Sunday it was Michael Stiliadis, Friday it was Michael Santaguida playing the role of brickwall as he made 30 saves in his BCHL debut as the Express fell 2-1 for a second straight game thanks in large part to the opposition goaltender.
The Surrey Eagles netminder was making his BCHL debut after he was signed this week following his release from Tri City (USHL) during training camp. He proved to be a tough goaltender for the Express to crack.
For the second straight game the Express spotted the opposition a 2-0 first period lead. Less than 3 minutes into the game a turnover in the Express zone eventually saw the puck bounce into the middle of the ice and Joel Gaudet pounced on the puck and tucked it around Cole Huggins.
Midway through the period a point shot by Tommy Stipancik hit a stick and was tipped past Huggins.
Fridays game was one of the more physical contests we've seen so far. There were a number of big collisions that went called and not called.
The Express outshot Surrey 10-9 in the opening period.
The second period saw the Express generate some of their better chances in the game. Brady Shaw was stopped on a breakaway. Mitch Nardi was turned aside as he rushed the puck hard to the net. Santaguida met every challenge and turned the Express back confidently.
His counterpart at the other end Cole Huggins made a number of key stops on bang bang plays in the second period to keep his team in the game. The most notable was off the Eagles 16 year old scoring leader Demico Hannoun.
The Express were finally able to solve Santaguida in the third. It took a lucky bounce to get it. Brady Shaw from the corner to the right of the Eagles net bounced it in off the goaltender for his 4th of the season. It would turn out to be the only goal that the Express would generate.
One last push from the Express in the final 2 minutes which included a 6 on 3 advantage still wasn't enough for the Express to find that elusive second goal.
The powerplay was blanked for a second straight game going 0 for 6..
The penalty killing remains the biggest bright spot for the Express. It had another perfect evening killing off all 6 Surrey powerplays. And it still hasn't allowed a goal this season and sits 32 for 32 this season.
The Express hit the Island this weekend with visits to Victoria and Nanaimo Saturday and Sunday.