The Express had their first 3 game weekend of the season this past weekend.
They opened it up Friday night by hosting the Surrey Eagles at Bill Copeland Sports Centre. It was the 3rd straight meeting between the two teams. The Express took the opening two games last weekend 8-3 Friday night in Surrey. And, 5-2 the next night at home.
It wouldn't take long for the Express to get rolling as Max Grassi opened the scoring just nine seconds into the game taking a feed from Alex Valenti and re-directing it past Tommy Tartaglione. It was the 3rd straight game the Express opened the scoring.
Liam Harding tied the game midway through the period and the teams would be tied at one after 20 minutes.
The Eagles got an early power play in the second with Anthony Collins in the box serving a slashing penalty. But, it would be the Express who found the back of the net as Brodie Reid who was back in the lineup after missing 3 games took advantage of an Eagle turnover at the Burnaby blueline.
Hear Reid's Shorthanded goal here.
The Eagles would equalize moments later as Chris Santiago scored from the right circle to tie the game at 2.
Garrick Perry, who had a breakout weekend in the first two games vs. the Eagles, would strike again after strong work by the Express down deep in the Surrey zone, he fired a shot from the boards that got past Tartaglione to re-store the Express lead.
Anthony Collins added to the Burnaby lead just over two minutes later as he blasted a rolling puck home to give the Express a 4-2 lead.
Reid added his second of the game with the Express on a power play
Max Grassi added his second of the game to round out the scoring for the Express. 6-2 the final score.
The win completed a 3 game sweep for the Express over the Eagles.
3-Anthony Collins (1G, 1A)
2-Max Grassi (2G)
1-Brodie Reid (2G, 1A)
The next night the Express were in Langley for the second meeting of the season with the Chiefs.
Langley took the opening match up two weeks earlier 3-2. Andrew Walsh was strong between the pipes for Langley stopping 34 of 36 Express shots.
Richie Virtanen got his second start of the season for the Express against the Chiefs.
Burnaby opened the scoring just over 3 minutes into the game as Max Grassi blasted home a shot top shelf.
That's where things stood after 20 minutes. The lead would hold up till late in the 2nd, when the Chiefs tied the game as Brady Horn scored just moments after a Ilya Kravtchouck tripping penalty had expired.
By the time, the third period rolled around, it was easy to see this game was going to be a grind for both clubs. Burnaby came into this game using it as a measuring stick. Coach Dave Mclellan's strategy when building this years squad was all about games like this one in Langley. He wanted to build a team that could match Langley's physical game. And grind it out.
The plan was paying off as the Express opened the third by getting the puck deep and working it down low in the Chiefs zone and working their defence.
This game had a playoff feel to it the longer the 1-1 tie stood. The tension was mounting and the next goal would be critical.
The Express got a boost when rookie Luke Challier would introduce himself to the Express/Chiefs rivalry.
The Express had an opportunity to break the tie as they had a 2 man advantage for two minutes but couldn't find the back of the net.
Finally with just over 90 seconds left in the third, the deadlock was snapped.
The goal would stand up and the Express held on for the 2-1 win. It was Garrick Perry's 3rd consecutive game winning goal. The win snapped Burnaby's 8 game win less streak in Langley dating back to game 4 of the Express/Chiefs 2007 first round series.
2-Richie Virtanen 24 saves
1-Garrick Perry GWG
The Express returned home Sunday afternoon to host the Vernon Vipers. It would be the Express 3rd game in 3 nights. For Vernon, they were playing their 4th game in 5 nights and 3rd in as many nights.
Vernon came in 1-1-1 on their road swing. They were coming off a 5-4 win in Surrey the night before.
Burnaby had a few new faces in the lineup with Gavin Hohl and Jacob Verheyden joining Brodie Reid and John Bokla on the sidelines with injuries. The Express brought up Tristan Lowenberger and Paul De Jersey (Colin's brother) up from midget to take their place.
Vernon opened the scoring on Kyle Bigo's power play goal just over 5 minutes into the game. The goal snapped Burnaby's penalty kill streak at 29 straight kills.
The Express had a quick reply and it was one of the new faces pulling the Express even.
Max Grassi gave the Express a 2-1 lead just over a minute later with the Express on a 5 on 3 power play from Valenti and Collins. The goal extended Grassi's point streak to 6 games (4G, 4A 8PTS).
Vernon had a reply in the second as Braden Pimm took a great stretch pass from Kyle Bigos and snapped a shot top shelf from the off wing beating Virtanen at 4:34. Ryan Depape gave the Vipers their second lead of the game as he re-directed a Steve Tresierra point shot just 1:19 later.
The Vipers took that lead into the third period. Burnaby had a chance midway through the 3rd to pull even with Mike Collins taking a seat in the penalty box. But Burnaby wasn't able to capitalize on the man advantage. Then moments later after the penalty expired, the Vipers got the insurance marker. They got the puck behind the Express net and forced a turn over on the fore check and the puck was centred to Ryan Santana who banged it home to give the Vipers a 4-2 lead.
They wrapped up the game with Braden Pimm scoring his second of the game into an empty net.
Final score, Vernon 5 Burnaby 2.
The loss snapped the Express winning streak at 4 games. But they did finish the weekend at 2-1. Vernon finished their 4 game Mainland division road swing at 2-1-1.
2-Mike Collins (2A)
1-Braden Pimm (1G,2A)