Sunday, January 8, 2012


The Coquitlam Express have extended their winning streak to 7 straight games with a 4-1 win over the Powell River Kings Saturday. That was followed up with a dramatic 5-4 overtime win over the Coastal Conference leading Cowichan Valley Capitals on Sunday.

On Saturday, Mitch Nardi helped fill the void left with the absence of Alex Petan by scoring twice to help lead the offensive attack for the Express. Cody Michelle and Alex Kerfoot added singles for the Express.

Khaleed Devji posted his second straight win in just over a week vs. the Kings as he turned aside 30 of the 31 shots sent his way in a strong performance on his 20th birthday.

Matt Scarth partially spoiled Devji's birthday as he broke his shutout bid with just 2:17 in the third period.

The win kept the Express undefeated vs. the Kings this season with 4 wins and a tie.

Sunday's game vs. the Caps was another strong test for the Express as they went head to head with the top team in the Coastal Conference in Cowichan Valley.

Since the last meeting between the two teams in December, Cowichan Valley added some additional offensive depth by picking up Richard Vanderhoek and Brett Knowles in seperate deals.

Cowichan quickly opened the scoring as former Express Jake Charles beat Cole Huggins up high with a wrist shot from the slot just over 3 minutes into the game.

John Siemer pulled the Express even with one of the prettiest goals we've seen this season as he picked up the pick in his own zone and carried it with speed dangling around a Caps defender then firing a backhand over the glove of Brady Rouleau.

Click to listen to Siemer's 1-1 goal

Malcom Mckinney was awarded his third penalty shot this season in the opening minute of the second period as he was hauled down cutting to the goal. Mckinney was 2 for 2 on penalty shots earlier this season scoring vs. Derek Dun vs. the Caps back in November 2, and he scored in overtime on a penalty shot vs. Andrew Hunt of the Surrey Eagles to give the Express a 5-4 OT win back on November 5th.

This time around Mckinney wasn't so lucky as he made a move to the backhand but his shot went off the post. The Express are now 2 for 7 on penalty shots this season.

30 seconds later the Caps took their second lead of the game as their top line of Brett Knowles, Matt Brown and Devin Gannon hooked up with Gannon converting a Brett Knowles feed past Huggins to put the Caps up 2-1.

Brown then put the Caps up a pair on the powerplay as he was able to bang home the rebound of a hard point shot by Brayden Sherbinin that Huggins couldn't quite corral.

Cowichan Valley took their 3-1 lead to the third period. Malcom Mckinney cut the lead down to one in the opening minutes of the third as he snapped a shot from the slot through Rouleau.

Brayden Sherbinin appeared to give the Caps some insurance as he blasted a puck from the line past the glove of Huggins to put Cowichan Valley up 4-2 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the third period.

Cole Huggins needed to be very strong for the Express in between the pipes all game long in this one. He finished with 45 saves after having 49 shots sent his way Sunday afternoon.

Huggins saved his best with just over 4 minutes to go as he stopped Logan Proulx on a breakaway as he tried to deke to Huggins' right but he kicked out his pad to keep the Express within striking distance.

That save proved to be valuable as just moments later Taylor Bourne banged home a loose puck following a won faceoff in the Caps zone to pull the Express within one with 3:10 to go. The goal for Bourne was his first point in 6 games. And it was his first goal in 7 games and just his second in his last 12 games.

The Express got their chance to tie it with just over a minute to go as Brayden Sherbinin was assessed a hooking penalty on Alex Kerfoot.

On that powerplay the Express made it count as John Siemer took a feed from the corner and snapped home his second of the game with just 45 seconds remaining in the game.

Click to listen to Siemer's game tying goal

A valiant comeback by the Express as they scored twice in the 3:10 of the game to earn a valuable point and send the game to overtime.

Nothing was decided in the first overtime.

Devin Gannon thought he had won it for the Caps in the opening minute of the second overtime but he rang a shot off the post from the slot.

Brady Shaw made sure to win it for the Express just over a minute later as he took a feed from the corner and went to the backhand and found just enough room to slide the puck home on the backhand to give the Express their 7th straight win.

Click to listen to Shaw's OT winner

Certainly one of the biggest wins for the Express this season. Plus it was one of the more dramatic comebacks I've seen from the Express in recent years.

The win moves the Express 6 points clear of 5th place Nanaimo in the race for the playoffs with both teams having 23 games remaining in the season. Plus the Express are now 10 points clear of 6th place Victoria after they lost 10-2 in Westside, in addition the Express have 2 games in hand on the Grizzlies.

More importantly however, the win pulls the Express into a tie with the Surrey Eagles for 3rd place in the conference. But the Eagles do have 2 games in hand on the Express. The Express are also just 2 points back of 2nd place Powell River with the Express having 2 games in hand on the Kings.

The win capped off a 8 game home stand for the Express in which they went 7-1. But now the schedule gets very road heavy where they will play 9 of their next 10 games and 11 of their next 13 games away from home.

No comments: