Sunday, September 23, 2012


The Coquitlam Express were handed their first loss of the season Sunday afternoon falling 2-1 to the Victoria Grizzlies thanks mainly to the play of Micheal Stiliadis.

He finished with 40 saves in the Victoria crease. 20 of them coming in the third period alone. The Express did everything they could but found the Victoria netminder very difficult to beat.

The Fitzgerald triplets Myles, Gerry and Leo sparked Victoria's offence in the first period. Gerry opened the scoring 7 minutes into the game as he carried the puck into the Express zone and wired a shot over the glove of Daniel Urbani who made his Express debut.

The trio struck again 7 minutes later. Leading up to the goal the Express were buzzing creating chances in the Victoria zone. The Grizzlies iced the puck and the triplets couldn't change. They won the ensuing faceoff and skated the puck to centre ice, instead of heading off on a change, Leo kept skating forward on the attack and wired a slap shot from the left wing post and in over the glove of Urbani to give Victoria a 2-0 lead. Myles and Gerry assisted on the goal.

The Express out shot Victoria 12-8 in the first period. It was the first time this season the Grizzlies were out shot in the opening 20 minutes.

Cole Huggins took over the Express crease to open the second period. It was at this point his team really started to take control of the game. Some of the best chances for the Express in the second period came off the sticks of Malcom McKinney and Justin Georgeson but couldn't find the twine.

Finally Will Cook did in the final seconds of the middle frame. He came down the right wing and snapped a shot low to the stick side on Stiliadis.

The third period started with a bang literally. Jace Henning for the Express and Victoria's David Walchuk were sent off for hits along the boards. Mitch Nardi got into his second scrap of the season vs. Victoria squaring off with Turner Lawson.

Then the Express went back to looking for the equalizer but it wasn't going to come. Saves by Stiliadis on John Siemer on a pair of occasions and Zach Pryzbek highlighted his 20 save third period performance.

In the final 2 periods the Express out shot Victoria 29-10. They finished the game out shooting Victoria 41-18. Quite simply it was a game where the goaltender got the best of everything the Express sent his way and you have to tip your hat when you see a performance like the one provided by Stiliadis.

The Express powerplay went 0 for 7. The penalty killing was strong again and remains perfect this season having killed off all 6 Victoria powerplays. And now is 26 for 26 to the start the season.

Surrey will pay a visit to Coquitlam next Friday. Then the Express will hit the Island visiting Victoria Saturday and Nanaimo on Sunday.

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