After a winless three game road trip for the Express last weekend in the Interior, the table was set for the Express to respond on the Island.
Well, if there is a response from the Express on its way, it didn't show Friday night in Nanaimo.
The Express lost their fourth straight game 3-1 Friday night to the Clippers.
Gord and I expected the Express to show they were going to turn their game around and have a positive response in the opening game of the weekend.
We expected the Express to set the tone early. Be physical and send a message that things will be different for the Express on this night.
Speaking with the coaches prior to the game, there was talk of the Express looking to be agressive on the forecheck, and try and get off to a good start.
It didn't happen. The strong forecheck, and physical play and strong start came from the Clippers who were seeking their first win on home ice this season.
Nanaimo swarmed Burnaby in the opening 20 minutes. And the Clippers were rewarded with their strong start. They opened the scoring on a powerplay when Cody Bremner dished the puck across to Luc Olivier Blain who chipped it over Harrison May.
4 minutes following Blain's goal, the Clippers struck again as Carsen Schell from the right boards put a pass on the tape of Joe Perry in the high slot who beat May with a quick wrist shot stick side.
There was no positives for the Express in the opening period. Burnaby was outshot 13-2 in the games opening period. Both of Burnaby's shots came from long range.
After a chance to regroup after the opening period, Gord and I expected a response from the Express to try and battle back. The Express were better and the play evened out a little.
But it was Nanaimo adding to their lead. The Clippers won a faceoff in the Express zone and Kyle Weber's point shot was stopped, but Joe Perry put home the rebound for his 2nd of the game to give Nanaimo a 3-0 lead.
The Express did get on the board on the powerplay shortly after Perry's goal when Jimmy Geerin's point shot was stopped by Loic Boivin and Jon Puskar banged home the rebound for his 7th goal of the season and first goal in 5 games.
Nanaimo took their lead to the third period and in the final 20 minutes, Gord and I expected the Express to pick their game up in an attempt to start a comeback. That push from the Express never came.
There was no desperation. Boivin wasn't overly busy and Nanaimo just allowed the clock to do its thing and count down to zero.
Clippers 3 Express 1.
There is nothing postive to take out of this game from an Express point of view. The periods of strong play were very few and very far between. This game in a way is a polar opposite game than the Salmon Arm matchup a week ago from this perespective, in Salmon Arm the Express lost 7-2 but the game was much closer that what shows in the boxscore. On this night in Nanaimo, the game wasn't as close as a 3-1 loss shows in the boxscore. To be brutually honest the Express didn't show up at all.
It doesn't get any eaiser in Victoria tommorow night. The question becomes can the Express respond with a strong performance tommorow? Who knows. They were supposed to respond with a strong game Friday in Nanaimo. Instead, they laid an egg. The only way to find out will be when we see how they play when the puck drops at 7:15 Saturday night.
3. Victor Newell
2. Carson Schell
1. Joe Perry