Monday, February 23, 2009


Here's the best from the 08-09 Express season in the plays of the year...



The run to the Fred Page Cup begins Friday. I spoke with a number of head coaches around the league to get their thoughts on why their teams will, and will not be successful in the playoffs.

I spoke with Salmon Arm's Rylan Ferster, Victoria's Geoff Courtnall, Powell River's Kent Lewis, Surrey's Shane Kuss, Langley's Harvey Smyl. And Express head coach Dave Mclellan for his prediction on this years playoffs.

Hear the coaches thoughts here.


Here's a outstanding video Cary Derksen produced with the best hits, fights, saves and goals at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre.

You can order this video on DVD along with a 1 hour and 40 minute 24 game by game highlight pack for just $15.

Contact Cary Derksen via email at to recieve an order form.

This video will be priceless for years to come.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I would like to take this opporutnity for a few thank yous. First off, all for you taking the time to visit my blog and support this venture I started this year.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to Gord and I in the broadcast booth again this season. We truly do enjoy bringing these games to you.

Thank you to the Express organization for giving me the opportunity to do the play by play for the broadcasts and be fully supportive of the work Gord and I do in the booth.

Thanks to Coach Dave Mclellan and all his support staff. his assistants, Jason Fothergill and Dan Cioffi. Trainer Wayne Hubbard along with Patrick Townley, Grant Ammann and Mischa Polzin. Thanks for making Gord and I feeling welcome and part of the team.

And thanks to the players for all your efforts this season. I have never come across a player in my 5 seasons as the broadcaster of this team who isn't a class citizen.

Now that the season is over, that doesn't mean that the blog shuts down for the season. There's still more audio to come in the next few days. Stay tuned...


Thank you.


The Burnaby Express ended their 8th season in the BCHL on a high note. They walked into the George Preston Recreation Centre and spoiled Harvey Smyl's 1000th BCHL game by defeating their long time rival the Langley Chiefs by a score of 3-2.

The Express called up 5'5 148 pound goaltender Nick Energren from Junior B Port Moody to start between the pipes, and he played a very steady game stopping 17 of 19 shots for his first BCHL win.

Dylon Herold led the offensive attack for the Express with 2 goals and 1 assist.

Burnaby finished the season with a record of 18-35-1-6 for 43 points. In the process, the Express re-wrote the record book for all the wrong reasons.

The team set franchise records for fewest wins and points in a season. And most losses in a season. Breaking the mark set by the first Express team in 01-02 when they had a record of 20-32-8 for 48 points.

The team set another record for fewest goals for in a season with 170. It was the first time they failed to score 200+ goals in a season. The previous franchise record for fewest goals in a season was 211 set in 04-05.


Here's the highlights of Burnaby's final home game of the season a 3-2 loss Friday to the Langley Chiefs. The video of the Express awards ceremony prior to the game has been posted in the previous posting.

Highlights courtesy of Cary Derksen at Purple Penguin Productions. For DVD ordering information in widescreen HD 16:9 format, email Cary at

Thanks to Cary Derksen for his efforts all season producing this high quality video highlights all season long.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


The Burnaby Express handed our their year end awards prior to their final home game of the season last night vs. Langley.

Garrick Perry ran away with the show coming away with 4 pieces of hardware.

Here's who won what.

Rookie of the year - Garrick Perry

Unsung Hero - Tim Holloway

Most Outstanding defenceman - Simon Denis

Most Popular - Garrick Perry

Scholastic & Community Involvment - Ilya Kravtchouk

Player of the game - Garrick Perry

Top Forward - Reid Edmondson

Most Improved - Luke Challier

MVP - Garrick Perry

Top Scorer - Garrick Perry 19G, 22A, 41PTS

Congratulations to this years award winners.

Here's the video of the ceremony courtesy of Cary Derksen at Purple Penguin Productions.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Everyone in the hockey world is sending out their thoughts and prayers to the Albany River Rats after their team bus flipped over night injuring 3.

Every team in the BCHL and hockey should be thankful every time your bus driver gets you to and from your destination safely.

Thanks to Burnaby's bus driver Norm for keeping us all safe this season.

Here's the story...

BECKET, Mass. - A bus carrying the Albany River Rats flipped onto its side on slick roads in western Massachusetts early Thursday, injuring four players, including a pair of Canadians, and the American Hockey League team's radio commentator.

The bus carrying the team home from a game in Lowell struck a guard rail about 3:20 a.m. on Interstate 90. Police said the bus rolled onto its side before coming to rest across the left travel lane and median.

Jonathan Paiement, a defenceman from Montreal, and Nicolas Blanchard, a forward from Granby, Que., were among those in hospital. Defenceman Casey Borer and winger Joe Jensen, along with radio commentator John Hennessy, were also at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, coach Jeff Daniels said. None of the injuries was considered life-threatening.

"It's not too bad," a groggy Blanchard told the Albany Times Union. He said he was asleep on the bus. The next thing he realized he was awakened by the crash.

Daniels, an Oshawa, Ont., native, said most of the 28 players and staff were trying to sleep when the bus driver lost control. Daniels said he woke to a rumbling sound and realized the bus was sliding.

"Then guys were flying over the seats and we were on our side," he said.

Everyone was able to get out of the bus on their own, but many were cut and bloodied and some had broken bones and concussions, Daniels said. Some players could miss significant time, but Daniels said the injuries weren't career-threatening.

He compared the crash to "one tough game."

"It's not an opponent you want to play again," he said.

Albany's game Friday night against Bridgeport has been cancelled.

Borer spent parts of the past two seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes, the River Rats' NHL affiliate. He skated in three games in December with Carolina before he was sent back down to Albany, and he has one goal and two assists in 14 career NHL games with Carolina. Jensen had one goal in six games late last season with the Hurricanes.

The crash remains under investigation, but police said winter weather and icy roads may have contributed to the wreck. The accident closed the left and right travel lanes of highway for more than seven hours, forcing traffic to use the breakdown lane.

Monday, February 16, 2009


If you are looking to point your finger at one reason in particular why the 08-09 edition of the Express will miss the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, you won't be able to do it.

At the end of the day, it truly is a multitude of factors that all worked together to determine the final outcome of the Express not playing beyond this Saturday in Langley.

Certainly injuries played a major role in Burnaby's struggles this season. Once the dust settles on this season, the Express number of manned games lost due to injuries this season will be pushing 250.

On the other side of that equation, the Express have had 66 games played this season by affiliate players from either Junior B or Major Midget.

The injury bug really hit hard in early October with at times up to 7 regulars out of the lineup at one particular time due to injuries. And it never really stopped.

You can't look at the Express roster of players present or past this season who haven't spent time on the sidelines injured.

Due to all the injuries, that pushed the players that did play well beyond their limits. Some players were put into roles into which they couldn't succeed just based on the necessity of needing healthy bodies just to fill the roster. That led to fatigued hockey players and more injuries. Once that snow ball got rolling, it hasn't stopped. And won't do so until 10PM Saturday night when the season comes to an end.

It wasn't uncommon for the Express to not be able to dress a full roster of healthy 18 bodies. Let alone 18 healthy bodies of BCHL calibre players. I could probably count one one hand the number of times coach Dave Mclellan was able to dress 4 full lines and 3 sets of defencemen of BCHL calibre players.

Brodie Reid couldn't avoid being hit by the injury bug this season either. He was expected to carry the offensive load like he did in his first season with the Express when he finished 2nd in the league with 52 goals. He was expected to team up with Max Grassi to be one of the top 1-2 offensive punches this season. Hip and wrist injuries hampered Reid's season early. Once he returned, from his injuries, it was clear that Reid's shot wasn't what it was from a year ago. Plus, the Grassi and Reid combo wasn't clicking the way it was expected and Reid was shipped to Penticton. Ironically, Reid and Grassi became teammates again months later when Grassi was shipped by Burnaby to Merritt then quickly dealt to the Vees.

Burnaby's record within the division sunk the Express season within the first 3 months of the campaign. When the schedule was announced that the Express, Chiefs, Eagles and Kings would all be playing one another a combined total of 36 times in the 60 game schedule this season. It set up what had the potential to be one of the most competitive races in the BCHL from game 1 to game 60.

Every team knew they had to have at least a .500 record within the division to have a shot at cracking the top 3 spots in the division and a playoff spot. This season Burnaby has a 10-19-1-3 record through 33 division games this season. Plus, the Express at one point lost 7 straight games vs. Surrey the team they were chasing for a playoff spot this season. You can look at Burnaby's division record alone as to why the Express are so many points back of the pack.

No team could afford to have such a dismal divisional record and expect to make the playoffs.

The next 3 factors are all in a way connected to why the Express missed the playoffs. That's goaltending, and special teams.

We'll start with goaltending. The Express went into this season with a pair of rookie goaltenders to open the season. Mike Chan and Richie Virtanen were expected to carry the load this season. It turned out to be a mistake. Neither proved they were capable of carrying the team's expectations this season. Both have goals against averages in the high 3's and a save percentage below 90. Both were prone to giving up soft goals throughout the season.

This season the goaltending just wasn't up to the standards necessary for a team to be successful in the BCHL. A far cry from the previous 3 seasons when goaltending was the least of the Express worries with the likes of Bryce Luker, Matthew Gordon and Kevin Jebson protecting the Express crease.

This is how it ties into special teams. Every team knows that a teams best penalty killer has to be their goaltender. This season that didn't happen and Burnaby's penalty killing has been right near the bottom of the rankings for most of the season.

Another connection, Burnaby's poor goaltending has with their struggles this season. And that is the fact that they have had a pop tart offence this season.

The Express struggled all season long coming up with a big goal when they needed it. They have just 163 goals for this season. That's an average of less than 3 goals for per game. There is only 1 team in the BCHL playoffs that has an average of less than 3 goals for per game. Where would Burnaby be this season either if they weren't allowing that one soft goal per night or got that one big goal they needed? They would either win more one goal games or at least send more games to overtime and pick up more points.

This season Burnaby won just 7 of 18 games decided by one goal. That doesn't include games where the opposition sealed the game with an empty net goal to open up a two goal advantage.

There's one other factor that played a prominent role in the Express struggles. But doesn't get enough recognition. That is the fact not enough returning players didn't take their games to a level necessary to fill the void left by the graduating players of prevous season.

Prior to the start of the 07-08 season the big question was, who is going to fill the offensive void left by the quartet of Kyle Turris, Tyer McNeely, Jovan Matic and Chris Rengert? They combined for well over 300 points of offence in 06-07. Well the question was answered definitively by the trio of Carlo Finucci, Cody Campbell and Brodie Reid. Carlo Finucci emerged out of the shadows of his predecessors to become a BCHL scoring champion. And Reid and Campbell finished tied for 5th in league scoring with 87 points.

Now i'm not saying the players had to all emerge into members of the BCHL elite. But they had to step into their shoes and carry the offensive load left behind with the departures of Finucci and Campbell. I already spoke about the disappointing season Brodie Reid had.

You look at the contributions of the returning players on this years roster, Reid Edmondson 35 points, Tim Holloway 33 points, Jacob Verheyden 26 points. Plain and simple just not good enough. Now i'm not sure if they are truly capable of being able to carry the offensive load for a team over the course of a 60 game season. But the fact that no one really took over the offensive reigns left behind of players past is another strong contributor to Burnaby's struggles this season. But that should change next season. I expect Garrick Perry, John Digness, Dylan Herold and Simon Denis to truly develop into Burnaby's prominent core next season. The offensive contributions of next years roster should be much more significant than that of its predecessors.

Like I said off the top, it wasn't just one reason in particular as to why Burnaby has had such a disappointing season. But I hope this provides a better insight of how the numerous factors all worked together to help contribute to Burnaby missing the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Here's the highlights from last weekends Express home games vs. Salmon Arm and Victoria.

Highlights courtesy of Cary Derksen at Purple Penguin Productions. For DVD ordering information in 16:9 widescreen HD format, contact Cary at


The Phoenix Coyotes have sent Express alum Kyle Turris to their AHL affiliate in San Antonio.

In his first full season in Phoenix, Turris has 6 goals and 10 assists for 16 points in 50 games but is a -12 this season. Turris has been a healthy scratch for the Coyotes last 2 games.

Turris is pointless in his last 6 games and goalless in his last 11.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Monday night saw Brandon Yip's Boston University Terriers take on Tyler McNeely's Northeastern Huskies in the 2009 Beanpot Final.

BU was seeking their 29th title. While Northeastern was looking for just their 5th and 1st since 1988.

The game was back and forth to start with the teams trading powerplay goals from Colby Cohen of BU and Northeastern's Mike McLaughlin.

BU took their 2nd lead of the game early in the middle frame when former Express Brandon Yip was turned aside on a shorthanded breakaway. But the puck bounced in front and Nick Bonino banged home the rebound off the end glass.

Northeastern did have a reply moments later when former Express Tyler McNeely banged home the rebound of a point shot to tie the game.

The tie only lasted 1:05 as Chris Lawerence took a perfect back door feed and tipped it past Brad Theissen to give BU a 3-2 lead.

Late in the 2nd period a scrum broke out in front of the Husky goal and McNeely was handed a 10 minute misconduct and a game misconduct.

BU took their lead into the third. But the Huskies had a great chance to pull even when Joe Pereira was called for slashing at 12;54 giving the Huskies a powerplay.

However, as it turned out the powerplay did more damage than good for Northeastern as BU scored their 2nd and 3rd shorthanded goals of the game by David Warsofsky and Colin Wilson 30 seconds apart to blow the game open and put it on ice.

The win was Boston University's 29th Beanpot crown. Brandon Yip had 2 assists in the win.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


It's official now, for the first time in their 8 season franchise history, the Express will not be heading to the playoffs.

Surrey sealed Burnaby's fate last night moments before the Express fell to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 3-1 last night in a exciting hard fought game at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre.

Surrey needed 52 shots, a game tying powerplay goal by Mike Henderson with 16 seconds left in the third period and an overtime game winning goal by Brennan Strang to defeat the Langley Chiefs 4-3 at the George Preston Recreation centre.

The win was Surrey's first win in Langley in 5 tries this season.

The Eagles outshot the Chiefs 52-15 last night.

Surrey's win combined with Burnaby's loss opened up a 16 point lead on the Express with 7 games left in Burnaby's schedule.

We all knew the odds were long. But the Express proved that they didn't want to go down without a fight.

Tonight the Express welcome the Victoria Grizzlies to the Bill Copeland Sports Centre for a 7:30 affair.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Burnaby's hard working training staff is featured on the BCHL website.

Here's the article...

Up Close with the Burnaby Express training staff
Friday, February 6, 2009 - Submitted by Ben Lypka

Tim Holloway angrily throws his stick to the ground and grimaces in pain, holding his right shoulder. It’s only 2 minutes into the Burnaby Express’s game against the Surrey Eagles and the frustration on Holloway’s face could very well be a combination of pain, guilt and realization that his BCHL season might be cut short.

Holloway paces back and forth in the tunnel adjacent to the player’s bench and curses his fate. Luckily, Express trainer Wayne Hubbard is there to ease the young man’s worries. Wayne follows him to the tunnel and immediately begins checking for exactly what type of damage has been done to Holloway’s shoulder.

Wayne Hubbard has been a fixture in the BCHL since the league formed in the late 1960s. He has literally seen and done it all in his position, and he’s also helped shape the careers and lives of some great players. Joe Sakic, Kyle Turris and Milan Lucic all had their hockey career touched by Wayne and it’s safe to assume that he’s also positively affected the lives of hundreds of young men throughout his tenure as a trainer.

“I hear from kids all the time that I used to train when we go on road trips to places like Quesnel or Victoria,” said Hubbard. “I don’t really remember who they are initially but once they tell me their name it’s easy to remember.”

Indeed, the number of lives that Wayne has touched throughout his career is impressive but with players like Sakic, Turris and Lucic, he sensed something special from the start.

“Joe is a really classy kid and humble,” said Wayne. “Turris is the same way. Lucic and I are still friends, the other day he sent me a message on Facebook asking me how things are going.”

However, the life of a trainer is not all glory. Wayne grudgingly admits that a great deal of his time is spent up by a rather tedious task – laundry.

There are at least four loads of laundry to be done every day, even on days when the Express don’t play. On game days, Wayne becomes well acquainted with the washer and dryer as he completes 12 loads for a home game and eight for a road game.

“I generally arrive at the rink pretty early in the morning,” said Wayne. “And laundry seems to take up the majority of my time.”

Fortunately, Wayne has the ability to dole out tasks to his colleagues, Patrick Townley and Grant Ammann. The Express are unique in that they have three staff members who are highly trained and qualified to deal with almost anything a team could be faced with in a game situation. From injuries to equipment issues and moral support, Burnaby’s three-headed monster of Hubbard, Townley and Ammann do a tremendous job in preparing their players.

Patrick Townley is the equipment manager by title but he is truly a jack-of-all-trades. His on the job training with Wayne has molded him into an expert on all aspects of hockey.

Starting as a stick boy in 1994, Townley has worked for a number of organizations in the BCHL but he has really fit in well with the Express. Originally joining the team when it was based in Coquitlam, Patrick has learned a great deal from Wayne – who appreciates having him around.

“Patrick has a full-time day job and he works here with us in the evenings and weekends,” said Wayne. “He is a huge help to this team and is highly qualified.”

Express star forward Garrick Perry agrees: “Pat is incredibly dedicated but he’s really one of the guys.”

Perry and Townley have a very amicable relationship but it goes beyond that. Townley recently taught Perry how to sharpen skates and now the Express forward insists on the do-it-yourself method. It’s a skill that Perry will carry with him his whole life and something Townley didn’t have to do but it helped strengthen that particular relationship.

“It’s all about trust,” said Townley. “It’s really a give and take relationship with the boys but it’s overall rewarding.”

Townley, who possesses an Athletic Therapy degree, laments some of the newer equipment as it seems to be harder and harder to fix. Evn so, he loves his work. He’s a valuable cog in the Burnaby Express machine and the team wouldn’t be the same without him.

The third piece of this training triangle of talent is Grant Ammann. Grant and Wayne knew each other for many years due to the fact that Grant was a former referee of high-level hockey and they developed a rapport through that initial contact. They stayed in touch and then re-connected through the Global Sports Scouting Services group. Grant was refereeing some of the games and Wayne is the trainer for their camp in Burnaby and the two got to talking.

“Grant started going back to school and volunteered to come aboard,” said Wayne. “He expressed a lot of interest and wanted to experience being a trainer hands-on.”

The two seemed to gel quite well and so Grant was brought aboard as an official staff member. His days are extremely busy as he doubles as a personal trainer at the Performance Institute in Burnaby, but he finds the time to juggle two positions and school and is succeeding.

“Training is 80% psychology and 20% technical knowledge,” said Wayne. “Grant has an incredible amount of technical knowledge but he’s still learning the psychology. You need to know when to give and take, when to be tough but that will only come with time. I believe Grant is going to make a great trainer one day.”

Learning from Wayne certainly couldn’t hurt.

The achievement Wayne is most proud about is winning gold with Team Canada West during the World Junior A Challenge in 2007.

“It was a great experience,” said Wayne. “Hockey Canada knows how to put on a show. There were fans hanging from everywhere in Trail, it was a packed house and overall it was a wonderful experience.”

Particularly impressive was the fact that the Express owners chipped in and purchased a championship ring for Wayne, a token of appreciation for the tremendous work he did for the team in their drive to a title.

The 2008-09 season has been a trying one, to say the least, for the Burnaby Express. They’ve been near the bottom of the Mainland Division for most of the year and have been absolutely decimated by injuries.

“It’s been the worst season I’ve ever seen for injuries,” said Wayne. “It’s truly been a bizarre year.”

Wayne added that ordinarily there is a large rush of injuries in January but the Express has been struggling with health issues all year long and have yet to ice a full lineup all season. The injuries have kept Wayne, Patrick and Grant extremely busy but the Express unquestionably appreciate their hard work.

“Our trainers are such a valuable part of our team,” said Express assistant coach Jason Fothergill. “They do so much people don’t see and are extremely dedicated.”

A healthy relationship with a head coach is crucial for a trainer and Wayne has a lot of respect for Express head coach Dave McLellan.

“Dave is great; he doesn’t question our authority,” said Wayne. “My attitude towards coach’s has always been; I don’t tell you how to coach, you don’t tell me how to train.”

Many of the Express players echo the admiration for the training staff.

“Wayne, Pat and Grant are so dedicated,” said Garrick Perry. “It’s their life.”

“This is the best group of trainers I’ve ever worked with,” said Tim Holloway.

Wayne has never really had issues with team’s pushing him to heal players or give them a clean diagnosis, most likely due to the league-wide respect that he’s built up during his career. However, he remains steadfast as to where his loyalties lie.

“My loyalty will always be with the player, as should any other good trainer,” said Wayne. “I will never knowingly put the player in jeopardy and the player’s health is always put ahead of the team.”

Tim Holloway returns to the ice shortly after his shoulder tweak but during the intermission Grant, Wayne and Patrick decide his fate.

Holloway will finish tonight but following tonight’s game he will not play again until he begins to more frequently attend his physiotherapy sessions.

For the player, he wants to play the game he loves. He wants to play through the pain and worry about it tomorrow. For the trainers, it’s never easy to stop someone from doing something they love but sometimes the health risks just simply aren’t worth it. It’s a fine line that trainers tow each and everyday. At times they play the role of best friend, father figure and doctor all rolled up into one.

Hockey careers are fleeting but it’s not worth disability for the rest of a young man’s life. It’s these decisions that torture trainers. They want to help the team but they refuse to do so at the risk of a young man’s welfare.

Indeed, the job comes to these decisions and laundry – lots of laundry. Unfortunately in life, you can’t just rinse and repeat.

Monday, February 2, 2009


A Boston College hockey tradition is underway. The 2009 Beanpot tournament featuring Northeastern, Harvard, Boston College & Boston University is underway for college hockey bragging rights in the Boston area.

The two semi final matchups were played today.

The first semi final saw former Express Brandon Yip's Boston University take on Harvard.

Harvard got off to a good start by opening up a 2-0 lead. But BU stormed back to even the score heading to the third period. BU then took the lead in the third before Harvard tied it on a goal by Pier Olivier Michaud with 5:27 left in the third.

But with 1:46 left in the third Boston University broke the deadlock on a goal by Jason Lawerence.

Fourth year forward and Express alum Brandon Yip had 1 assist in the win.

BU will be seeking their 29th Beanpot championship.

Brandon Yip will see a familiar face in the championship game in former Express teammate Tyler McNeely. They played together back when the Express were based out of Coquitlam in 04-05.

McNeely's Northeastern squad prevailed in their semi final matchup 6-1 over Brock Bradford's defending National Champion Boston College Eagles.

The two teams traded goals in the first 11 minutes of the contest. Then the 3rd ranked Northeastern Huskies exploded for 3 goals in a span of 6:23 on goals by Louis Liotti, Dennis McCauley and Steve Quailer in the second period.

NE rounded out the scoring on a goal by Chris Donovan in the third. The goal for Donovan completed his big night as he also had 3 assists.

Former Merritt Centennial Brad Thiessen was outstanding between the pipes turning aside 45 of 46 Boston College shots. Including all 38 shots he faced in the final 2 periods.

Former Express captain Tyler McNeely didn't register a point.

Northeastern will be seeking their 5th Beanpot title and first since 1988.

The championship game will be played on Monday February 9th.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Heading into a pair of games vs. the Eagles this week for the Express their fate was simple, if they lost both games in regulation they were eliminated from the playoffs. The Eagles would have a 18 point lead on the Express with Burnaby having 9 games left in the schedule. The tie-breakers were in Surrey's favour.

Wednesday, Surrey came into Bill Copeland Sports Centre looking to make funeral arrangements on the Express season.

They got off to a good start by opening up a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of play on goals by Grant Toulmin and Andrew Wallace on a powerplay.

Burnaby couldn't afford to get rattled with Surrey getting off to a fast start. There was still plenty of hockey left to play. They just had to chip away and try and get back in it.

That's exactly what they did. John Digness contined his strong play by pulling the Express back within one by scoring a 2nd period goal. Surrey took their lead into the third, but less than 6 minutes into the third period, the game was tied on a goal by Jacob Verheyden.

Surrey re-stored their lead with 8 minutes remaining when the Eagles scored their 2nd powerplay goal of the game when Chris Santiago found the back of the net.

The Express couldn't pull even and the Eagles iced the game when Brennan Strang hit the empty net.

The game ended on a sour note when Luke Challier was called for instigating when he took a shot at Eagles forward Andrew Christ. Challier was given an instigator penalty which resulted in an automatic one game suspension for Challier since the instigator penalty came in the final 5 minutes of the third period.

Final score Eagles 4 Express 2.


Surrey 22 *Season low for shots allowed in a game for the Express this season.
Burnaby 33

3 Stars

3-Grant Toulmin (1G,2A)
2-John Digness (1G)
1-Tommy Tartaglione (31 saves,W)

Surrey's win put the Express on the brink of elimination. They opened up a 16 point lead on Burnaby with just 10 games left in the Express schedule. The win was Surrey's 7th straight over the Express in the season series.

The teams came together again Friday night for the re-match with Surrey looking to put an end to the Express slim playoff aspirations.

Former Express Spencer Bennett looked to put a dagger in the heart of his former team early. He was hooked on a breakaway hindering his shot attempt and was awarded a penalty shot.

On the penalty shot, Bennett looked to beat Chan to the stick side, but the Express netminder turned him aside to keep the game scoreless.

Bennett's penalty shot was 4th for the opposition vs. the Express this season. Mike Chan has been between the pipes for all 4 and stopping 3 of them. The only player to beat him on a penalty shot is Andrew Wallace when he scored in overtime on December 31st to give the Eagles a 4-3 win.

Bennett had a chance at redemption moments later when he was sent in on another breakaway. Again, he was turned aside when Chan came up large with a glove save to keep the game scoreless.

Those saves proved to be huge as moments later Burnaby opened the scoring when Garrick Perry banked the puck in off Tommy Tartaglione to open the scoring for the Express.

The lead didn't last as the Eagles pulled even on a powerplay. Anthony Bardaro scored on a sharp angle beating Mike Chan on the glove side.

One of big reasons why the Eagles had won the last 7 matchups between the two teams has been their powerplay. The goal by Bardaro was Surrey's 18th powerplay goal in their last 53 opportunities vs. the Express.

Now for as dreadful as the Express penalty killing has been vs. Surrey in the last 7 meetings, their powerplay had been just as dismal. Heading into Friday's matchup, the Express powerplay was just 2 for 43 in the last 7 games.

In the 2nd, Burnaby worked on improving their powerplay numbers vs. the Eagles when Nathan Westover blasted home a one timer on the pass from Reid Edmondson to restore the Express lead.

Hear Westover's blast here.

That rare powerplay goal by Burnaby vs. Surrey was followed moments later followed by another one with Dylan Herold scoring off a centering pass from Jacob Verheyden opening up a 3-1 lead.

Hear Herold's goal here.

Burnaby pushed their lead to 3 before the 2nd period was done when captain Tim Holloway walked out from behind the net and centred the puck, Herold and Verheyden were both in front and it was Verheyden scoring putting home the pass to give the Express a 4-1 lead.

Hear Verheyden's goal here.

Surrey pulled back within 2 midway through the third when Adam Hartley found Grant Toulmin wide open in front of Mike Chan, Toulmin had all day and made no mistake beating Chan with a deke to the stick side.

That would be it for the Eagles on this night. Verheyden rounded out the scoring by hitting the empty net on a breakaway for his 2nd goal and 3rd point of the game.

Final score,

Express 5 Eagles 2.


Burnaby 35
Surrey 32

3 stars

3-Jacob Verheyden (2G,1A)
2-Dylon Herold (1G,1A)
1-Tim Holloway (1A)

It's fitting Burnaby's 2nd line of Holloway, Herold and Verheyden swept the 3 stars on this night. They combined for 3G, 3A, 6PTS.

Burnaby's top line of Digness, Edmondson and Perry contributed to Burnaby's balanced attack on this night, the top line finished with 1G, 3A, 4PTS.

The efforts of Burnaby's 3rd line of Matt Frydrysek, Danny Merth and Trevor Milner can't be ignored. They didn't hit the scoresheet, but provided energy shift after shift after shift. Most of their time on the ice was spent in Surrey's end of the rink. Just grinding the game out and working the Eagles defence in their zone. Any coach will tell you as long as the puck isn't in their end of the rink, something is going right.

The win staved off elimination from playoff contention for the Express. However, the Express are still on life support and on the verge of being read their last rights. Surrey's 3-0 win over Alberni Valley Saturday afternoon restored Surrey's 16 point lead on the Express. They're in Westside on Tuesday night, a Eagle win will clinch them a playoff spot.