Monday, September 28, 2009
NEARLY PERFECT SEPTEMBER FOR EXPRESS
A record of 5-0-0-1 in the month of September for the Burnaby Express and it couldn't get much better. The only blemish, a 4-3 overtime loss to the Powell River Kings.
This weekend the Express picked up a pair of wins. 7-2 Saturday vs. Merritt, and 3-2 Sunday afternoon vs. Nanaimo.
Saturday was the return engagement between the Express and Centennials. The Express took the first game of the home and home between the two teams 7-2 Wednesday night.
The rematch followed a very similar script from Wednesday's game. Saturday, the Cents opened the scoring on the powerplay with a goal from Jeff Jones.
However, unlike Wednesday the Express didn't wait until the 2nd period for a reply. That came exactly 7 minutes after Jones' goal when Garrick Perry scored a powerplay goal with a wrist shot that was tipped past Cole Holowenko.
The 2nd period Saturday followed the script from Wednesday, the Express picked their play and really started to take it too Merrit. However, unlike Wednesday the goals didn't come fast and furious. Merritt's 16 year old netminder was putting on a show turning aside shot after shot from the Express.
Finally after all kinds of Express pressure, the dam finally broke. Jimmy Geerin scored his first goal of the season when his screened point shot got past Holowenko to give the Express a 2-1 lead.
Hear Gerrin's first Express goal here.
Now that the dam was broken, the goals just came flooding in for the Express. Brad Reid scored with 31 seconds left in the 2nd period to give the Express a 3-1 lead. Reid was the beneficiary of a Jon Puskar pass intended for Rich Manley that was tipped right to Reid who tapped it home.
Hear Reid's goal here.
Jon Puskar added his 5th of the season in the third period as he took a drop pass from Matt Ridley to finish off a 3 on 1 to give the Express a 4-1 lead.
That was followed by Garrick Perry's 2nd of the game. The 6-1 goal came 29 seconds after Perry's tally when Clay Wilson banged home a loose puck off a point shot for Wilson's first BCHL goal.
Hear Clay Wilson's first BCHL goal here.
Again like Wednesday, Captain Dylan Herold chipped in with the point after scoring the Express 7th goal to give them a 7-1 lead. The Express scored 4 goals in a span of 5:56 in the third period. Going back to the Geerin goal in the 2nd period, the Express erupted for 6 goals in span of 14:34.
Saturday's final act followed the same script from Wednesday as the Centennials rounded out the scoring as David Sabey scored a powerplay goal with just over 2 minutes remaining in the third period.
Express 7 Centennials 2.
Much like Wednesday it was a balanced offensive attack for the Express who had 10 players hit the scoresheet.
Nick Energren got the start in goal for the Express and picked up his 2nd win of the season stopping 22 of 24 shots he faced. Energren improves his career record to 3-0.
The Express did lose Zac Ashdown who was favoring his right leg after being hit into the end boards after dishing off the puck. No word yet on how long he will be out of the lineup.
3. Matt Ridley - 1A, Setup Jon Puskar's third period goal.
2. Garrick Perry - Scored 2 goals including the first of the night for the Express.
1. Jimmy Geerin - The steady Express blueliner had 1G, 3A in the win.
The Express didn't have much time to rest up for their next opponent the Nanaimo Clippers who came to the Bill Copeland Sports Centre for an afternoon affair.
Delays marred Nanaimo's travel plans Sunday as they didn't get to the rink until 2:00 for the 2:30 start.
This game would be looked upon as one of the first real tests of this Express team. For as strong of a start the Express have had this season, they haven't played any top teams in the BCHL. The combined record of Burnaby's opposition heading into Sunday's game was 9-12-0-1. Nanaimo isn't the elite team they have been in years pasts. But, no one would ever look past a Bill Bestwick coached team which had 3 wins in their first 7 games.
Nanaimo didn't show any signs of bus legs in the opening 20 minutes as both teams skated hard. The game had signs of reaching the boiling point late in the first period when Konrad Sander was hit into the gate of the Express bench while heading off.
In the 2nd period the Express lost their best goal scorer early in the period when Jon Puskar was ejected for checking from behind when he hit a Nanaimo player into the boards in front of the penalty box.
The first goal of the came off the stick of Dylan Herold as he scored off a quick wrist shot from the left circle just shy of the 14 minute mark of the 2nd period.
Burnaby added to their lead just 54 seconds later with the Express on the powerplay, Rich Manley picked up the pick in his own zone and picked up speed and fired a laser of a wrist shot over the shoulder of Loic Boivin to give the Express a 2-0 lead.
Manley's goal showed off one of his new tools in his 2nd tour of duty with the Express. Manley's dramatically improved his shot from 2 years ago. In 07-08, Manley doesn't even take a shot on that exact same play.
Manley helped the Express add to their lead in the third period when he put a perfect pass on the stick of Luke Challier who put home the feed to give the Express a 3-0 lead. Challier was placed on the top line following the ejection of Jon Puskar.
The goal was a big sigh of relief for the Express agitator. It was Challier's first goal of the season after having so many chances in the first 5 games and couldn't finish.
With the Express up by 3, they began to sit back to protect their lead and Nanaimo started to take the play over.
Former Express property Cody Bremner scored his 8th of the season at 13:15 to snap Harrison May's shutout bid. That goal was followed less than 5 minutes later by a goal from Mike Domsodi to cut the lead to one.
But that would be as close as Nanaimo would come as the Express held on for the win.
Express 3 Clippers 2.
The win is the third straight for the Express. They finish the month of September 5-0-0-1 and sit atop of the BCHL's Coastal Conference standings.
3. Cody Bremner. Scored his 8th goal of the season in a losing effort for Nanaimo. His 8 goals are 2nd best in the BCHL behind only Penticton's Denver Manderson who has 9.
2. Luke Challier. Scored his first goal of the season which was the game winning goal. Challier added an assist.
1. Rich Manley. Also had 1 goal and 1 assist for the Express. Manley has points in each of the Express first 6 games.
Things get more difficult for the Express starting this weekend with a 3 game Interior road trip with stops in Salmon Arm, Trail, and Vernon.