massimo Rizzo and Connor Gregga.

Lapointe made the most of his opportunity with the game hanging in the balance busting his tail to join Massimo Rizzo to set up a two on one and Rizzo put a perfect pass onto Lapointe's stick to open a 3-1 Express lead with 4 minutes to play.

13 seconds later Lapointe struck again taking a pass this time from Connor Gregga and sliding home his second of the night to seal the win for the Express.

If these teams didn't get enough of each other Saturday. They will get re-acquainted Friday night right back in Langley. 

Saturday, October 12, 2019

EXPRESS AT EAGLES HIGHLIGHTS

Highlights of the Express 2-1 win in Surrey Friday.



Highlights produced by Eddie Gregory. 

EXPRESS GRIT OUT WIN OVER EAGLES

In a chippy affair the Express prevailed for a 9th time in 11 games this season with a 2-1 win over the Surrey Eagles. Click here for boxscore

The Express came out flying in the first period and it didn't take long to get on the board. Connor Gregga intercepted a pass in the neutral zone then attacked the Eagles defence on his own and found some ice in the slot and snapped his 3rd goal in as many games to open the scoring. That goal would be the start of a prominent night for the Express forward.



The visitors responded by opening a 12-1 first period advantage in shots by the 13 minute mark of the period. And were a little unfortunate they weren't able to extend their lead with some the quality chances they created.

Surrey tested Clay Stevenson in the latter half of the period thanks in part to a 42 second two man advantage, but Stevenson was perfect in the opening frame with 7 first period saves.

The emotions began to flare in the second period. It started when Christian MacDougall was hit from behind into the end boards by Cody Schiavon. The Express rookie didn't return to the game. The hit went unpenalized which didn't sit well with the Express.

More on that later. Meanwhile Connor Gregga picked up a loose puck after a Massimo Rizzo chance and Gregga then set up Rizzo who buried his second Express goal for a 2-0 lead at 14:17.

With Addison Macey in the box for the Express, Surrey got on the board on the powerplay when Sean Ramsay took a cross ice pass and slid his second of the season past Clay Stevenson to cut the Express lead to 2-1.

As the second period wound down the tempers drew short and it resulted in the Express coming out of it shorthanded. But the penalty killers rose to the occasion each time to help preserve the lead heading into the third period.

The third period saw the Express pick up their pace looking to extend their lead. But were unable to get the insurance marker past Tommy Scarfone who finished with 30 saves.

During the second period Connor Gregga was assessed a 10 minute misconduct. Unfortunately while sitting in the box serving his penalty he had to endure with some fans who were throwing trash at him  during the third period.

Then when he came out of the box, he came to the defence of Christian MacDougall who was hit earlier in the game by dropping the gloves with Cody Schiavon. The fight and automatic ejection for Gregga did come with the Express on the powerplay. But the main thing was Gregga showing that he wasn't going to let Schiavon not be held accountable for the hit.

Surrey's best opportunity for the equalizer in the third came with Clay Stevenson getting whistled for a tripping penalty after a Eagles player went through the goaltender's crease. Stevenson got help from his best friend while shorthanded as a Holden Katzalay shot rang off the crossbar to keep the Express in the lead. Stevenson would finish with 22 saves to improve to 7-1 on the season.

Saturday night will see the Express face a surging Langley Rivermen team that has rattled off four straight wins. 

Monday, October 7, 2019

Saturday, October 5, 2019

EXPRESS SMOTHER SILVERBACKS

10am is never an ideal start time for any team. So I'm sure neither the Express and Salmon Arm Silverbacks were thrilled about their BCHL showcase start time Saturday. But it's a lot easier to handle when you win the game. And that much more so when you do it in convincing fashion as the Express did by a 7-1 score. Click here for boxscore

The Express were looking to bounce back after their first showcase game Thursday night in Chilliwack where they let a 1-0 third period lead result in a 4-1 loss.

They rolled into Penticton and right from the get go they showed they were ready to respond. Cooper Connell got things rolling scoring on a wraparound for a 1-0 lead 5 minutes into the game.

That sparked a offensive deluge in the first period for the Express. Tyler Schleppe extended the Express lead with a steal at his own blueline and rushing the puck up the ice and deciding to keep on a two on one break and snap a shot that went in off the pad of Dylan Kruss for a 2-0 Express lead.

Massimo Rizzo played in his second game of the season at the South Okanagan Events Centre for the first time since last summer's trade. In his debut Rizzo set up Connor Gregga for his first of the year. Saturday Gregga returned the favour feeding Rizzo in the slot who snapped it home for a 3-0 Express lead. The goal coming just 18 seconds after Schleppe's goal. The goal capped a run of three goals in a span of 2:47. Dylan Kruss was given the hook after three goals on seven shots.



Thomas Wardle made his third start of the season in the Express crease. He saw his team jump out to a 3-0 lead before he saw his first Silverbacks shot. He wasn't busy often on Saturday. But made some of his best saves in the first period. First off he stopped Holden Knights as he rushed hard to the net from the right wing.



Then late in the frame he stared down a Simon Tassy breakaway.

As the game wore on Salmon Arm got more and more frustrated which led to Express powerplays. Seconds after a Express five on three had expired, Greg Lapointe walked in from the right circle and snapped a shot in off the post past Ethan Langenegger who replaced Dylan Kruss in the Salmon Arm net.



Drew Cooper extended the Express lead to 5-0 whipping a shot home from the right wing shortly after another Express power play came to an end. The Express already have 10 goals this season from defenceman. That's well ahead of last year's pace at this point where the blueline tallied 23 goals all of last season.

Connor Gregga early in the third period took a cross ice backhand pass from Noah De La Durantaye and ripped home a poweprlay goal for a 6-0 Express lead. It marked the 4th time in 10 games this season that the Express have scored multiple powerplay goals in a game.

One of the few things that didn't go the Express way was Thomas Wardle losing his shutout bid after Daniel Rybarik scored on a breakaway at 8:26.

But the Express were quick to restore their six goal lead with Tyler Schleppe from behind the net teeing up Ryan Tattle in the slot whose shot bounced in for his second of the season.

The shots finished 37-19 in favour of the Express. They finished their first 10 games with a 8-2 record on the season.

Next week the Express stay on the road for visits in Surrey and Langley Friday and Saturday.