Powell River is a perfect 5-0 this season vs. the Express after their 5-1 win Friday night. In fact, Powell River's dominance over the Express has dated back more than two years since the last time the Express came away with 2 points over the class of the Coastal Conference.
In this latest Powell River win, they jumped on the Express early scoring twice in the opening 4 minutes on a goal by Brendan Forbes when he tipped a Braden Pears point shot. That goal came following a pair of Express turnovers in their own zone. Moments later Craig Dalrymple made a smart pinch in the Express zone to poke the puck deep that allowed Klay Kachur to set up Matt Garbowsky's BCHL leading 40th goal of the season.
Allowing the top defensive team in the BCHL to get an early lead put the Express in a tough position. They did respond to get back within one when Jason Grecica finished off a perfectly executed 2 on 1 with Massimo Lamacchia less than 4 minutes after Garbowsky's goal.
The game then settled down for awhile. In the latter half of the second period the Kings got a scare when Matthew Hutchinson collided with Garbowsky in the Express zone. Hutchinson was sent to the dressing room for the night after being assessed a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for kneeing. Garbowsky also went to the room and didn't return for the rest of the game.
Powell River had a chance to put the game away with the extended powerplay, but the Express penalty killers came up with a gutsy effort to keep the Kings lead to just one. Notable highlights from that penalty killing effort included Massimo Lammachia using all the heart and desire in his body to muscle the puck out of the defensive zone, Matt Mazzarolo laying solid hit on a Kings player just inside the Express blueline and some key shot blocks.
The Express came out of that situation unscathed and went to the third period still down by just a goal.
Midway through the final frame the penalty killers were called upon again when Austin Carroll was sent off for tripping. This time the Kings made sure to take advantage of the opportunity. Andrew Pettitt snapped home a feed from Cohen Adair in the high slot to give Powell River a 3-1 lead.
That was followed by some of the best chances the Express had all night on goaltender Micheal Garteig. He stopped Destry Straight and Malcom Mckinney on breakaways moments apart.
Powell River iced the game in the final minute with a powerplay goal by Brendan Hawryluk and Brendon Forbes' second of the game.
The 5-1 final put the finishing touches on Powell River's 2nd Coastal Conference regular season championship in 3 seasons. The Kings officially clinched a first round bye with the win.
The loss was the 5th in the last 6 games for the Express. Cowichan Valley also wound up on the losing end going down 6-3 in Salmon Arm with former Capital Mike Hammond scoring a pair of goals vs. his old team. The Express and Caps remain tied for the 7th seed in the Coastal conference with 46 points. The Express still have 2 games in hand on the Caps.