Sunday, August 25, 2013
Saturday, August 24, 2013
The exhibition schedule for both the Coquitlam Express and Langley Rivermen opened up Saturday night at the Langley sportsplex, and it was the Rivermen who came away victorious by a score of 4-1.
Returning veteran Daniel Urbani got the start in goal for the Express. Langley jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead on goals by Matt Ustaski and Kevan Kilistoff less than 3 minutes apart.
The Express cut into the lead in the second period on their only goal of the night off the stick of Adam Rockwood who buried the rebound of a point shot.
Late in the second period with 3:45 remaining in the frame the game was delayed by about 25 minutes when a slapshot by a Rivermen defenceman caught the glass up high behind the Express net shattering it causing the delay.
When the game resumed Langley added two more goals in the third period by Evan Anderson and Travis Maxwell.
For the first game of the exhibition it was a fairly entertaining contest that saw both clubs play a good up tempo game.
The Express dressed a total of 6 returning veterans. Forwards Mitchell Fyffe, Will Cook, Adam Rockwood. Defencemen Mark Biega and Ben Israel. And goaltender Daniel Urbani.
The two teams will play a rematch in Coquitlam Sunday afternoon.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
The group has been reduced following the first set of cuts after two days of on ice sessions veteran free.
It was pretty clear to see the level of competition go up another level after watching one of the intra-squad games on Wednesday morning. The vets that were skating in the one game I was able to catch were split equally.
One of the more notable aspects that stood out was the increase in physical play. There were a good number of big hits thrown throughout the game. Most of them in the neutral zone or at the attacking blue line where a defenseman or forward was able to read the play and get themselves into a position to deliver a big hit. You couldn't be skating around the ice with your head down and with the puck on your stick for too long without risk of turning it over or being knocked on your backside.
Will Cook and Mitchell Fyffe each were able to pot a pair of goals. Cook who is entering his second BCHL season scored his two goals in quick succession. And his first may have been one of the more prettier goals seen so far. He was able to make a quick toe drag move into the middle of the ice before quickly throwing it top shelf. Then he used his strength to power in from the right wing cut across the crease then slide the puck home.
On Fyffe's first goal of the game the puck came into the slot and as he read the play developing he was able to bear down and lean into a hard shot and snap it home. Fyffe is entering his third BCHL season.
Camp continues the rest of this week at the Poirier Rec. Centre before the first exhibition game Saturday night in Langley.
Following the game I had a chance to speak with Will Cook.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Day 2 of Express training camp was a last opportunity for players to make an impression on Head Coach Barry Wolff before he makes his first cuts and gets the group down to a more manageable number and the veterans hit the ice on Wednesday.
It didn't take long for the new Express bench boss to have a good idea of players he will consider moving forward with once camp gets ramped up another level on Wednesday. Once the veterans hit the ice, the competition level will go up and the coach will get a better idea of who can and who can't play against BCHL level competition and the identity of the 2013-14 Express will begin to take shape.
There are few pre-concieved notions going into the evaluation process. The players on the ice will have to earn their spots for this season. And that even includes players who are returning for this year. Barry Wolff is looking to build a team in his vision consisting of the best 22 players he feels will field the most competitive roster. And that is his main mandate in this training camp.
The veterans in attendance are chomping at the bit to get going. They're looking forward to hitting the ice Wednesday as their season truly gets going with their first official on ice session of the season. A good number of them have had a good first hand view of what is in camp so far having spent time behind the bench of the scrimmages for the first two days.
Wednesday I had a chance to speak with the Express Head Coach to get his assessment of what he's seen in the first two days of training camp.