After some tough games for Cole Huggins recently, he bounced back with avengence Sunday with a performance that reminded BCHL followers why he was considered one of the top goaltenders in the league earlier this season.
Huggins turned aside 60 of 62 shots sent his way, but it wasn't enough as the Eagles blanked the Express 2-0.
Michael Santaguida posted his 2nd consecutive shutout for the Eagles turning aside all 32 Express shots sent his way.
For both of these two teams, their starts post Christmas have gone in completely opposite directions.
The Express have dropped all three games. Losing a pair to Langley. Then to Surrey Sunday. For the Eagles, their weekend began with back to back wins over Mainland division leading Chilliwack followed by the shutout of the Express.
It was an evenly played first period between the two teams.
The opening minutes of the game for the Express was notable with their physical start to the game making sure no check was left unfinished. The Express physicality was having an impact on the Eagles as a number of players were retaliating with slashes and chops following the Express hits.
One of the hits proved costly for the Surrey Eagles as Malcom McKinney's hit on recently acquired Troy Paterson knocked the 20 year old veteran out of the game.
Cole Huggins looked confident with a number of the saves he made on the afternoon in the first period. He was aggressive and challenging shooters in his crease. His best save came off Brett Mulcahy on a two on nothing shorthanded breakaway.
Santaguida showed his aggressive style in the first period as well with a number of stops.
Surrey outshot the Express 16-13 in the first period.
After a fairly even first period, the game drastically tilted in the Eagles favour in the second.
They ramped their game up and began to dominate the puck possession and play in the Express end of the ice. That would result in a significant increase in shots sent Huggins way.
The Eagles opened the scoring on a lucky break. Craig Wyzomirski's shot from the left point hit the stick of Express rookie Luca Leone and over the shoulder of Huggins.
Surrey kept up the relentless pressure on the Express in the second period. And their size and strength advantage started to take over as well.
And that was a prominent factor on the second goal for Surrey.
Nicolas Pierog went to the boards along with two Express players and came up with the puck and muscled it into the slot and got a backhand away and at the side of the net Mason Blacklock was able to tip it past Cole Huggins.
Surrey's second period dominance was reflected in a 27-4 advantage in shots.
Were it not for Huggins, the score could have been worse for the Express. He was as stellar and confident as i've seen him all season.
Huggins turned aside all 19 shots from the Eagles in the third period.
The Express picked up their shot total in the final frame, but couldn't find a way to beat Santaguida. Their best chance to score came when John Siemer nearly scored a goal of the year as he beat an Eagle defender then with one hand on his stick nearly slid it past Santaguida. Instead the shot went just past the post.
It was a tough loss for the Express to take considering how it spoiled such a fantastic performance from Huggins.
In the final two periods, the Eagles outshot the Express 46-19.
After the three straight wins for the Eagles which include two vs. Chilliwack, they now trail the Chiefs by one point for first place in the Mainland division.
The Express remain one point up on Langley in the division. But now the Rivermen have two games in hand.
It's official, the Coquitlam Express and Langley Rivermen are in a fight for the final playoff spot in the Mainland division after the Rivermen swept a home and home with the Express Friday and Saturday and have 3 straight wins in head to head meetings between the two clubs since the middle of December.
Langley is now nipping on the heels of the Express sitting one point back of the current occupiers of 4th place with Langley having a game in hand.
The Express have 22 games left in the season and Langley has 23. There's two head to head meetings left between the two teams. And from here until the end of the regular season, these two clubs are likely going to be jockeying for positioning.
The last three head to head meetings between the Express and the Rivermen have been pretty forgettable for the Express.
Saturday night the Rivermen dropped the Express 7-4. In the last three games between the two clubs the Rivermen have outscored the Express 21-8.
Like the night before, the Rivermen put the Express in an early hole. They quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead by the thirteen minute mark on goals by Austin Azurdia, Ben Butcher and Mario Puskarich on the powerplay.
The three goals saw Cole Huggins' night come to an end after just 9 shots. He was pulled for a second consecutive outing at the Langley Events Centre.
Like the night before, the Express didn't let the early hole effect their morale and they battled to try and get back into the game.
Zach Pryzbek got the Express on the board as he knocked a puck out of the air and in the net on the powerplay.
Old faithful Phil Zielonka kept up his scoring ways striking on the powerplay just over 4 minutes later to pull the Express within one and the Express nearly dug themselves out of a hole they put themselves in. That would turn out to be a theme on this night.
Last minute goals always seems to be such critical goals. And that proved to be the case again on Saturday.
Mario Puskarich broke out on an odd man rush for Langley and he found the late man coming late and Logan Smith snapped home the feed past Daniel Urbani with just 29 seconds remaining in the period to restore the two goal Langley lead going to the second period.
The Rivermen opened the period with a double minor powerplay after Travis Stephens was assessed a double minor for butt ending at the 20:00 mark of the first period.
The Express managed to kill off the penalties. Thanks in part to Langley's passive style and desire to set up for the perfect play.
John Siemer pulled the Express back within a goal as he took a pass from Phil Zielonka and used his great hands in tight and slide the puck through the legs of James Barr to pull the Express back within one at 12:10.
The penalty killers for the Express came up big again late in the second period killing off a 93 second two man advantage. From a Langley perspective, they might look at that one again as being a little too passive looking for the perfect play.
Entering the third period despite all the adversity for the Express, the game was still up for grabs.
Just over two minutes into the period, Austin Azurdia added his second of the game as he scored on a wrap around.
Then a shade under two minutes later the Rivermen struck again as Jacob Reichert cut into the slot and slid the puck through the legs of Urbani to make it a 6-3 lead.
John Siemer responded quickly for the prettiest goal of the night as he led a 3 on 2 rush and decided to keep the puck and dance around the defenceman and power the puck to the net and slide it past James Barr.
Derek Sutliffe capped off the scoring on an unfortunate break for the Express as Brandon Morley ran into the referee which resulted in a tunover and Sutliffe wired a shot over the glove of Urbani to make it a 7-4 game.
It was a busy night for the shot keepers in the game as the teams each had 44 shots on this night.
The Express will play their third game in as many days Sunday afternoon as they will host the Surrey Eagles for just the second time this season. And first since late September.
The BCHL returned from the Christmas break Friday night.
The Express begin their post Christmas schedule with a home and home with the Langley Rivermen.
In the opener, the Rivermen dropped the Express 6-1 in Coquitlam.
The win pulled Langley within three points of the Express for fourth place in the Mainland division and the final playoff spot. The Rivermen also have a game in hand on the Express.
The opening minutes started well for the Express. They peppered Langley goaltender James Barr with shots opening an early 8-2 advantage. They were physical on the forecheck and banging Rivermen bodies at every turn.
Malcom McKinney who played his first game in well over two months along with captain Mitch Nardi were notable for the number of hits they laid out.
But it was the visitors opening the scoring on the powerplay. Victor Dombrovskiy made a great cross ice pass to Ben Butcher who blasted it home on a one-timer past Cole Huggins.
And just after the Rivermen celebrations from the goal were dying down, they were celebrating again. Cole Huggins made two good saves on a scramble and finally on the third chance Derek Sutliffe found a loose puck and put it in the gaping net. The goal came just 19 seconds after the goal by Butcher.
In the blink of an eye the game had quickly turned in the visitors favour. The Express didn't let the quick slip up effect their game. They continued to press the Langley net now looking to get back into the game.
Phil Zielonka continued to do what he does best and that is score for the Express. He snapped home a powerplay goal from the slot at 15:13 to cut the Rivermen lead to 2-1. He now is riding a 19 game point streak with 18 goals and 11 assists for 29 points in that time after not registering a point in his first game with the Express. Just call him old faithful.
Both teams didn't show any signs of turkey legs with each team registering 15 shots in the first period.
Langley extended their lead on the powerplay in the second period. James Robinson took a feed on the left wing and cut in and slid a shot just inside the post and Huggins left skate to give Langley a 3-1 lead.
Another pair of quick goals added to the Rivermen lead early in the third period. Mario Puskarich and Mitch McLain scored 1:33 apart.
Former Express Evan Campbell rounded out the scoring wiring a rocket of a wrist shot over the shoulder of Huggins off the crossbar and in late in the third period.
Mario Puskarich, Evan Campbell and James Robinson each had multiple point nights. Not quite as dominant as the last time these two teams met before Christmas. Puskarich had 1 goal and 3 assists, and Robinson and Campbell each had a goal and an assist.
The Express did muster 47 shots on the night and James Barr was steady all night long in the Rivermen crease.
Special teams favoured Langley as they went 2 for 4 on the powerplay while the Express went 1 for 6.
The home and home between the two teams resumes Saturday night in Langley.
Prior to the game Saturday vs. Powell River, I spoke with a number of Express players and got their thoughts on what they're most looking forward to during the Christmas break. Plus if there's anyone listening, who still hasn't got any gift ideas for some of the players, they have some good hints for you.
During the second intermission of Saturday's game vs. Powell River I had a chance to speak with Express President Darcy Rota. We discussed the first half of the season. And looked forward to the final 24 games of the season.
Phil Zielonka scored his second overtime winner of the season just 30 seconds into the extra session to give the Express a 3-2 win over the Powell River Kings Saturday night. The win assured the Express would head into the holiday break on a winning note.
The Express got an early advantage in the special teams battle and it helped pace them to an early 2-0 lead. Coquitlam killed off an early elbowing penalty to John Siemer just 50 seconds into the game.
Then the Express powerplay went to work. Zach Pryzbek opened the scoring on the first Express powerplay of the game. He was persistent whacking away at the puck and was able to jam it under the pad of Braeden Ostepchuk.
Two minutes later on their second powerplay of the game they struck again. Off the rush John Siemer carried the puck into the Kings zone dished it into the middle to Phil Zielonka who quickly set up Brandon Morley who snapped the pass home for a 2-0 Express lead.
The Kings got one goal back before the period was done. Bradley Parker flipped the puck to the net and Matthew Dupont was able to direct the pass by Cole Huggins at 15:50.
The Express took their 2-1 lead to the third period. They had done a good job up to that point limiting the quality scoring chances against.
Powell River began to pick up the pace in the third period. A holding penalty in the opening minute of the third period to Zach Pryzbek gave the Kings their third powerplay of the game.
On the advantage, Matt Scarth was able to find a loose puck lying in the crease and swipe it home to complete the Powell River comeback from their two goal first period deficit.
The Kings carried an edge in play throughout the third period. But the Express held strong.
The game went to overtime. Coach Calvano sent out his big guns John Siemer and Phil Zielonka to begin the extra frame. It didn't take long for them to hook up and end the game for the Express. Siemer battled hard along the end boards to steal the puck from a Kings defenceman and flip it into the crease and Zielonka was there on the doorstep to quickly snap it past Ostepchuk to give the Express a 3-2 win just 30 seconds into overtime.
Coquitlam heads into the break with a 16-15-1-0 record through 32 games. When they return, they will have 24 games remaining in their season. They will resume their schedule with a home and home with the Langley Rivermen starting December 28th in Coquitlam.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish the followers of the blog all the best and hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season. Thank you for taking the time over the course of the season to check out the blog to date.
I have a few things I would like to post over the course of the next day or so. But like the players, I will probably take a holiday break from the blogging during the holiday season.
The Express couldn't stop the line of Mario Puskarich, James Robinson and Evan Campbell as they had a night to remember as part of a 8-3 win over the Express Friday.
The game started well for the Express. John Siemer opened the scoring after a point shot by Latrell Charleson bounced off the leg of Brandon Morley right to Siemer who swiped the loose puck past James Barr.
From there, Langley's top line took over the hockey game. Mario Puskarich scored his first of the game just over two minutes later as he found a loose puck in the crease and poked it off an Express defender and past Cole Huggins.
James Robinson got his scoring night started late in the first period and he deftly re-directed a shot from the right boards by Evan Campbell through the legs of Cole Huggins.
The line of of Robinson, Puskarich and Campbell were all in on the first two goals of the game for Langley.
Rivermen goaltender James Barr made a number of solid saves on the Express in the first period.
Robinson picked up his second of the game midway through the period. He came down the right wing and snapped a shot which hit the stick of an Express defenceman which handcuffed Cole Huggins and trickled into the net. The goal meant the end of the night early for Cole Huggins for a second straight outing. He was relieved in favour of Daniel Urbani after allowing three goals on twenty one shots.
Robinson's second of the game came shortly after a good chance for Phil Zielonka which he couldn't capitalize on.
It wasn't long before Langley struck again. Derek Sutliffe cut to the Express goal and bumped Daniel Urbani and he wasn't in position to make the save on the rebound shot that Matt Ustaski buried into the open net to give the Rivermen a 4-1 lead.
Phil Zielonka was dangerous all night for the Express. Shooting the puck at every opportunity. He was rewarded finding a loose puck at the side of the Rivermen net and banging home his 16th goal of the season at 12:54.
Seconds after the goal we saw the first fight of the night. And it turned out to be a very spirited affair as captain Mitch Nardi and Mitch McClain dropped the gloves and each got their fair share of big shots in.
The goal and the fight appeared to give the Express some life. They carried the majority of the play to end the second period. They even had a powerplay to end the period but the Express still went into the third period trailing by a pair.
The Express entered the third period looking to build off their strong finish to the second period and try and get back into the game. But it wound up getting worse. A pinch by an Express defenceman wound up proving costly as it led to a two on one and James Robinson kept the puck and wired it over the glove of Daniel Urbani just 32 seconds into the period for his third goal of the night.
Mitchell Fyffe got that goal back for the Express just 17 seconds later.
Then Mario Puskarich finished off his own hat-trick scoring a pair of goals in the third. Then Trevor Cope finished off the scoring for the Rivermen and he fired a wrist shot that had enough to squeak through Urbani.
The Express have one game left before the Christmas break Saturday night when they host the Powell River Kings.
Week 12 of the Jon Calvano show recaps the three games last week in Chilliwack and the double dip in Prince George. And we discuss the big news that forward Alexander Kerfoot is officially done for the season after suffering a shoulder injury November 24th in West Kelowna. We also discuss how to keep the players focused with two games this week before the Christmas break vs. Langley and Powell River.
The Prince George Spruce Kings took a pair of games this weekend vs. the Express in the first of two double dips in Prince George this season.
Saturday night the Spruce Kings out lasted the Express 6-4. Then they took the second game on Sunday afternoon 4-1.
The teams got the two game set started with a bang. They traded 6 goals in the first period alone with the teams coming out of the opening 20 minutes tied at three. Prince George took the lead on three separate occasions in the first period only to see the Express pull even each time.
Will Cook, Brandon Morley and Marc Biega scored the three goals for the Express.
Shayne Morrisey gave Prince George the lead for good in the second period scoring a pair of goals. Chad Staley inscreased the Prince George lead to three in the third period. Phil Zielonka scored with 8:15 remaining in the third period to round out the scoring.
The game was the first between the two teams since they hooked up on a trade last month that saw the Express acquire Brad Ryan and send Jace Hennig and Mark Begert to Prince George.
All three players involved in the trade hit the score sheet with Mark Begert opening the scoring in the game with his first goal of the season. Ryan and Hennig each had an assist.
Cole Huggins turned aside 36 of the 42 shots sent his way. Kirk Thompson made 32 saves on 36 Express shots to earn the win.
Sunday afternoon Prince George started fast scoring just 25 seconds into the game on a goal by Sean Landry.
Prince George struck quickly in the second period to expand their lead. Former Express Cam Lawson scored at 8:25. Then just 1:29 later the lead was at three after a goal by Tyson Witala.
That was the end of the night for goaltender Cole Huggins who was relieved after allowing 3 goals on 20 shots.
Just over two minutes later Phil Zielonka scored his 15th goal in his 17th game for what would turn out to be the only goal of the afternoon for the Express.
Shayne Morrisey capped the scoring in the game at 8:25 of the third period.
Kirk Thompson was very busy in the Prince George crease turning aside 39 of the 40 Express shots sent his way.
The two wins this weekend by the Spruce Kings opened up a 5 point lead for Prince George on the Express for third place in the Mainland division.
The Express have two more games before the Christmas break Friday night in Langley. Then they will host the Powell River Kings on Saturday night at the Poirier Sports Centre.
The Express scored three times in the second period, and Cole Huggins made 44 saves as the Express picked up their first win this season vs. the Chiefs 3-2 Wednesday night at Prospera Centre.
It was the best effort this season vs. the Mainland division leaders. And Cole Huggins was the backbone with his best performance of the season vs. the Chiefs.
Huggins needed to be strong early as Chilliwack jumped on the Express quickly in the first period. The 20 year old veteran came up with a number of big stops in the opening minutes of the game.
Chilliwack finally broke through when Trevor Hills cut into the slot, then was forced behind the Express goal and threw it back in front of the net where Spencer Graboski found the loose puck and poked it past Huggins.
That would turn out to be the only goal the Chiefs would get past Huggins in the opening period as he turned aside 15 of the 16 shots sent his way.
The Express only got 5 shots on goal in the opening frame.
The visitors were better in the second period. They began to turn the game in their favour.
Brandon Morley got the Express on the board 5 minutes into the period while shorthanded as he took advantage of a fanned shot by a Chiefs defenceman, flipped the puck past him then on the breakaway showed great hands going to the backhand and slid the puck through the legs of the BCHL's reigning player of the week Mitch Gillam.
That goal certainly gave the Express a huge boost which would carry them for the rest of the period.
The Express took their lead first lead just under 6 minutes later. Great forechecking pressure by Travis Stephens led to a turn over and AP Phenom Matthew Barzal showed his slick hands cutting to the net then sliding a pass over to Mitch Nardi who roofed his second goal in as many games.
3 minutes later the Express struck again. Callum Hofford's shot from the left point powered it's way past Gillam for just the second goal of the season for the first year defenceman. The goal was helped by a screen provided by both Justin Georgeson and Zach Pryzbek going hard to the net.
It was the best period of the season for the Express vs. the Chiefs this season. They fired 19 shots on goal in the middle frame.
Chilliwack got some bad news late in the second period as Josh Hansen got hurt in the final two minutes of the period and did not return to the game.
Entering the third it was about playing smart and bringing home the victory for the Express.
Adam Rockwood rang a shot off the cross bar with about 8 minutes to go which would have sealed the game for good for the Express.
Chilliwack pressed hard looking to get back into the game. They did get back within one with two minutes left. With Mitchell Fyffe serving a hooking penalty, and Gillam pulled for the extra attacker, Shay Laurent's point shot went wide of the net, but the rebound off the end boards bounced in front of the net and Trevor Hills buried the rebound over Huggins to cut the Express lead to one.
The Chiefs had one last push in the final two minutes, but couldn't find an equalizer and the Express skated off victorious.
20 more shots were sent Huggins way in the third period, but it was just about putting the final touches on a strong night in net for the Express goaltender.
Phil Zielonka did not dress for the Express as he missed the game with the flu.
Now the Express get ready for a pair of games this weekend in Prince George.
Week 11 of the Jon Calvano show recaps the two games last weekend vs. Surrey and Trail. We look ahead to a crucial portion of the schedule with 4 straight division road games against Chilliwack, Prince George and Langley. And with the midway mark of the season upon us on Wednesday, we get a mid-season report card on the Express season to date.
The Coquitlam Express picked up their third win in their last four games with a 7-1 win over the Trail Smoke Eaters. The win also gave the sweep of the two game season series for the Express.
The offence started quickly for the Express. They got a double minor powerplay less than a minute into the game and they would capitalize.
Adam Rockwood worked the puck into the corner to Justin Georgeson who snapped a pass through the crease and found a pinching Michael Maciag who tipped home his second goal of the season past Lyndon Stanwood.
That gave the Express the taste for blood in the water against the team with by far the most goals allowed in the BCHL.
Phil Zielonka got on the board just under four minutes later. Mark Biega's shot from the point missed the net but the puck bounced off the end boards into the goal crease where Zielonka poked it home for his 13th goal in his 15 game with the Express. 35 seconds later the Express struck again. And it was a veteran forward bumping a lengthy slump. Justin Georgeson snapped a wrist shot that was tipped by a Trail defender and got past Stanwood. For Georgeson it was his first goal in his last 12 games.
The three goal lead less than six minutes into the game on six shots chased Lyndon Stanwood at least for the moment. Coquitlam kept on looking for more on Cody Boeckman.
Brandon Morley was high sticked in the neutral zone which was going to result in a Trail penalty. With the delayed penalty in effect, Travis Stephens picked up the puck in the neutral zone, carried the puck into the Trail zone and snapped a wrist shot low to the stick side for his first Express goal at 17:39.
A four goal lead for Daniel Urbani was a very comfortable cushion for the Express rookie netminder to protect.
Another Express veteran snapped a significant slump of his own in the second period. Mitch Nardi scored his first goal in eight games for just his fourth goal of the season to give the Express a 5-0 lead.
Both Nardi and Georgeson had a helping hand in helping the other break their droughts with assists on the goals.
Former Express Brayden Pears snapped Daniel Urbani's bid for his second consecutive shutout of the Trail Smoke Eaters with less than seven minutes remaining in the third period as his powerplay goal beat Urbani with a wrist shot high to the glove side.
Twenty five seconds later the lead was back to five for the Express as Stephens scored his second goal of the game wiring a wrist shot over the glove of Stanwood who returned to the crease at the start of the second period.
John Siemer rounded out the scoring for the Express with 1:41 to go as he poked a loose puck that was in the crease in the net after Phil Zielonka showed great determination to get the puck into the slot area to create the scoring chance.
Up next comes a critical portion of the schedule for the Express that will see them play their next four games on the road vs. Mainland division opponents starting Wednesday in Chilliwack. Then the Express hit the road for a pair of games next weekend in Prince George. The fourth game on the road vs. a divisional opponent will be Friday December 14th in Langley.
Surrey Eagles goaltender Michael Santaguida turned aside 43 of 45 shots sent his way as the Eagles picked up their 9th win in their last 11 games as they knocked off the Express 4-2 Friday night at the South Surrey Arena.
The Express got off to a quick start to the game. Opening up an early edge in shots. One of the best chances they had was a one timer from the slot by Justin Georgeson that caught the inside of the post and stayed out.
Two early powerplays in the opening 7 minutes for the Express were an opportunity to open the scoring but they couldn't take advantage of them.
As the period went along, the play began to swing in Surrey's favour. The Eagles opened the scoring on their first powerplay. On that advantage Devon Toews made a great cross ice pass to Demico Hannoun who blasted a one timer past Cole Huggins.
33 seconds later the Eagles struck again as Mason Blacklock was able to find a loose puck and slide it through the legs of Huggins.
This season the first goal of the game has proven to be a definitive indicator as to whether or not the Express will be victorious at the end of the night. Including Friday's game, the Express are now 1-11-1 when allowing the first goal. And they are 12-1 when scoring first.
Both goaltenders came up with some spectacular saves late in the first period. Cole Huggins turned aside Trevor Cameron with just over a minute remaining in the period. Then Santaguida stoned John Siemer on a bang bang play in front of the net.
John Siemer got the Express on the board with a beautiful tally in the Eagles zone. With the Express on the powerplay he carried the puck into the Eagles end then made a quick move before firing a quick snap shot past Santaguida to get the Express on the board.
The Express had another strong start to the period opening up an 9-2 advantage in shots.
Surrey once again re-stored their two goal lead as Nicolas Pierog carried the puck down the boards in the Express zone before firing a pass to Trevor Cameron who re-directed it past Huggins.
It didn't take long for the Express to get back within a goal again. And again it was Siemer this time using his speed to try and split the Eagles defence and get the puck to the net. He was stopped by Santaguida, but Phil Zielonka was there to bury the rebound.
In the dying minutes of the period the Express penalty killers clutched up to keep the Express in the game. They weathered a 5 on 3 advantage for the Eagles for 43 seconds keeping the deficit at one entering the third period.
The third period saw the Express start a period strong again. They had established a good cycle game and were winning faceoffs in the Eagles zone which were leading to scoring chances. But they were turned aside every time they got close to Santaguida.
Shortly thereafter the momentum swung again back in the Eagles favour. Jordan Klimek carried the puck into the Express zone. He bounced off a hip check from John Siemer, maintained his balance and snapped a wrist shot to the stick side past Huggins for the third two goal lead of the game for the Eagles.
The Express kept up their pressure in the third period. But Santaguida wasn't going to crack anymore. He had 18 third period shots sent his way turning them all aside.
The Mainland division remains a very difficult nut for the Express to crack as their record now has fallen to 2-9-1 vs. division rivals this season. While they're 11-3 against Island division and Interior Conference clubs.
The Express get an Interior conference opponent Saturday as they host the Trail Smoke Eaters on Teddy Bear toss night.
Week 10 of the Jon Calvano show recaps the home and home sweep this past weekend of the West Kelowna Warriors. We discuss the impact of the three new comers to the Express Brad Ryan, Mike Maciag and Travis Stephens. Plus we look at the improving offensive depth with goals this weekend from Zach Pryzbek and Brandon Morley. And we talk about how teams stay in contact and up to date when it comes to player moves. Then with Surrey and Trail on the schedule we look ahead to those two games.
The Coquitlam Express finished off a sweep of a home and home with the West Kelowna Warriors with a dominant 4-2 win at Royal LePage Place Saturday night.
It was one of the more one sided games that favoured the Express all season long.
Phil Zielonka fresh off scoring the overtime winner the night before, started the game off with a bang for the Express. He opened the scoring snapping a shot under the cross bar just under 4 minutes into the game. Zielonka then added his second of the game just over 3 minutes later on the powerplay snapping home a wrist shot from the slot.
The quick two goal lead put the Express into cruise control for the rest of the night. The offence kept on coming for the Express in the first period. Michael Maciag scored his first Express goal in his second game with his new team snapping home a one timer off the rush on a feed from John Siemer.
West Kelowna put a temporary wrench in the Express momentum late in the period with David Pope scoring for the Warriors with 1:10 to go in the period. The Express came very close to re-storing their three goal lead in the dying seconds of the period, but Tyler Briggs robbed John Siemer with a great chance alone in front of the goal.
The Express dominated the Warriors in the first period outshooting them 23-6. They continued their domination into the second period as Zach Pryzbek scored for a second straight night with a powerplay goal at 1:47.
The first 40 minutes was all Express as they had a 34-11 shot advantage.
West Kelowna closed the gap in shots in the third period. Matt Anholt scored a late powerplay goal for the Warriors at 17:17 to make it a 4-2 game.
The final shot tally saw the Express outshoot the Warriors 51-26.
John Siemer was in a giving mood for the Express leading the charge with three assists. Brad Ryan was in a giving mood as well with a pair of assists.
The Express travel to the South Surrey Arena Friday to face the Eagles. Then host the Trail Smoke Eaters on Saturday night.
A great crowd of 1550 on Canucks alumni night saw a great back and forth game that saw the Coquitlam Express knock off the West Kelowna Warriors 5-4 in double overtime.
Phil Zielonka scored the overtime winner for the Express to snap their 5 game losing streak and pick up just their 2nd win in their last 8 games.
A balanced attack for the Express saw 12 different players hit the scoresheet.
The game was scoreless after 20 minutes of play with the Express outshooting the Warriors 11-9.
The teams certainly made up for the lack of goals from the first period in the second.
Coquitlam started fast jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead on goals by Zach Pryzbek and John Siemer.
Pryzbek was persistent hacking and whacking at the puck and was able to stuff it under Garrett Rockafellow.
1:20 later the Express expanded their lead to two. Beau Orser teed up a one timer for one of three new comers in the lineup for the Express Bradley Ryan. Ryan's shot was stopped but John Siemer was there to bang home the rebound.
For as quickly the Express took a two goal lead, the Warriors had a quick reply of their own. Braxton Bilous scored to pull the Warriors within one at 7:09. Following the goal, Express forward Justin Georgeson was called for cross checking giving the visitors a powerplay.
On the man advantage Brent Lashuk scored just 1:47 after the goal by Bilous and the game was even at two.
West Kelowna struck for their third straight goal of the period as Ambrose Firkus scored with a wrist shot from the left wing over the shoulder of Cole Huggins.
The Express responded just 42 seconds later. Alexander Kerfoot finished off a odd man rush with Will Cook and wired a wrist shot over the glove of Rockafellow to tie the game at three and the sixth goal of the period.
Brandon Morley scored for a second straight game in the third period to put the Express back in the lead. He scored off a rush from the left side.
With time running down in the third period, the Warriors were able to tie the game up. Reid Simmonds scored with a wrist shot from the slot sneaking it through Cole Huggins.
The game remained tied at 4 after the first overtime. It didn't take long in the second overtime for the game to be decided. Phil Zielonka who hadn't hit the scoresheet yet fired a wrist shot from the right circle that powered it's way past Rockafellow to give the Express the dramatic overtime win.
Friday's game saw the three new comers to the Express Bradley Ryan, Mark Maciag and Travis Stephens make their Express debuts. And they all had an impact on the game with all three players picking up an assist.
The game also saw the return of defenceman Mark Biega who played his first game since September 29th in Victoria. He had a hand in Zielonka's overtime winner.
The final shots saw the Warriors outshoot the Express 40-33. Cole Huggins clutched up with the game on the line with 9 saves in overtime.
The two teams will meet again for the second of their home and home this weekend Saturday night in West Kelowna.
It's been a very busy week for the Coquitlam Express when it comes to player movement. All told, 4 players have been moved on with Dillan Walker being traded to Trenton (OJHL), Jace Hennig and Mark Begert moved to Prince George and Brett Seldon is in Cowichan Valley.
The new faces see Bradley Ryan, Travis Stephens (93) and Mike Maciag come to the Express. See previous posts about the trade that sees Bradley Ryan come to the Express from Prince George in exchange for Mark Begert and Jace Hennig.
Here's a breakdown of the acquisition of Travis Stephens and Brett Seldon going to Cowichan Valley.
Stephens had split this season playing two games in Salmon Arm, then dressing for 16 with the Cowichan Valley Capitals. He was released by the Caps and now has been signed by the Express. Then in order to make all the import numbers work with the other moves the Express made this week, Jon Calvano had a trade in place for Brett Seldon out of the province, but as per BCHL rules, if a player is to be moved out of province for future considerations, he is to be first placed on waivers with any team in the BCHL having a chance to claim him. The Cowichan Valley Capitals did claim Seldon off waivers.
Stephens has dressed for 79 career BCHL games primarily with Cowichan Valley and Salmon Arm. Plus 1 game each with Victoria and Nanaimo. He has 16 career goals and 42 career points in those 79 games.
I had a chance speak with a number of the newcomers to the Express. Plus Head Coach Jon Calvano to explain these moves in full.
With the December 1st roster deadline quickly approaching, the Coquitlam Express have moved swiftly this week upgrading their size and experience on the backend.
Earlier this week they traded Dillan Walker to Trenton. And acquired 20 year old defenceman Mark Maciag from the Carleton Place Canadians for future considerations.
The latest trade sees the Express send 19 year old defenceman Mark Begert along with 17 year old forward Jace Hennig and future considerations to the Prince George Spruce Kings for 20 year old defenceman Bradley Ryan.
Ryan gives the Express some much needed size on the backend standing at 6'5 and weighing in at 210lbs. Plus he also has an offensive touch with 5 goals and 15 points in 22 games this season. He also has a scholarship to Vermont for the fall of 2013.
With the additions of Ryan and Mcaig the Express have added a pair of 20 year old blueliners. Plus they have given the blueline an upgrade in size. Both players have also put up some points this season.
The Express now have a full compliment of 20 year olds with six.. With three on the blueline.
Begert was in his second go round with the Express this season. He played his rookie season in the BCHL with the Express in the 2010-11 season. He attended Boston College last season before returning to the Express this season. where he had 5 assists in 23 games.
Hennig was in his second season with the Express and first full season in the BCHL. He had 2 goals and 2 assists in 17 games this season. He dressed for 28 games for the Express last season scoring a pair of goals and ten assists.
The Express would like to welcome Bradley to the team. And wish Mark and Jace the best of luck with Prince George.
Coquitlam Express President Darcy Rota along with former Vancouver Canuck John Garrett were on City TV's Breakfast television this morning to discuss the Express, the lockout and the Express Canucks alumni night this Friday.
The Express have made a couple of moves on defence. Dillan Walker was traded to the Trenton Golden Hawks of the OJHL in exchange for future considerations. The 19 year old defenceman was in his first season with the Express and had 3 assists in 21 games.
To fill Walker's spot on the backend, they made a seperate move getting bigger and more experienced. They acquired 20 year old defenceman Mike Mciag from the Carleton Place Canadians of the CCHL in exchange for future considerations.
Mciag stands 6'0 and weighs in at 192 pounds. He has 3 goals and 8 assists in 24 games. He also chipped in on the powerplay with 2 goals and 4 assists with the man advantage. Last year he had 4 goals and 23 assists in 51 games.
The Express would like to welcome Mike to the club and wish Dillian the best with Trenton.
Here's a few links to videos of Mciag in action. He's the right handed shot wearing #16.
Week 9 of the Jon Calvano show recaps the two games this past weekend vs. Chilliwack and Vernon. We also discuss the importance of emotional energy for a team, the return of Marc Biega this weekend, the trade that sees Dillan Walker sent back to Ontario and the acquisition of Michael Macaig.
Former BCHLer and Florida Panther Mike Santorelli is skating with the Coquitlam Express to help keep in shape during this current NHL lockout. I had a chance to speak with him about the lockout, talk about his days in the BCHL with the Vernon Vipers and Langley Hornets. And give us an update on what his younger brother Mark is up to who played on the 2006 Royal Bank Cup Express team.
The script that played out was worthy of an appearance on the old time popular sci-fi show. Still the ending wasn't a happy one for the Express falling 7-5 to the Vernon Vipers.
Entering the game it had two teams going head to head that struggled to score goals. The Vipers more so than the Express after they were shutout in back to back games Friday and Saturday 3-0 in Powell River and 2-0 in Alberni Valley.
It only took 23 seconds into the game for the Vipers to score their first goal of the road trip. Adam Tambellini took a drop pass from Aaron Hadley and he wired a great shot over the glove of Cole Huggins.
John Siemer and Phil Zielonka continued their hot play to quickly help put the Express into their only lead of the game. Alexander Kerfoot was placed in the middle of that line and worked the puck to the corner to Zielonka who zipped a pass across the crease to Siemer who snapped the it into the net to tie the game at one. Siemer got back on the scoresheet after having his 7 game point streak snapped Saturday night in Chilliwack.
Zielonka snapped home a shot from the slot 3 minutes later on the powerplay to give the Express their only lead of the game.
Vernon replied with a powerplay goal of their own to tie the game at two. Jedd Soleway and Pierce Eviston teamed up to work the puck down low in the Express zone then a pass across the crease found Aaron Hadley to tapped it past Cole Huggins.
That goal by Hadley was the start of a big game for the Vernon powerplay. The Vipers completely took over in the second period. Adam Tambellini scored his second of the game on the Vipers second powerplay of the afternoon banging home a big rebound of a Brett Corkey point shot and slammed the puck into a wide open net.
Then with Zach Pryzbek in the penalty box for a blow to the head penalty, the Vipers scored their third powerplay goal of the game. Tambellini flipped the puck towards the net and Pierce Eviston was able to put it past Huggins. That goal came moments after Tambellini thought he scored when he wired a shot high past Huggins. But i'm not sure if the puck went in or hit the crossbar. That goal meant it would be the second straight short outing for Cole Huggins who was relieved in favour of Daniel Urbani after allowing 4 goals on 22 shots.
The Vipers scored their 4th powerplay goal of the game on a 5 on 3 advantage as Eviston scored his second of the period snapping a shot past Urbani from the left circle.
Vernon's second period domination saw them at one point have a 21-0 advantage in shots in the middle frame.
This is where this game heads to the twilight zone. Despite the one sided domination in this game by Vernon, the Express found a way to get themselves back in it. Mitchell Fyffe re-directed a Phil Zielonka pass through the legs of Austin Smith to make it a 5-3 game. Then Brandon Morley scored his first BCHL goal of the season taking a pass from the end boards by Will Cook with just over a minute remaining in the second period and snapping a shot past Smith.
The final shots of the second period were 21-2 in favour of the Vipers. And through 40 minutes the Vipers were outshooting the Express 37-8 but the Express only trailed 5-4 thanks to scoring on 50% of their shots. It certainly had everyone in the building scratching their head wondering what they were watching.
The craziness carried into the third period. The Express battled back to tie the game at 5 in the opening minute of the period. John Siemer carried the puck into the Vernon zone and threw it at the net and Alexander Kerfoot found a loose puck and was able to poke it past Smith to tie the game at 5 on just the 10th shot of the game for the Express.
Tambellini capped off his hat-trick just two minutes later. Following a won faceoff in the Express zone Brett Corkey's point shot went wide of the net but the rebound came to Tambellini who tapped it home.
The Express mustered 11 shots in the third period. Their highest period shot total in the game for the Express. But they couldn't put another puck past Smith. Pierce Eviston finished off his hat-trick as he battled Phil Zielonka hard to protect the puck while skating the puck down the ice and found the open net to round out the scoring.
Adam Tambellini, Eviston, Jedd Soleway, Aaron Hadley and Brett Corkey shouldered the offensive load for the Vipers. Tambellini led the way with a 6 point effort with 3 goals and 3 assists. Eviston also had an assist to go with his 3 goals. Hadley had a goal and two assists for Vernon, Jedd Soleway had 3 assists and Corkey had a pair of helpers.
Phil Zielonka did his part for the Express with his most explosive outing in Coquitlam colors with 4 points. 1 goal and 3 assists. John Siemer and Alexander Kerfoot each had 1 goal and 1 assist for the Express.
Vernon finished 4 for 7 on the powerplay while the Express went 1 for 3. The shots saw the Vipers outshoot the Express 44-19.
Next weekend the Express have a home and home with the West Kelowna Warriors starting Friday in Coquitlam.
The Chiefs got a pair of goals from their second line, plus singles from their top unit, a defenseman and their youngest player in a 5-1 win over the Express Saturday night.
The Chiefs remain undefeated in 5 games vs. the Express this season at 4-0-1.
For the 5th straight game the Chiefs opened the scoring vs. The Express.
16 year old Mitch Skapski buried a rebound of a Garrett Forster shot and slid it past Huggins.
One of the few consistent offensive threats for the Express pulled them even on the powerplay. Phil Zielonka snapped a wrist shot from the right boards low to the stick side past Chiefs starter Josh Halpenny.
Chilliwack struck late in the period to take the lead for good.
Ryan Donohoe found a loose puck off a rebound after a drive to the net and tucked it home to give the Chiefs a 2-1 with a minute remaining in the opening 20 minutes.
Chiefs captain and defenseman David Thompson struck for Chilliwack's third goal. Off
the rush the puck came to Thompson who snapped it past Cole Huggins.
The Chiefs big 3 of Hansen, Plevy and Esposito teamed up for the fourth Chiefs goal. A quick series of passes found Hansen in the slot who snapped home his BCHL leading 18th goal of the season.
Ryan Donohoe finished the scoring with his second of the game in the third period.
The Express are back in action Sunday afternoon when the Vernon Vipers will make their lone regular season visit to Coquitlam.
The Coquitlam Express are pleased to announce that forward John Siemer has committed to Northern Michigan University for the fall of 2013.
The Glendora California native is in his second season with the Express. In 21 games this season, Siemer is leading the Express in scoring with 11 goals and 26 points. Numbers that are good enough to put him among the BCHL scoring leaders.
In his first full season in the BCHL, the skilled Express forward scored 28 goals and 59 points in 50 games. He added another goal and three points in six playoff games vs. the Powell River Kings.
Siemer is the second Express player to commit to Northern Michigan joining first year defenceman Callum Hofford. The Express now have 10 players on their roster with post secondary education commitments.
In week 8 of the Jon Calvano show we recap the three divisional games this weekend vs. Chilliwack, Langley and Surrey. We discuss the gold medal game of the World Junior A Challenge that will see Express forwards Alexander Kerfoot, Brandon Morley and Zach Pryzbek come home with silver medals. We also discuss practice management over the course of the week for the Express. And look ahead to this weekends games in Chilliwack and vs. Vernon.
Drew Best scored a hat-trick for the Surrey Eagles first three goals in their 6-1 win over the Express Monday afternoon.
The Express played their final game without Alexander Kerfoot, Zach Pryzbek and Brandon Morley due to their World Junior A Challenge commitments. In total the Express were without 10 regulars once the injuries were added in.
It didn't take long for Best to strike for his first. A point shot by Dan O'Keefe was stopped but the rebound was kicked right to Best who snapped it home at 1:58.
The Express responded minutes later on the powerplay and it was their two hottest players teaming up as John Siemer set up Phil Zielonka who snapped a shot past Micheal Santaguida. Zielonka and Siemer each extended their point streaks on the goal. Zielonka is on a 8 game run with 6 goals and 5 assists. Siemer is on a 7 game streak with 6 goals and 4 assists.
Best struck for his second of the game when Beau Orser couldn't find the puck in his feet and Best dug it out and snapped a shot over the left shoulder of Urbani.
The hat-trick for Best was finished off in the second period as Callum Hofford lost his footing at the blueline allowing the Eagles to break in a 2 on 1 and a perfect pass across to Best was snapped home to put the Eagles up 3-1.
The game marked Brady Shaw's first game against his old team following the trade to Surrey three weeks ago. He picked up his first point of the game 38 seconds after Best's third of the game as Shaw took the puck to the net and he and Urbani came together and the puck came out to Demico Hannoun who had a gaping net to snap the puck home.
Nicholas Pierog made it 5-1 after Mason Blacklock protected the puck along the end boards then set up Pierog who snapped it past Urbani.
Brady Shaw picked up his second point of the game who set up Stefan Burzan who was alone in front of the net and fired a wrister past the first year Express netminder.
The Eagles built up their 6-1 lead through two periods. In the final frame the inexperienced Express didn't let the lopsided score discourage them. They fired 17 shots Micheal Santaguida's way but he was there to turn them all aside. The 17-3 Express advantage in shots allowed them to nearly match Surrey's shot total in the game. The final number was 36-35 in favour of the Eagles.
The Express are next in action Saturday night in Chlliwack. And they will welcome back Kerfoot, Morley and Pryzbek with open arms. They went 3-4 in the 7 games during their absence at the World Junior A Challenge.
Alexander Kerfoot, Zach Pryzbek and Brandon Morley are coming home with silver medals from the 2012 World Junior A Challenge.
See below for the full story courtesy of Hockey Canada:
YARMOUTH, N.S. – Vince Hinostroza scored twice and added two assists to finish as the tournament’s co-leading scorer as the United States won its fourth gold medal at the World Junior A Challenge with a 6-3 win over Canada West on Sunday night.
Hinostroza, who was named tournament most valuable player, doubled his scoring output from the entire tournament and ended with eight points (six goals, two assists) in four games, becoming the second American to lead the World Junior A Challenge in scoring, joining Sean Kuraly, who topped the list in 2011.
J.T. Stenglein added two goals, Austin Cangelosi and Alex Kile also scored and Ian Brady chipped in with three assists as the U.S. finished atop the podium for the fourth time in the last five years. Sunday’s win also marked the American’s third win over Canada West in that span, joining wins in 2008 and 2009.
Brady’s three assists gave him eight for the tournament, a new World Junior A Challenge record.
Eamon McAdam stopped 26 shots for his fourth win in the U.S. goal, tying the tournament record.
Seb Lloyd (Prince George, B.C./West Kelowna, BCHL), Evan Richardson (Nanaimo, B.C./Powell River, BCHL) and Brandon Morley (Burnaby, B.C./Coquitlam, BCHL) had the goals for Canada West, which scored three times in a span of 8:32 in the second period to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead, but didn’t score again.
The Canadians finished with silver for the third time – all three gold medal game defeats have come at the hands of the United States.
Jonah Imoo (Surrey, B.C./Powell River, BCHL), who was named the goaltender on the tournament all-star team following the game, took the loss after a 27-save performance, his first defeat of the week.
Joining Imoo on the all-star team were Hinostroza, Brady, Canada West forward Wade Murphy (Victoria, B.C./Penticton, BCHL), Canada West defenceman Troy Stecher (Richmond, B.C./Penticton, BCHL) and Swiss forward Sandro Zangger.
The Langley Rivermen topped the Coquitlam Express at the Langley Events Centre Saturday night 4-2.
The shorthanded Express were outshot 38-27, but had quite a few good scoring chances throughout the course of the game they weren't able to finish.
Langley opened the scoring on a powerplay as Matt Ustaski from a sharp angle slid the puck low past the far side on Huggins at 4:51.
The Express responded with a powerplay goal of their own. Mark Begert got his point shot through to the net and John Siemer collected the rebound and showed his slick hands tucking the puck past James Barr.
James Robinson had a great opportunity to put Langley back into the lead. He was hauled down on a partial breakaway and awarded a penalty shot. On the free pass Cole Huggins turned his shot aside. Huggins is three for three on penalty shots faced this season.
Robinson would get a measure of revenge a few minutes later. He carried the puck into the Express zone and behind the net where he centered it for Austin Azurdia who chopped at it and the puck went off an Express defenders stick and over the left shoulder of Huggins to give the Rivermen their second lead of the game.
Langley did take their lead into the second period. But it easily could have been a different story based on the Express chances.
Mitchell Fyffe had two good chances alone in front of the net but was denied by Barr. Phil Zielonka rang a shot off the underside off the crossbar in the final seconds of the period.
Zielonka's knack for finding the good scoring areas to shoot from helped lead to the tying goal for the Express. He cut into the slot and got a good shot away. It was stopped but John Siemer was there in front of the net to bang home his second of the game.
Siemer nearly got his third of the game minutes later as he came down the right wing and fired a shot off the post.
The chances kept coming for the Express. Mitchell Fyffe had two more good chances to score in the second. His best of the night came on a centering pass at the lip of the crease but couldn't direct home the feed. Callum Hofford had a good chance reading the play and jumping into the rush on a 3 on 2 break but his one timer was turned aside.
Langley took their third lead of the game on a nice goal by the recently acquired Evan Anderson. He made a nice toe drag move to cut the puck into the middle of the ice then snapped a shot over the glove of Cole Huggins.
A turnover deep in the Express zone quickly resulted into some insurance for the Rivermen in the third period. The puck was coughed up deep in the zone and Mario Puskarich quickly set up former Express Evan Campbell who snapped it through the legs of Huggins to seal the game for the Rivermen. Campbell, Robinson and Puskarich each had 2 point nights for the victorious home team.
Saturday's game was the 6th of 7 games for the Express in which they're without the services of Alexander Kerfoot, Zach Pryzbek and Brandon Morley. So far the Express have posted a 3-3 mark in the 6 games without the trio at the World Junior A Challenge. They have a chance to finish the 7 games without those three above .500 when they travel to Surrey for a game on Monday afternoon.
Chilliwack used three powerplay goals to pace their offence en route to a 4-2 win over the Express Friday.
The Chiefs have yet to lose to the Express this season with 3 wins and a tie in 4 games vs. Coquitlam and all 3 wins have come in Coquitlam.
The Express again were considerably shorthanded with 8 regulars out of the lineup either with injuries or at the World Junior A Challenge.
Chilliwack was also missing two key players with Austin Plevy and Cooper Rush in Nova Scotia at the CJHL Top Prospects games this weekend.
Trevor Hills took Plevy's place on the Chiefs top line with Luke Esposito and Josh Hansen.
And it was Hills who got the offence rolling as he cut into the slot and snapped a shot through the legs of Cole Huggins to open the scoring at 14:16.
Mitch Gillam turned aside 31 of 33 shots in the game. 9 of those saves came in the first period. He denied Mitchell Fyffe and Justin Georgeson on two of the best Express chances in the first period.
Hills added to Chilliwack's lead scoring his second powerplay goal of the game as a point shot by Alex Perron-Fontaine was stopped and the rebound bounced to Hills who had a gaping net to slide the puck home.
One of the lines that played for the Express was a very young but skilled line featuring 17 year old Adam Rockwood, 16 year old Luca Leone and 15 year old phenom Matthew Barzal who dresssed for his 3rd game with the Express as an AP.
Barzal picked up his first BCHL point in the third period as he slid the puck up to centre for Leone who had a breakaway from the red line in and he made no mistake sliding the puck through the legs of Mitch Gillam to get the Express on the board at 2:19.
Just over two minutes later the Chiefs restored their two goal advantage. Luke Esposito snapped home the puck at the side of the net to put the Chiefs up 3-1. Hills and Perron-Fontaine each picked up their third points of the game on the goal by Esposito.
The Express have given up just 4 powerplay goals at home this season. The Chiefs have scored all 4 of those goals in the Express barn.
The game on the scoreboard was decided on special teams. The Chiefs went 3 for 7 with the man advantage while the Express went just 1 for 7.
Jarret Babych rounded out the scoring just over two minutes after Esposito's goal as he cut into the slot and fired a shot over the glove of Huggins.
The lone Express powerplay goal of the net came midway through the final period off a won faceoff and Phil Zielonka snapped the puck past Gilliam to round out the scoring.
Chilliwack outshot the Express 48-33. The Chiefs still haven't lost in regulation against a Mainland division opponent this season improving to 7-0-1-1 within the division this season.
The Express will get right back on the horse with another divisional contest Saturday in Langley.
On another note, Team Canada West will play for gold for a second straight year at the World Junior A Challenge as they knocked off Team Canada East 1-0 in the semi finals. They will play the USA Sunday in the final after they knocked off Switzerland 7-4 earlier in the day.
Canada West finished their round robin 2-0 at the World Junior A Challenge in Darmouth Nova Scotia, and as a result they have punched a ticket to the semi finals.
They opened the tournament Tuesday and blanked the Czechs 7-0. Coquitlam Express forward Alex Kerfoot opened the scoring for Canada West just 3:25 into the game on the powerplay. The goal would be the start of a three point game for Kerfoot who finished with two goals and an assist.
Penticton Vees forward Wade Murphy scored a pair of goals for Canada West. He would be named the player of the game for Canada West. Jonah Imoo of the Powell River Kings made 20 saves to post the shutout.
Wednesday's game vs. Russia was a battle for first place in Group A. Russia opened the tournament with a 6-1 win over the Czechs Monday.
The game was scoreless after 20 minutes of play. The best chance to open the scoring was a penalty shot for Kerfoot, but he was stopped on a deke as he went to the backhand. Kerfoot helped opened the scoring as he picked up an assist on Wade Murphy's powerplay goal. Russia quickly replied with a pair of goals in two minutes.
Kerfoot was instrumental in setting up the game tying goal as he made a great head fake then zipped a back door pass to Seb Lloyd who tied the game at two with just fifteen seconds remaining in the second period.
Aaron Hadley of the Vernon Vipers gave Canada West their second lead of the game two minutes into the third period. A powerplay goal by Sergei Stetsenko tied the game at three for Russia as they capitalized on a 5 on 3 advantage.
The game remained tied at three through 60 minutes of play. A pair of Penticton Vees teamed up to score the winner for Canada West. Wade Murphy passed the puck up to Troy Stether who walked in on the right wing and picked the top corner for the winning goal to give Canada West the 4-3 victory.
Jonah Imoo was much busier this time around as he made 37 saves on 40 shots in the Canada West crease. The Canadians only managed 19 shots in the game.
Canada West now has a day off and will play in a semi final Friday.
Week 7 of the Jon Calvano show recaps the three game weekend for the Express where they went 2-1. We discuss a number of players stepping up their game with the team battling through numerous injuries and 3 players out of the lineup at the WJAC. We also discuss a number of key players playing through injuries just to help the club fill the roster with as many able bodies possible. Plus we look ahead to this weekend's 3 divisional games vs. Chilliwack, Langley and Surrey.
The Coquitlam Express had a three game road swing this weekend with visits to Powell River, Alberni Valley and Cowichan Valley.
The Express came home with a 2-1 record.
Friday in Powell River, it was the first meeting of the season between the two teams. And the first time the teams saw each other since the first round of last years playoffs where the Kings prevailed in 6 games.
The road trip started well for the Express with a 3-0 win over the Kings. Cole Huggins made 31 saves for his 3rd shutout of the season and his 5th in his Express career. The 5 shutouts now stands as a new Express franchise record for most career shutouts. He shared the mark with Matthew Gordon who set the mark in the 06-07 season.
The Express scored one goal in each period. Phillip Zielonka struck early in the first period on the powerplay. Zielonka along with Adam Rockwood helped set up Luca Leone midway through the second period. John Siemer then put the game away with an empty net goal in the third period. Zielonka finished the game with 3 points with 1 goal and 2 assists.
The next night the Express headed to Alberni Valley for the second meeting of the season with the Bulldogs.
Daniel Urbani got the start for the Express in between the pipes. He would wind up having a very busy night. Less than two minutes into the game the Bulldogs had opened the scoring on a goal by Dylan Haugen.
Zach Funk put the Bulldogs up a pair 12 minutes into the second period. John Siemer got the Express on the board at 17:22. But just 31 seconds later the Bulldogs had re-stored their two goal lead on a goal by Ryan Laugh.
The Express stormed back early in the third period. Phil Zielonka opened the period scoring a pair of goals just 51 seconds apart to pull the Express even by the 1:18 mark.
5 minutes later Lars Hepso put the Bulldogs up for good scoring at 6:48. Manny Galedakis rounded out the scoring with just over a minute left in the game. The Bulldogs fired 48 shots on Daniel Urbani.
The loss was the first on the road for the Express this season in 8 games.
The road trip wrapped up Sunday afternoon in Cowichan Valley.
The visitors got off to a fast start by opening up a 2-0 lead before the game was 7 minutes old on goals by Adam Rockwood and Luca Leone.
Mitch Nardi scored his third of the season late in the second period and the Express appeared to be in good shape leading 3-0 heading to the final frame.
But the Caps reminded us all that no lead is safe in junior hockey. Keyler Bruce on a powerplay scored early in the third period to get Cowichan Valley on the board.
The Express appeared to be in cruise control taking their two goal lead into the final 5 minutes of the third period. Then in a blink of an eye the game had changed. The Caps scored a pair of goals 6 seconds apart and suddenly the game was tied at 3.
Momentum appeared to be on Cowichan's side after the quick strikes. But John Siemer broke the deadlock with just 15 seconds left snapping home a wrist shot from the right wing to give the Express the lead for good.
A pretty impressive weekend from the Express where they finished 2-1 on the road when you consider the short lineup the Express dressed in all 3 games.
The Express hit the road with a long list of injuries and absences due to the World Junior A Challenge. And as the weekend went along the list of able bodies available got shorter and shorter.
After this weekend's action the Express are now tied with the Surrey Eagles for third place in the very tight Mainland division. Plus they're 1 point back of Chilliwack for 2nd and 2 points behind Prince George for first.
Next weekend the Express have 3 very important divsional games against Chilliwack, Langley and Surrey.
Returnees Alexander Kerfoot and Brandon Morley plus newcomer Zach Pryzbek will play for Canada West at the upcoming World Junior A Challenge in Darmouth Nova Scotia starting next week.
This is the first time the Express will have 3 members on the Team Canada West team. In the inaugural event in 2006, the Express had a pair of representatives (Kyle Turris and Tyler McNeely)
The full roster of 22 players was announced Thursday following a week long selection camp in Calgary Alberta.
The BCHL is well represented among the 22 players with 15 players representing 8 BCHL teams. Kerfoot and Morley along with Evan Richardson of Powell River, Vernon's Aaron Hadley and Penticton's Troy Stetcher are back for a second go round after helping Team Canada West win gold at the World Junior A Challenge last year looking for a repeat performance. Last year the line of Kerfoot, Morley and Richardson was instrumental helping Canada West win the gold medal at the World Junior A Challenge in Langley.
This season Kerfoot is second in Express scoring with 6 goals and 16 points in 12 games. Prior to the season he committed to Harvard University for the fall of 2013. He was selected by the New Jersey Devils in the 5th round 150th overall. He won a gold medal at the 2011 World Junior A Challenge.
Pryzbek is in his first season with the Express. He has 3 goals and 6 points in 14 games this season. He is committed to Brown University for the fall of 2013.
Morley was acquired in a trade earlier this season from the Surrey Eagles where he was their team captain in exchange for Brady Shaw. He has 5 assists in 13 games this season. He won a gold medial at the 2011 World Junior A Challenge.
The 2012 World Junior A Challenge runs from November 5-11 in Darmouth, Nova Scotia. Team Canada West will play one exhibition game before the tournament begins this Saturday vs. last years Bronze Medalists from the USA. They will begin the tournament Tuesday vs. Czech Republic.
Congratulations to Alexander, Brandon and Zach. Go bring home the gold.
Week 6 of the Jon Calvano show recaps the two home games this weekend vs. Chilliwack and Langley. We discuss players taking advantage of the opportunity with so many key guys out of the lineup. And preview the upcoming road trip to Powell River, Alberni Valley and Cowichan Valley.
A shorthanded Express squad consisting of 16 skaters and 8 regulars out of the lineup due to various reasons (injuries, WJAC Camp commitments and suspension) they were able to get it done knocking off Langley 3-1.
The list of players out of the lineup included Biega, McKinney, Bird, Fyffe, Kerfoot, Morley, Pryzbek and Orser.
And the ones left all stepped up and help fill the void left behind.
It started with goals from 3 key veterans John Siemer, Justin Georgeson and Mitch Nardi. Cole Huggins was his usual calming presence between the pipes.
And other players took advantage of the additional opportunity.
The Express had good energy right from the drop of the puck. All the lines were creating chances in the Langley zone.
The line of Nardi, Siemer and Cook had some good energy when they were out there together.
Will Cook had a very strong game for the Express. Using his strength along the wall. He helped create scoring chances. One of his best came in the first period when he put a shot off the post.
The Express opened the scoring 12 minutes into the game following a turnover by the Langley defence and John Siemer pounced on it and snapped the puck past James Barr.
Langley's best chance of the period came when youtube sensation Austin Azurdia cut into the Express zone with speed threw the puck at the net and it bounced off a leg then hit the post but stayed out.
Another good chance for Langley came in the opening seconds of the second period as Mario Puskarich was set up alone in front of Cole Huggins but the Express netminder turned him back.
The second period had some entertaining back and forth play.
The Express struck again following a lengthy scramble around the Langley net and finally Justin Georgeson was able to slide the puck home assisted by Dillan Walker and Phil Zielonka.
In the third Will Cook was rewarded for his strong play as his shot from the circle was stopped by Barr but Nardi was there to cash home the rebound by standing in the blue paint to poke home the puck.
The Express did a good job of containing Langley's top line of Evan Campbell, Mario Puskarich and Mitch McClain throughout the game. The best chance for that trio came while shorthanded and Puskarich had a breakaway but Huggins shut the door.
Puskarich did get a measure of revenge moments later. He took a centering pass from behind the net from Evan Campbell and snapped it past Huggins to snap his bid for a 3rd shutout this season.
The Express brought it the rest of the way home to snap their 5 game home losing streak. And pick up their second win this season vs. a Mainland division opponent. It was also a vital win from the standpoint of Langley had a chance to overtake the Express in the division standings.
Now the Express will head out on the road for games in Powell River, Alberni Valley and Cowichan Valley starting Friday.
The Chilliwack Chiefs needed only 40 minutes to inflict all the damage they needed en route to a 4-1 win over the Express.
The first two periods saw the visitors with a distinctive edge in play and shots. And their hard work was rewarded with 2 big goals in the final 2 minutes of the second period to put the game to bed.
Chilliwack scored first for the third time in 3 meetings with the Express less than 5 minutes into the game.
Shay Laurent fired a great pass through the crease to Austin Plevy who snapped it past Cole Huggins. The powerplay tally was the first powerplay goal allowed at home by the Express in 36 shorthanded situations.
The Chiefs jump saw them open a 15-8 advantage in shots after 20 minutes. Cole Huggins made a key save off Luke Esposito late in the period to keep the deficit at one.
The second period was more of the same for Chilliwack.
The game really turned on the Express late in the period. Austin Plevy scored his second of the game as he was able to bury the rebound of a Ben Isreal shot and snap it past Huggins with just under 2 minutes to go.
Shortly there after Mathieu Tibbet was assessed a double minor for spearing giving the Express a great chance to get back into the game.
Soon after the advantage started the game turned in Chilliwack's favor for good.
Josh Hansen fired a wrist shot from just inside the blue line that handcuffed Huggins and found the back of the net for a backbreaking shorthanded goal with less than 30 seconds remaining in the period to put the Chiefs up 3-0 with 20 minutes to go.
In the third the Chiefs added another early in the frame. After a cleanly won faceoff in the Express zone the puck came back to Kiefer McNaughton who blasted a shot past Huggins.
It was at that point the Express finally woke up.
Phil Zielonka scored his first goal less than a minute later as he took a pass and got in behind the Chiefs defence and made a great move to the backhand and roofed it over Mitch Gillam.
That goal sparked a third period that saw the Express generate 19 shots in the final 20 minutes. But they were only able to muster the one goal despite all the pressure.
The loss for the Express was their 5th in a row on home ice. And the offence has all but dried up at home with 4 of those 5 losses seeing the Express only being able to muster one goal in a game.
The Chiefs win moves them 5 points ahead of the Express in the Mainland division standings. Prince George was able to keep pace with Chilliwack as those two teams sit atop of the division after Prince George knocked off Alberni Valley.
Surrey is now tied with the Express for third place in the division standings after they knocked off the Langley Rivermen. Both teams have the same amount of wins and points. But the Eagles move up a spot thanks to their win over the Express back in late September.
The loss now drops the Express to 1-4-0-1 against Mainland division clubs. And they're winless in their last 5 games within the division.
The Express have a chance to pick up a win within the division Sunday afternoon when they host Langley. The only Mainland division club the Express have beaten so far this season.
Returnees Alexander Kerfoot and Brandon Morley and newcomer Zach Pryzbek were among a group of 23 BCHL players invited to take part in the 60 player selection camp for Team Canada West for the upcoming World Junior A Challenge next month in Darmouth Nova Scotia.
Dean Brockman who was an assistant coach last year for Team Canada West returns this year as the Head Coach taking over for Powell River Kings Head Coach Kent Lewis. Brockman is tasked with selected a team of players from the BCHL, AJHL, SJHL, MJHL and SIJHL looking to repeat as Gold Medalists for the World Junior A Challenge.
Kerfoot and Morley were linemates last year at the event in Langley as Canada West re-claimed the gold medal after ending a 3 year reign by the United States.
As the tournament went along last year, that line along with another returnee Evan Richardson of the Powell River Kings was the best line for Canada West as the tournament went along.
The selected Express players will play Friday's game vs. Chilliwack before heading off to the Team Canada West Selection camp.
This years event runs from November 5-11th in Darmouth Nova Scotia, any Express players that make Team Canada West won't return to the Express lineup until Saturday November 17th in Chilliwack.
Best of luck to all the BCHL players invited to take part in camp.
Click on the link to see the full list of invitees
Week 5 of the Jon Calvano show recaps Saturday's game vs. Prince George, discusses the Express debuts of Brandon Morley and Philip Zielonka, B. Morley, A. Kerfoot and Z. Pryzbek off to WJAC Camp, and looks ahead to the two games this weekend vs. Chilliwack and Langley.
Saturday I had a chance to speak with both sides of the Brandon Morley and Brady Shaw trade.
I also spoke with Phillip Zielonka about coming to the Express.
And hear from Express Head Coach Jon Calvano on the trade and the acquisition of Zielonka.
Former Express Cam Lawson broke a 1-1 tie with 1:19 to go to give Prince George the lead for good in a 2-1 win over the Express extending their winning streak to 4 games.
The win pulled Prince George 3 points clear of the Express for first place in the Mainland division tied with the Chilliwack Chiefs.
Saturday's contest marked the Express debut for newcomers Brandon Morley and Phillip Zielonka. Morley was acquired from the Surrey Eagles in a trade this week that saw Brady Shaw go the other way. Zielonka was acquired from Omaha (USHL)
The new comers helped spark the Express attack in the first period. They had plenty of jump and all the lines certainly appeared to have some extra jump in their step.
Morley set the tone in the first period doing what he does best throwing his weight around and dishing out some hits. His new mates certainly followed the lead. The hits led to turnovers which turned into Express scoring chances.
One of those hits led to the games first goal. Mitch Nardi threw a hit along the boards allowing the Express to free up the puck for Beau Orser who blasted home his first Express goal past Kirk Thompson to open the scoring at the 16:00 mark.
The Express energy in the opening period saw them outshoot the Spruce Kings 13-9.
The game started to turn in Prince George's favour in the second period. The middle frame was scoreless but the Express were outshot 12-6.
Prince George pulled even early in the third. Coltyn Hansen showed great speed cutting to the net from the right side and following up on the play was Matthew Bisset who poked it past Huggins to tie the game at 1 at 1:35.
The third period was much like the second. The play was scrambly. Both teams weren't able to generate many quality scoring chances. And when they did the goaltenders were there to turn them aside.
Two of the better chances for the Express came in the final 5 minutes of the third period with the Express looking to break the deadlock. Zielonka had a good chance from the slot, but Thompson made a good save squeezing the pads together to deny the Express new comer.
A few moments later John Siemer had a good chance from the right wing, he cut to the goal and tried to slide the puck past Thompson but he kicked out his right leg to deny the skilled Express forward.
Those saves proved to be vital for the Spruce Kings. Former Express Cam Lawson broke the deadlock with just 1;19 remaining in third period as he buried a centering pass from behind the net by Shayne Morrisey.
That would be all Prince George would need on this night.
Kirk Thompson turned aside 24 of 25 Express shots for the win. Cole Huggins meanwhile made 31 saves on 33 Prince George shots.
Both teams went 0 for 3 on the powerplay. The Express still have not allowed a powerplay goal at home killing off all 35 shorthanded situations on home ice.
The Express have now fallen below .500 on home ice with a 3-4 mark.
They will look to get back into the win column on Friday when they host the Chilliwack Chiefs.
The Coquitlam Express and Surrey Eagles have teamed up for one of the biggest trades so far this BCHL season.
The Express sent 20 year old power forward Brady Shaw (92) to the Surrey Eagles in exchange for their captain Brandon Morley (94).
There may be a difference in size between the two players with Shaw standing at 6'2 200lbs, and Morley at 5'9 160lbs. But the one thing they both have in common is a physical game.
The Express are getting a veteran of 2 BCHL seasons with the Eagles in Morley. He has 5 assists in 11 games so far this season. Last year he produced at better than a point per game clip with 14 goals and 49 points in 47 games.
Brandon has developed a reputation in his first two seasons in the league as a very difficult player to play against with his in your face style. He certainly is one of those players you would rather have on your team than to be playing against him.
Last year he was linemates with current Express forward Alexander Kerfoot as they helped Team Canada West win the gold medal at the World Junior A Challenge in Langley.
Before entering the BCHL, Morley played with the Northwest Giants of the BC Major Midget League where he was coached by current Express Head Coach and GM Jon Calvano.
The Express acquired Shaw early last season. He went on to score 33 goals and 69 points in 57 games with the Express. This season he had 6 goals and 9 points in 12 games.
The Express would like to welcome Brandon to the organization and wish Brady all the best with the Eagles.
And in case you're wondering, the next meeting between these two clubs will be on Monday November 12th at South Surrey Arena.