Wednesday, February 15, 2012


There aren't too many nails left to hammer, but the Express drilled another one into the playoff coffin of the Nanaimo Clippers with a 6-3 win.

Coquitlam opened up an 11 point lead on the Clippers for the final playoff spot with the Express having 9 games remaining and Nanaimo 10.

The win improved the Express to 5-0 vs. the Clippers this season.

As expected, considering the stakes for the visitors they got off to the start they wanted. They opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game as Brendan Forbes poked a loose puck in the crease past Cole Huggins after Clayton Chessa drove it to the net.

Kyle Kramer added to the Nanaimo lead after he got the puck past a pinching defenceman giving Kramer a lane down the right wing and he snapped a wrist shot over the right shoulder of Huggins.

At that point in the game the Cllippers were in control, out shooting the Express, and giving them trouble coming out of their end and through the neutral zone.

The penalty killing clutched up for the Express in the first period killing off both disadvantages they would give Nanaimo on this night to keep the deficit at just two.

Nanaimo took that lead to the second period after out shooting the Express 16-8 in the period.

It was more of the same in the first few minutes of the second period.

Then came the only two powerplays the Express would get. They couldn't score on either of them. But they were the catalysts for the Express as they turned the game around.

Just seconds after the second powerplay expired, Malcom McKinney scored his 20th of the season to get the Express on the board. McKinney became the 5th 20 goal scorer for the Express this season. The third year forward joins Alex Petan, John Siemer, Brady Shaw and Alex Kerfoot in the 20 goal club for the Express.

Only the runaway leaders of the BCHL the Penticton Vees have more 20 goal scorers with 8.

The gates were now open for the Express and Mitch Nardi took a feed from Alex Petan who was behind the net and Nardi snapped it home to erase the two goal deficit.

Coquitlam capped off a run of 3 goals in 2:32 with Taylor Bourne snapping a shot from the slot set up by Brady Shaw to give the Express their first lead.

By this time the Express had turned the tables around in the flow of the game. A little more puck luck and the play of goaltender Billy Faust kept the game from completely turning on Nanaimo.

Click here to listen to the 3 Express 2nd period goals

Veteran Dan Correale clutched up for Nanaimo in the final minute of the second period. With Faust on the bench for an extra attacker and a delayed penalty for the Express in effect, Correale wheeled out from his own end and went coast to coast snapping a shot past Huggins to tie the game at 3.

The Express pressed for the lead again to open the third. They broke through when Alex Petan snapped a shot from the slot low past Faust for the 30th of the season for the Express captain.

Petan was also in on the insurance marker as Clinton Atkinson fired a slap shot that was partially tipped by a Nanaimo defender and it beat Faust up high.

The line of Alex Petan, Mitch Nardi and Malcom Mckinney was very productive. All three skaters scored a goal. And they combined for 8 points with 3 goals and 5 assists.

Affiliate player Eric Margo capped off a two point Express debut by sealing the game into an empty net. He also assisted on Taylor Bourne's goal back in the second period.

Margo along with Vancouver Northwest Giants teammate Anthony Conti played for the Express as affiliate players. The vets had some fun at their expense during warmup allowing them both to go out first and the vets shut the gate behind them leaving the youngsters out there on their own for the first few laps.

Now with a double digit lead on Nanaimo in the standings for the Express, they can also try and reel in some of the teams ahead of them. They remain three points back of Cowichan Valley for third place after the Caps got a 5-4 overtime win over Alberni Valley. The Express and Caps will go head to head on Saturday night. But before that the Express will play host to the Merritt Centennials in the only regular season meeting between the two teams on Friday in Coquitlam.

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