Monday, January 28, 2013


This weeks edition of the Jon Calvano show discusses the two games the Express had this weekend In Prince George. We discuss the challenges that the Prince George Coliseum provides opposition players. And we look ahead to the two games this weekend in Vernon and Penticton.


The Express went up to Prince George for a pair of games this weekend. They came away with a split of the two games. The Spruce Kings took the opener Saturday night 5-3. Then the Express took the second game 4-3 in overtime on Sunday afternoon. 

Saturday Coltyn Hansen led the way for the Spruce Kings scoring a hat-trick. He scored two of his goals in the first period as the Spruce Kings led 2-1 after 20 minutes. Cameron Lawson and Shayne Morrisey expanded the Prince George lead to 4-1 in the third period. Will Cook then struck for a pair of goals for the Express to cut the lead back down to one before Hansen rounded out his hat-trick by scoring into an empty net. 

Kirk Thompson turned aside 38 of the 41 Express shots sent his way. 

Sunday's game started with a bang with the teams combining for 5 first period goals and Prince George coming out of the opening frame with a 3-2 lead. Adam Rossignol and Justin Georgeson on a penalty shot scored the goals for the Express. 3rd year veteran Justin Georgeson had one of his best offensive games of the season with a goal and two assists for the Express. Jake Lebrun scored a pair of goals for Prince George in the first period. 

Ben Israel scored for the second straight game for the Express in the second period on the powerplay to tie the game at three. 

No scoring in the third period meant the game went to overtime. In the second OT, former Prince George Spruce Kings defenceman Brad Ryan played overtime hero for the Express scoring at 3:09. The win improved the Express record to 5-0-1 in overtime this season. 

Cole Huggins made 41 saves on 44 Prince George shots for the win. 

In the race for the playoffs, Langley went 1-2 losing their final 2 games of the weekend to Surrey and Trail. Now the Express trail the Rivermen by three points for 4th place in the Mainland division. But the Rivermen still have three games in hand. The Express have 12 games left in their season.

Next weekend the Express are on the road again with games in Vernon and Penticton.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


The last few nights a number of Express Alumni found the back of the net in the NHL. Andrew Ladd with a goal for the Jets in Washington. David Jones with the winning goal for the Avs over the Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings. Brandon Yip didn't score the goal, but he got on assist on this marker by Nick Spaling. A couple of Express alums hooking up as Patrick Weircioch sets up Kyle Turris for his first of two on the night Monday vs. Florida.


In the latest edition of the Jon Calvano show we discuss the three games last weekend vs. Langley, Merritt and Penticton. We talk about how some of the young players have progressed in the 5 games since the BCHL trade deadline back on January 10th. And we look ahead to a pair of games this weekend in Prince George.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Here's the highlights of the two Express home games this weekend vs. Langley and Penticton.

 Highlights courtesy of Cary Derksen.


The defending RBC Cup national champion Penticton Vees doubled the Express 6-3 on Sunday afternoon.

The visitors started quickly as Cody Depourcq and Wade Murphy scored on the first two Vees shots on rookie Daniel Urbani who got the start in goal for the Express.

Kolten Grieve cut the Express deficit down to one as his wrist shot from the left wing found it's way past Nic Renyard. The goal for Grieve was the start of a good game for the all AP line of Grieve, Spencer Quon and Cole Todd. That line had a number of good energy shifts in the Vees zone during the game. And their physicality was beneficial for the Express.

Adam Rossignol came close to tying the game at two for the Express as he had a great chance in front of the net, but his backhand went too high as he tried to roof it over Renyard.

One of the consistent story lines in this game was Penticton's response after Express goals.

Ryan Gropp protected the puck well against an Express defenceman and cut to the net and slid the puck through the legs of Urbani to give the Vees a 3-1 lead going to the second period.

The Express responded early in the second as Brad Ryan scored his first Express goal blasting it past Renyard from the right point just 35 seconds into the period.

Again the Vees had a quick response as former Express John Siemer got a breakaway and the slick forward made no mistake scoring on a slick deke to the forehand.

With the Express shorthanded Adam Rossignol had a chance for redemption for his chance in the first period as he was hauled down going to the net and was awarded on the penalty shot.

On the free pass, he shaded to the right but was denied as he tried to snap a shot to the stick side on Renyard.

The second period was notable for the Express for the powerplays they had. They couldn't score on a double minor powerplay which also included a 5 on 3 for nearly 2 minutes.

Late in the period the man advantage did strike as Marc Biega scored his second of the year firing a point shot past a screened Renyard.

For a third time in the game the Vees responded to an Express goal to restore their two goal lead. This was a tough one to take for the Express. Wade Murphy's shot from the slot was stopped, but the rebound bounced off the backside of Sam Mellor and past Urbani to give the Vees a 5-3 lead.

Chad Katunar started the third period in goal for Penticton. He finished the game strong for the Vees turning away all 8 Express shots sent his way.

Brad McClure finished the scoring into an empty net in the final seconds of the game.

The Express are on the road the next two weekends with a double dip in Prince George next weekend followed the next weekend with stops in Vernon and Penticton.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


On the latest edition of the Jon Calvano show we discuss the new look Express games last weekend vs. Merritt and Prince George. We talk about the impact of Garrett Forster, Ben Isreael and Adam Rossignol. We break down how all the injuries the Express have had this season have impacted the season. And we look ahead to the three games this weekend vs. Langley, Merritt and Penticton.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Here's the highlights of the 5-4 win for the Express over Merritt Friday.


 Highlights courtesy of Cary Derksen.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


The Prince George Spruce Kings topped a short staffed Express roster that dressed just 9 forwards handing the Express a 7-2 set back.

The teams played a fairly even first period.

The only goal of the period came off a won faceoff in the Express zone. A point shot by Trevor Esau was stopped by Cole Huggins, but Shayne Morrisey roofed the rebound over Cole Huggins.

Prince George edged the Express 11-10 in shots in the first period.

The Spruce Kings quickly extended their lead in the second period. David Stephens snuck one through the legs of Huggins. That was followed just over two minutes later by a goal by Jeremiah Leudtke sliding home a pass from Chad Staley at the lip of the crease.

That goal saw Cole Huggins have his night come to an end after allowing three goals on fifteen shots.

A powerplay goal by Cameron Lawson snapping a shot through the legs of Daniel Urbani put Prince George up by four.

Exactly one minute later the Express got on the board as Will Cook scored on a wrap around. The goal was a measure of revenge for Cook as he thought he scored on an identical looking wrap around attempt on Kirk Thompson earlier in the period.

Lyndon Martell less than two minutes later put Prince George back up by four as he snapped home a pass from behind the net by David Stephens.

The Express didn't fold the tent in the third period. They came out with some jump looking to claw back into the game.

Justin Georgeson was hauled down cutting to the net after he got in behind the Prince George defence. He was awarded on a penalty shot. On the free pass, Georgeson shaded to the right then cut across the crease looking to opening up a more room but Georgeson's shot went wide of the net.

Zach Pryzbek scored on a wrist shot from the slot on a set up by Will Cook. Pryzbek had a number of quality scoring chances in the game.

Two late goals by Colten Hansen and Lyndon Martell's second of the game closed out the scoring.

The final shots reflected the solid effort put forth by the Express despite the one sided score as the Express outshot Prince George 37-35.

Next weekend the Express have three games in less than three nights starting with a key game in the playoff race Friday night vs. Langley.


Click on the link to see Adam Rockwood's goal for the Express Friday night vs. Merritt.

FASTHockey :: Video Clip

Friday, January 11, 2013


The only difference between Adam Rockwood and Pavel Datysuk on Rockwood's overtime winner for the Express Friday was that Rockwood wears 17 and Datsyuk wears 13 for the Detroit Red Wings.

The Express rookie pulled a Pavel Datsyuk goal out of his bag of tricks on his second overtime penalty shot goal that gave the Coquitlam Express a 5-4 overtime win over the Merritt Centennials.

It was the first game for the Express following the BCHL trade deadline the day before.

Newcomers Ben Israel and Garrett Forster made their Express debuts Friday. And they each left their mark on the game.

Isreal's impact came in the opening minutes of the game with big hit on a Centennials player cutting across the middle of the ice.

Merritt jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the Express after 20 minutes on goals by Sebastien Pare and Dylan Chanter. And they outshot the Express 13-3 in the opening period.

The Express were short staffed for the game. With Jackson Cressey and Anthony Conti dressed as AP's. And they had a hand in the Express win as well.

Coquitlam came out with some good jump to open the second period. They erased the two goal deficit quickly with Jackson Cressey scoring his first BCHL goal and that was followed 45 seconds later on a goal by Mitchell Fyffe to tie the game at two.

Merritt took a 3-2 lead late in the second period on a goal by Silvan Harper. Again the Express showed good resiliency and got that goal back just 38 seconds later on the first Express goal by Garrett Forster.

Jackson Cressey scored his second of the game 6 minutes into the third re-directing a Michael Maciag point shot to give the Express their first lead of the game.

Dylan Chanter scored his second of the game 5 minutes later to tie the game at 4 and we went to overtime.

Lets go straight to the second overtime. Adam Rockwood was hauled down going to the Merritt net. The hooking penalty to Sean Maktaak resulted in the automatic penalty shot.

On the penalty shot, the Express rookie knew what he was going to do right away. And made no mistake pulling off the Pavel Datsyuk type goal to give the Express the dramatic overtime win sending the whole building in Coquitlam into a frenzy after what they had just witnessed.

The goal and the win was such a huge morale booster for the Express. It has been a tough go for the them the last number of games. And winning in this fashion was the perfect tonic for the Express.

They were outshot 39-19. Cole Huggins provided the steady goaltending to keep the Express in the game. And their stick to it type attitude allowed them to battle through some adversity and find a way to dig deep and pick up a character win for sure.

The Express are back within one point of Langley for the final playoff spot in the Mainland division. The Rivermen were idle on Friday.


At the morning skate prior to tonight's game vs. the Merritt Centennials I had a chance to speak with one of the newest members of the Coquitlam Express Ben Isreal.


The Coquitlam Express were very busy Thursday leading up to the BCHL trade deadline which officially came at 8PM.

The Express made a number of moves that saw three significant pieces of their roster moved on to other clubs.

And the Express brought in 4 players that can help them now along with a number of future considerations that can help them going forward for the rest of this season and beyond.

Here's what went down yesterday.

The Express traded 20 year old veteran and leading scorer John Siemer to the Penticton Vees in exchange for future considerations. The Glendora California native was second among BCHL scorers at the time of the trade with 20 goals and 49 points in 37 games this season.

The dazzling forward with some of the best hands I've ever seen in the BCHL scored 48 goals and 60 assists for 108 points in 87 career games spanning two seasons with the Express. Earlier this season he secured a scholarship to Northern Michigan University for next season.

Captain Mitch Nardi was traded to the West Kelowna Warriors in exchange for future considerations. Nardi was given the captaincy prior to this season assuming the role from graduating forward Alex Petan.

The Hamilton Ontario native spent two seasons with the Express. He scored 19 goals and 50 assists for 69 points in 91 career games with the Express. It was a struggle for Mitch to find his offensive touch this season scoring just 5 goals and 20 assists for 25 points in 35 games.

Prior to the season Nardi secured a scholarship to Lake Superior University for next season.

And the Express traded forward Phil Zielonka to the Chilliwack Chiefs in exchange for defenceman Ben Isreal (94), forward Garrett Forster (95) and future considerations.

Zielonka joined the Express mid-season from the Omaha Lancers of the USHL in October. After getting his feet wet in the BCHL and not registering a point in his first game with Express, Zielonka went on a tear scoring 21 goals and 13 assists for 34 points in 24 games. In those 24 games he dressed for the Express, Zielonka didn't register a point in only two of those contests. For a player that didn't spend a lot of time in an Express uniform, his impact will always be remembered. He will be attending Harvard University next fall.

Defenceman Ben Israel is in his first season in the BCHL. The Bloomfield Hills, Michigan native scored 2 goals and 11 assists for 13 points in 30 games with the Chilliwack Chiefs this season. He's listed at 5'10, 180 pounds.

Forward Garrett Forster is in his second season in the BCHL. This season the Delta, BC native had 4 goals and 7 assists for 11 points in Chilliwack. Last season he registered 6 goals and 14 assists for 20 points in 53 games.

20 year old forward Lars Hepso was acquired by the Express from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in exchange for future considerations. The 6 foot Penticton native has 11 goals and 8 assists for 19 points in 34 games this season with Alberni Valley. In September, Hepso earned a BCHL player of the week honor. He's a 3 year veteran of the BCHL with 34 goals and 30 assists for 64 points in 138 career games all with Alberni Valley.

The Express have also added 19 year old forward Adam Rossignol. The 6 foot 184 pound Surrey native has  175 career games of WHL experience with the Kootenay Ice, Swift Current Broncos and Regina Pats. This season in Regina he had 9 goals and 5 assists for 14 points in 44 games.

The Express would like to thank Mitch, Phil and John for their contributions to the Express. And wish them the best of luck with their new clubs this year and next year in college and beyond.

And they would like to welcome Ben, Garrett, Lars and Adam to the club. 


On this week's edition of the Jon Calvano show we talk extensively about the moves that the Express made at the BCHL trading deadline on January 10th. We discuss what's coming to the Express. The impact the trades have on leadership going forward. And we look at how this team will maintain it's focus on trying to secure a playoff spot.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


6 goals in the final 30 minutes was more than enough for the Surrey Eagles as they improved to 5-0 vs. the Express this season with a 6-2 win Wednesday night.

The Eagles got balanced scoring on this night as they got goals from 6 different skaters.

The first half of the game was prominent especially for the goaltenders Cole Huggins and Michael Santaguida.

Santaguida sent an early message that he was going to be on his game on this night. He took what looked like Sam Majka's first BCHL goal away from him as he snapped a feed on an odd man rush. Majka appeared to have a gaping net to put the feed in. But Santaguida dove to his right and made the best save either goaltender would make on this night.

Cole Huggins certainly had his moments in the first period. Making a number of quick pad stops. And stopping Trevor Cameron on a breakaway.

It took until the midway mark of the second period for the first goal of the night. Michael Stenerson found a loose puck in a scramble in front of the Express net and snapped it home.

Just under 4 minutes later the Eagles struck again. Brady Shaw scored his first goal against his old team as he snapped home a wrist shot from the right side low to the stick side on the powerplay past Huggins.

37 seconds later the Eagles struck again as Mason Blacklock finished off an odd man rush re-directing a pass home.

Craig Wyzomirski's backhand goal in the third period put the Eagles up 4.

John Siemer got the Express on the board on a set up from Phil Zielonka. It was the first goal in over 6 periods against Eagles goaltender Michael Santaguida.

Brett Mulcahy re-stored Surrey's 4 goal lead beating Huggins with a shot from the right side post and in.

Siemer and Zielonka teamed up again for the second goal of the night for the Express as Siemer zipped it across to Zielonka who snapped it home on the powerplay.

Dan O'Keefe rounded out the scoring with his first BCHL goal on the powerplay in the final minute of the third period blasting home a one timer past Huggins.

With this setback, the Express remain 3 points back of Langley for the final playoff spot in the Mainland division. And the Express have lost 8 of their last 9 games.

They will try to get back into the win column Friday night when the Express host Merritt.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


16 year old forward Luca Leone has left the Coquitlam Express and signed with the WHL's Vancouver Giants.

The Vancouver native was in his first season of junior hockey. He had 4 goals and 2 assists in 29 games with the Express this season.

Vancouver Giants GM Scott Bonnor was spotted in the rink Sunday for the Express game vs. the Surrey Eagles.

The signing of Leone is the latest piece added by the Giants who are in the middle of a massive re-building project.

He will make his WHL debut for the Giants during their upcoming Alberta road trip.

The Express would like to wish Luca the best of luck in the future.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


In the first edition of the Jon Calvano show of 2013, we breakdown Cole Huggins' strong game in the 2-0 loss to Surrey on Sunday. We talk about the impact the return of Marc Biega and Cameron Marks will have on the backend for the Express. Beau Orser is no longer with the Express and the coach explains why. The Vancouver Northwest Giants are Macs tournament champs, and the coach of the winning team in 2009 talks about the 2013 Giants. And we look ahead to a month of January which will be a good test for the Express. 


(Eric Margo celebrates a goal in the Macs final)
Photo courtesy of Calgary Herald:

The Vancouver Northwest Giants of the BC Major Midget League are champions of the Macs AAA Midget tournament for the second time in four years.

They won the one of the biggest Midget tournaments with a 3-2 overtime win over the Carolina Junior Hurricanes.

Winning on Saddledome ice capped off a perfect week for the Giants which saw them go a perfect 7-0.

The game was dramatic all game long that went down to the wire. Carolina held a 2-1 lead in the final minute of the third period. With just 12 seconds left on the clock Brandon Del Grosso scored sending the game to overtime.

It was still undecided after a 10 minute overtime. Then at the 14 minute mark of the second overtime Jackson Cressey scored the tournament winning goal. Anthony Conti scored for the Giants in the first period.

A number players on the Giants roster have dressed as Affiliate Players for the Express this season. Eric Margo who has dressed for 5 games and has 2 assists with the big club this season, Anthony Conti who has played 3 games for the Express this season, Jackson Cressey who has played 2 games for the Express this season. Alexander Kerfoot's younger brother Colton also plays for the Giants.

Eric Margo was named to the tournament's second all star team.

Click here for more on the Giants win

Express Head Coach and General Manager Jon Calvano coached the Giants before coming to the Express in the spring of 2010. He guided the Giants to a Macs tournament championship in 2009. That win came after the Giants came knocking on the door losing in the final the previous two years.



I was taking a look at the schedule for the Express in the month of January. And it looks like the Express have a pretty good test ahead of them. 

They have 9 games this month, and 8 of them are against teams that have a winning record this season. The only exception being on January 18th when the Express host Langley who are only 1 game below .500.

Here's what the Express have this month.

4 of the games are on home ice and 5 of them are away from home. 

6 of the 9 games are vs. Mainland division opponents with 4 of them on the road and 2 at home. 

Here's the break down of the opponents.

Prince George (3) - Jan. 12 @ Coquitlam, Jan. 26 & 27 @ Prince George.
Merritt (2) -  Jan. 11 @ Coquitlam, Jan. 19 @ Merritt
Surrey - (1) - Jan. 9 @ Surrey
Langley - (1) - Jan. 18 @ Langley
Chilliwack - (1) - Jan. 4 @ Chilliwack
Penticton - (1) - Jan. 20 @ Coquitlam

One of the unique quirks of the schedule comes on the weekend of the 18th-20th.

Friday the 18th the Express are in Langley, then hit the road to face Merritt on the 19th, then come home to host Penticton on the 20th at 2pm.

Entering the month 7 points back of Prince George, the three games vs. the Spruce Kings this season will go a long way to deciding whether or not they will catch their northern rivals this season. 

And the one game with Langley on January 18th will be huge for the two clubs battling for fourth place in the Mainland division.