The BCHL opened for business for its 50th season Friday night. In Coquitlam the Vees spoiled the home opener for the Express winning 5-2.
The Vees won it in a game in which they never trailed.
It was a back and forth affair especially in the opening 20 minutes that saw 4 goals traded between the teams.
Travis St. Denis formerly of Trail and acquired from Cowichan Valley in the off-season opened the scoring midway through the first period snapping a shot past Khaleed Devji.
The Express powerplay pulled them even shortly there after as Alex Kerfoot showed his great vison and hockey sense as he cruised down the left boards and waited then fired a perfect pass on the tape of John Siemer for his first BCHL goal. Mitch Nardi drew the second assist. For Siemer, Kerfoot and Nardi it was their first BCHL points.
The game didn't stay tied for long as Joey Benik's point shot hit Mike Moran at the side of the Express net and bounced in.
Coquitlam at times in the latter portion of the first period showed some good physicality with some big hits thrown by Evan Campbell and Ben Murphy.
Penticton's response to the Express physical presence got them into trouble late in the period. With a delayed penalty in effect, Beau Beaulieu was called for checking from behind and given a game misconduct. That resulted in 4 minutes of power play time for the Express.
The Express again struck with the man advantage. Again, the goal looked like a carbon copy of their first this time with Clinton Atkinson showing patience going down the left wall and firing a perfect pass on the tape of Captain Alex Petan who tapped it past Micheal Gartieg to even the game at 2 after one period.
The Vees started the second period by starting to take control of the game.
Troy Stetcher gave the Vees their third lead of the game when his point shot deflected off Steven Layani and got past Devji.
Alex Kerfoot thought he had a tap in for his first BCHL goal but Garrett Hedrickson for Penticton blocked the shot with his stick and bailed out his goaltender.
The Express came out strong to open the third period with a number of good shifts controlling the puck in the Vees zone. The vibe at that point in time in the game was that the Express would be rewarded for their hard work with the equalizing goal.
It wasn't meant to be however as Joey Benik scored on his own rebound to give the Vees a two goal lead against the flow of play. Then just 40 seconds later the Vees added some insurance as Steven Fogarty roofed the puck over the glove over Khaleed Devji. Those goals took the wind out of the sails of the Express and killed all the momentum they were gaining in the opening minutes of the period before the Vees broke it open.
Special teams was a strong aspect for the Express on this night. They went 2 for 3 on the powerplay. And were a perfect 6 for 6 killing penalties.
The Vees outshot the Express on this night 36-23.
Mike Moran led the Vees attack with 1 goal and 2 assists. While Joey Benik who is wearing the captain's C while Logan Johnston serves his 20 game suspension had 1 goal and 1 assist.
Coquitlam now heads to Alberni Valley for their second game of the season vs. the Bulldogs Saturday. They return home in a week for another game vs. an Interior conference foe their expansion cousins from 2001 the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.