After opening the Island road trip with a 6-4 loss in Nanaimo, the Express continued their trip Saturday night in Cowichan Valley where the Capitals blanked the Express 3-0.
16 year old Laurent Brossoit stopped all 35 shots he faced including 20 in the third period to post the shutout for the Capitals. It was the 4th time this season that the Express have been blanked in a game.
Mike Hammond opened the scoring on Cowichan Valley's first shot of the game wiring a shot top shelf glove side on Harrison May.
Hammond had a hand on the Caps second goal in the 2nd period as he danced through the Express defence then put a pass on the tape of Nick Anderson who had a tap in at the side of the Express net to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead.
The 2nd period was where the Express let the game slip through their hands. They had 5 powerplays in the middle frame but couldn't score on any of them. Included in those powerplays, was a 5 on 3 advantage for 1:23.
The only team to score with the Express on the powerplay was Cowichan Valley as Joey Massingham scored a shorthanded goal on a 2 on 1 break as he wired a shot over the shoulder of Harrison May to give the Caps a 3-0 lead.
The Express pressed in the third period looking to at least break the goose egg but couldn't get a puck past Laurent Brossoit who came up with 20 saves in the third period to post the shutout.
Sunday, the Express travelled through the beautiful scenery of central Vancouver Island en route to Alberni Valley to wrap up the Island road swing.
It was the 2nd meeting of the season between the Express and the Bulldogs.
The game was scoreless after the first period. Malcom McKinney was one Express player who had a number of decent scoring chances, but couldn't bury one past Dogs goaltender Frank Slubowski.
Late in the first period saw a scary moment, Chris Van Duynhoven fired a slap shot from the blueline, and Alberni Valley forward Warren Muir went down to block the shot, and ended up taking the shot fortunately in the helmet. Another inch another way and Muir is taking that puck in the face. Muir was rattled and went to the room but returned for the start of the 2nd period.
The game remained scoreless until the 14 minute mark of the 2nd period when Alberni Valley's Johnny Rogic lifted a loose puck over former Bulldog Harrison May to open the scoring.
The lead didn't last long as just 30 seconds later Jimmy Geerin went to the net and re-directed a pass from Brad Reid past Slubowski for Gerrin's first goal of the season to tie the game.
Alberni Valley re-stored their lead before the period was done. David Dziurzynski layed a pass on to the tape of a streaking Kevin Ross who was in the clear and Ross beat Harrison May with a deke to the backhand to give Alberni Valley a 2-1 lead heading to the dressing room.
The Dogs added some insurance in the third period on a beautiful passing play off the rush when Jesse Halikas made a nice tip pass on the tape of Johnny Rogic who wired his 2nd of the game upstairs on Harrison May to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead.
Then with 4 minutes left in the third period, Alex Petan was called for a double minor for high sticking. While on that powerplay for Alberni Valley, came the game's second scary moment. Luke Fenske's point shot went off a stick and struck Chris Van Dyunhoven square in the face falling the Express defenceman instantly. This time unlike when Van Duynhoven's shot connected with Warren Muir in the helmet, this one caught the Express defenceman and he was in instant agony.
Van Dyunhoven suffered a broken jaw in two places and was taken to the hospital immediately. The Express defenceman travelled home with the team last night was scheduled for surgery Monday morning.
It is amazing how the game of hockey can be a game of inches. The difference of a few inches saved Warren Muir from taking a Chris Van Duynhoven square in the face hitting his helmet. While Fenske's shot a few inches the other way catches the Express defenceman in the face. Ironically, Warren Muir who blocked the Van Dyunhoven shot in the first period was on the ice at the time of Vandy's injury.
Alberni did round out the scoring on a powerplay goal by Mark MacMillan to make the final 4-1 in favour of Alberni Valley.
The biggest concern at this point is Chris Van Duynhoven, get well soon Vandy. Everyone is thinking about you.
And thank you to the Alberni Valley fans expressing their thoughts and best wishes for Van Duynhoven to Alberni Valley Bulldogs broadcaster Evan Hammond who relayed the support to me last night.
The great people in Alberni Valley continue to prove why they are the best fans in the BCHL. 100% pure class. My hats off to you AV.