The Express got three goals from defenceman, Cole Gelley's first two goals of the year and a powerplay goal from Riley Mcintosh to lead the Express attack in a 4-3 win over the Victoria Grizzlies.
It took Cole Gelley until his 29th game to score his first Express goal, but it didn't take long for that goal to come on this night as 1:35 into the first period Gelley's screened point shot found the back of the net past Cole Gorchynski.
For a third straight game, it didn't take long for the Express to find themselves trailing in the first period. Victoria quickly pulled into the lead on goals by Joel Lowry and Mitch Lebreche before the game was 7 minutes old.
The Express did get a boost as Mike Krgovich returned after a two game absence. But played without veteran defenceman Matt Mazzarolo.
A Victoria penalty for too many men at the 20:00 mark of the first period saw the Express open the middle period with a powerplay. It was then a 5 on 3 for the Express when Graeme Strukoff was called for tripping in the opening minute of the second period.
Riley Mcintosh pinched on on that powerplay when it was back to a 5 on 4 found a loose puck at the side of the Victoria net to pull the Express even at 2.
On this night the Express tried to stretch the Victoria defence with long passes out of their own zone to spring the offence. Justin Georgeson was the beneficiary of one of those passes that allowed him to walk in alone on a breakaway. He made the perfect move on the Victoria netminder but he slid his backhand through the legs of Gorchynski but slid it past the near post.
The Express won the special teams battle on this night. They got the powerplay goal from Mcintosh in the second period. Plus the penalty killing was a perfect 3 for 3.
Following the conclusion of a Cole Gelley hooking penalty, he came out of the box and Mike Krgovich fired a perfect pass on the tape to spring Gelley on a breakaway who looked like a 30 goal scorer snapping a shot to the stick side of Gorchynski for his second of the night to give the Express their second lead of the night.
Joel Lowry pulled Victoria even before the period was done as he showed great patience to cut around the Express defence then slide the puck past Khaleed Devji to tie the game at 3.
Massimo Lamacchia broke the deadlock midway through the third period when he took a fine feed from Jared Eng who pinched in from his point position to the half boards to support strong board play from Alex Petan and Destry Straight in the corner.
It was then Khaleed Devji's game to close out. He put the finishing touches on a fine perforamce in the final minutes to keep the Express in the lead. Devji finished with 29 saves.
The line of Malcom Mckinney, Jake Charles and Austin Carroll didn't hit the scoresheet, but they had a strong game in a third line support role. They were banging the Victoria defence in the offensive zone, moving their feet and giving the Express good energy minutes all game long.
Both the Express and Capitals remaining deadlocked for the 7th and final playoff spot in the Coastal Conference playoff race after the Caps finished their Interior 2 game road trip 1-1 with a 4-3 win in Merritt. The Express still have 2 games in hand with 7 games remaining on their schedule to just 5 for Cowichan Valley.
The Express are 2-2 on their current 5 game home stand and will look to have a above .500 mark on the home stand when they host Langley Chiefs on Tuesday night.