Friday, March 23, 2012


The Powell River Kings have won their best of 7 Coastal Conference semi final in 6 games after knocking off the Express 4-1 on Friday night.

It concludes a very strong 2011-12 season for the Express.

Powell River opened the scoring for the 5th time in this series when Evan Richardson found Chris Williams back door and he put the puck into the crease area and it bounced into the net.

As has been a trend in the final 4 games of the series, the lead from scoring first didn't last. Just 1:21 later the Express pulled even when Malcom McKinney found Alex Petan in front and the feed bounced off the captain and past Sean Maguire.

It was one of the closer first periods between the two clubs which saw the shots even at 10 apiece after 20 minutes.

Game 6 would turn out to be a breakout game for Evan Richardson in game 6 for the Kings. He scored his first goal of the series early in the second as he cut into the slot and fired a shot over the glove of Cole Huggins.

Kings goaltender Sean Maguire was looking to have a bounce back performance after being pulled in game 5.

He proved to be very tough to beat on this night for the Kings. One of his best saves came late in the second period when he kicked out his left leg to quickly deny Cody Michelle in close.

The Express entered the third period down a goal and needing one to try and save their season. They generated numerous quality scoring chances in the opening minutes of the period, but Maguire kept up his strong play for Powell River.

Evan Richardson picked up his third point of the game setting up Teal Burns who scored on the powerplay for his third point of the game as well to put the Kings up 3-1.

The Express got one last chance late in the third to cut into the Kings lead with a powerplay. But a turnover in the Express zone turned into an empty net goal by Daniel Schuler to seal the game and series for the Kings.

Sean Maguire finished the game with 31 saves. The Kings now have a few days off and will have to wait until Saturday night to learn who their opponent in the Coastal Conference final will be after the Cowichan Valley Capitals forced a game 7 with a 5-4 overtime win over the Surrey Eagles in game 6.

For the Express it brings to a close a very successful season. There are lots of positives to remember from this now past season. They set numerous new marks for most wins and points in the regular season. The young core that coach Jon Calvano has put together will come back for next season only 1 year older and 1 year better.

The work on laying the foundation for next season is already underway and we will learn over the course of the next few months about how the 12-13 Express will look when the recruiting process gets into full gear.

This is also an understandable emotional time. Especially for 20 year olds Clinton Atkinson, Nicholas Wong who played their final games of their junior careers tonight. This game also marks the end of the road for Captain Alex Petan who has a year of eligibility left, but will head to Michigan Tech on a scholarship next season.

Injured 20 year old defenceman Rajan Sidhu also saw his junior career to come a close as he watched from the sidelines.

It's never easy for any team when a teams season comes to an end, but September will roll around again and all the fun will get going one more time. The future for the Express is bright and they're on the right path in their efforts to bring a Fred Page Cup championship to Coquitlam.

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