Just when the Express thought injuries were a thing of the past, nope!
The Express went into Saturday's game with a new rash of injuries. Joining Luke Challier (ankle) on the sidelines were Reid Edmondson, Colin De Jersey and Gavin Hohl. Returning to the injured list after 2 games last weekend was Jacob Verheyden.
In addition to the injuries, sniper Brodie Reid will be out of the Express lineup for the next 4 games while he plays for Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge in Camrose Alberta. Reid will miss this week's northern road trip.
So that sent the Express coaches scrambling to the phones to find players to fill the roster for Saturday's game vs. the defending BCHL Champion Penticton Vees.
When the dust settled, the Express brought in another veteran defenceman Johnny Mahovlich from the Surrey Eagles and AP's Thomas Hardy, Tristan Lowenberger, Paul De Jersey and Jesse Bachmeier.
The Vees came into the Bill Copeland Sports Centre Saturday on a lengthy road trip which started Sunday in Merritt, then the Vees spent time in Vancouver before heading up to Powell River to begin their 4 game in 5 night swing through the Mainland division. The trip opened up for the Vees with a 3 straight losses. Penticton got off to a slow start in each game allowing the opening goal on the first shot of the game for the opposition.
Following losses Wednesday and Thursday in Powell River and Surrey, the Vees had the day off Friday before travelling to Burnaby.
The Express got the start they were looking for when Cam Brodie's backhand from the blueline eluded Jordan White to open the scoring on only the 2nd shot of the game for the Express.
The Vees pulled even midway through the period when Anthony Perdicaro came off the half boards, cut into the slot and picked the top corner glove side on Mike Chan to tie the game.
But the Express had a quick reply just 57 seconds later on the power play as Tim Holloway centred it for Dylan Herold from behind the net. It appeared White made the save squeezing the puck between his pads, but the goal judge turned on the red light, the Express celebrated as if they scored even lining up at centre ice. Then, following some consultation by referee Kam Poirier with the goal judge, the Express were awarded their second goal of the game at 10:11 to make the score 2-1 Burnaby.
Max Grassi added to Burnaby's lead one minute into the second as he put it off a skate and in on a wrap around for his 10th goal of the season.
Just 37 seconds later, the momentum swung back in the Vees favour as Garrick Perry was called for checking from behind and the Vees scored swiftly on the power play as Ryan Viselli tipped home a Devon Krogh point shot to cut the lead down to one.
Vees captain Ryan Vandenberg pulled the Vees even scoring just over 5 minutes into the 2nd period.
The Express had a chance to re-store their lead as Tristan Lowenberger was hauled down cutting to the Vees net and was awarded a penalty shot. However, Lowenberger couldn't take the penalty shot as he was shaken up on the play as he crashed hard into the net.
So Max Grassi would take it for Lowenberger. Last week Grassi scored on a clear cut breakaway which pretty much could have been a penalty shot vs. Alberni Valley's Matthew Wong.
Last week, Grassi went backhand shelf to beat Wong. This week Grassi made a great deke going backhand, forehand, had White beat, but couldn't put it upstairs and the game remained tied going into the third period.
The tie was broken less than 90 seconds into the third as Tristan Lowenberger made no mistake putting home a John Bokla pass from behind the net to re-store the Express lead.
Hear Lowenberger's first BCHL goal here.
Now with the Express in the lead, the focus shifted to protecting the lead. The Express backed off on their forecheck pressure.
The Vees eventually tied the game as Zack Josepher sent it ahead for former Express prospect Garett Milan and he used his speed and cut hard to the net and put it past Mike Chan to tie the game at 4 with just over 3 minutes left to force overtime.
The Vees got the first great opportunity to win the game as John Bokla was called holding at 1:38. It didn't take long for the Vees to strike as Devon Krogh scored on a wrist shot beating Mike Chan to the stick side to give the Vees the 5-4 win. It only took the Vees 7 seconds to score with the man advantage.
Hear Krogh's game winning goal here.
The Vees improved their record to 1-2 on their road trip. But they never played one single second with the lead in any of the three games.
The loss was the second straight for the Express and 10th in their last 13 games. The point for going to overtime kept the Express one point up on the Surrey Eagles for third place in the division after they won a wild 8-5 shootout over the league leading Powell River Kings.
3-Cam Brodie (1G,1A)
2-Max Grassi (1G)
1-Garrett Milan (1G,1A)
The Express will now head on the road this week for their 3 game northern road trip. It begins Thursday when the Express will see familiar faces Jordan Soquila and Alex Valenti when they face the Merritt Centennials. Following the visit to the Nicola Valley, the Express will trek up north to face Prince George Friday and Quesnel Saturday.
The trip is a great opportunity for the Express to rack up some points. The Spruce Kings, Millionaires and Centennials respectively occupy the 6th, 7th and 8th place positions in the Interior Conference.