For the first time in over 2 years the Express played to a tie 3-3 Sunday afternoon with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. The tie assured the Express would go undefeated in 3 home games this week picking up 2 wins and a tie collecting 5 of a possible 6 points.
Mike Krgovich played the hero for the Express with a buzzer beater wrap around in the third period to tie the game at 3 at 19:59 of the third period.
Alberni Valley got a break to give the visitors the early lead when Khaleed Devji had trouble handling the puck and it was centred to Casey Bailey who tapped it home to open the scoring.
The Express had a reply in quick succession when Garrick Perry scored at 7:41, that was followed 13 seconds later by a great shot by Jason Grecica wiring a shot top shelf off the wing over the glove of Frank Slubowski following a drop pass from Massimo Lamacchia.
The goal extended Grecia's point streak to 5 games, 2 goals and 3 assists. Lamacchia is riding a 3 game point streak of his own 2 goals and 3 assists.
In the 2nd period Mitch Pacey was called for a 5 minute fighting major, 2 minutes for instigating and a misconduct penalty when he went after Alberni Valley's Ryan Renz after the Express iced the puck. What resulted was the Bulldogs getting a 7 minute powerplay.
The Express penalty killers which has had some success in recent home games did a pretty admirable job considering the circumstances and killed off the first 5 minutes of the shorthanded situation before Sawyer Mick buried his own rebound to tie the game at 2. That goal would be the only damage inflicted on the Express considering the Bulldogs could score at will once the five minute major came into effect.
Alberni Valley's forechecking pressure resulted in the Dogs taking the lead before the period was done. Josh Mitchell pressured Mark Begert into a turnover and Mitchell fed Bailey who buried the feed for his second of the game to give the Bulldogs the lead going into the third.
Looking to snap their 4 game losing streak, Alberni Valley started strong in the third giving the Express some trouble coming out of their own end. As the period progressed however, the fatigue of a Bulldogs team playing their third game in 3 nights and a rested Express team having Saturday off saw Coquitlam turn up the heat in the latter half of the third period as they looked for the equalizer.
That equalizer came in the knick of time when Krgovich scored his buzzer beater to tie the game at 3. Krgovich has given the Express attack the boost expected when he was acquired from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. He has points in all 3 games he's dressed for the Express 2 goals and 2 assists.
Both teams had chances to win it in the 10 minutes of overtime played. 5 minutes 4 on 4 and 5 minutes 3 on 3, but nothing was decided. Khaleed Devji preserved the tie with his finest save in the 3 on 3 with a glove save off Casey Bailey as he made a bid for his 3rd of the game.
The Express goaltender was strong for them all week going undefeated in all 3 games stopping 109 of the 115 shots he faced.
The 5 points for the Express allowed them to remain tied with Alberni Valley for 5th place in the Coastal Conference with 25 points and the two teams sit just 2 points back of 4th place Victoria.
Mike Chan was stellar in the Express last tie game over 2 years ago stopping 41 of 44 shots including all 15 he faced in overtime in a 3-3 decision in Powell River September 6th 2008.
The Express are back in action Wednesday night in Langley.