Saturday, January 22, 2011


It was back on the road again for the Express Friday night in Penticton. And it was back in the win column for the Express for the third straight game with a 5-3 decision over the Vees.

The win was a huge confidence booster for the Express as they knocked off one of the top teams in the BCHL.

Destry Straight continues to pile up the points as he helped get the Express off to a good start scoring his 18th and 19th goals of the season in the first period less than 2 minutes apart. The fast start for the Express quickly chased Penticton goaltender Billy Faust in favour of Joel Rumpel after Faust allowed 2 goals on just 4 shots.

Click to here to listen to Straight's first period goals.

The goals extended Straight's point streak to 7 games with 5 goals and 8 assists for 13 points. He also has 7 goals and 12 assists for 19 points in 12 games since returning from the CJHL Top Prospects game in early December.

Brown University committee Massimo Lamacchia extended the Express lead in the opening minute of the second period poking home a loose puck. Lamacchia now has a 5 game point streak of his own going with 5 goals and 7 assists. And he's put up 9 goals and 11 assists for 20 points in his last 13 games.

The Express did all this with not too many shots on goal.

Penticton finally got on the board winning a faceoff in the Express zone to begin a powerplay and Brendan O'Donnell wired a wrist shot through the legs of Khaleed Devji.

Just over a minute later the Express got a key break to restore their three goal lead when Riley Mcintosh dumped the puck into the Vees zone, Rumpel went out to play it but it hit a stanchion on the glass and bounced in front of the open net and Jason Grecica poked it in.

At one point in the second period the Express had managed to score 4 goals on just 8 shots in the game.

It was far from a well officiated hockey game. There were plenty of penalties throughout the course of the game. That included a sequence of 4 straight penalties called that saw the teams play over a minute of 3 on 3 hockey in the first period.

In the latter half of the second period the Express had to weather back to back Vee powerplays when Cody Castro was called for a questionable cross checking penalty. Then Garrick Perry was somehow called for checking to the head when he went shoulder to shoulder with a Vees player.

Perry's penalty came late in the 2nd period and accompanied with an automatic 10 minute misconduct. The Express survived the Vees powerplays and took their lead into the third period. But they had to do it without their captain for the first half of the period. Perry was having another strong game. He was at his best on the penalty killing unit.

Midway through the third period the Express still had their three goal lead, Penticton needing to do something to spark a comeback pulled goaltender Rumpel while on the powerplay for an extra attacker to give the Vees a 6 on 4. Garrett Milan was the Vees 6th man and as he stormed off the bench and got into the play the puck came to him and he wired home a wrist shot to pull the Vees within two with 9 minutes to go.

That goal woke the Vees up and they came with their best push of the hockey game looking to complete the comeback. The Vees came at the Express in waves, but the Express kept on playing strong as the clock counted down.

Joey Laleggia pulled the Vees within one with just under 4 minutes to go as he scored his 21st of the season from his point position as his screen shot snuck past Devji.

One last surge for Penticton looking for the equalizer came up with nothing as the Express held on. Garrick Perry got some poetic justice for his questionable penalty in the second period as he iced the game with an empty net goal.

Click to here to listen to Perry's empty net goal.

The Express win combined with Alberni Valley's 4-3 overtime win over Cowichan Valley now gives the Express sole possession of the 7th and final playoff spot with a one point lead on the Caps. The Express do remain 3 points back of Alberni Valley for 6th. And the Express have 2 games in hand on both Cowichan Valley and Alberni.

Next stop on the road trip is Vernon Saturday night at 7pm.

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