Friday, March 7, 2014


Gordie Defiel made 24 saves to post his first shutout of the season as the Express took game 3 of their best of 7 Mainland division semi final with a 2-0 win over Prince George.

This series had lived up to it's billing of being a tight series for the first two games up in Prince George. The script remained the same in game 3.

Prince George started well opening up an early 8-2 advantage in shots.

Then the Express started to turn the game in their favor with some power plays.

Prince George was assessed 4 minor penalties in the first period and that included two late in the frame giving the Express a 5 on 3 for 1:42. Nothing was decided in the opening frame and it was scoreless after one with the shots 13-11 in favor of Prince George.

The Express couldn't take advantage of the 5 on 3 power play time they had to open the second period.

Cody Boyd broke the dead lock just over 3 minutes into the second period as he led a rush out of his own zone and carried it all the way down the ice to the Spruce Kings end and let a backhand go that snuck through the legs of Alex Murray to open the scoring.

After a run of Express penalties in the first period, the pendulum began to swing back in favor of Prince George in the second period. On this night they ran into a Express penalty killing unit that had a strong run of success to end the regular season and it's carried over in the playoffs.

One of the better chances to extend the Express lead again came off the stick of Cody Boyd who couldn't finish off a breakaway.

The Express protected their lead well into the final minutes of the third period. They got their insurance with 2:23 to go when they quickly advanced the puck up the ice and Bo Pieper skated on to it and scored on a backhand for his first of the series.

The game appeared to be winding down to it's conclusion before tempers started to flare in the final minute.

Things really got heated when following an initial scrum in the Express zone resulted in an Express power play. Then as the teams lined up for the face-off Bo Pieper was sent to the ice and AP Roshen Jaswal was assessed a 5 minute major penalty for slashing and things all went awry again. Things started to get a little out of control off the ice when a fan was trying to spill beer in the Prince Geoge penalty box.

After a lengthy delay things finally settled down and the Express skated off with a 2-0 win and the lead in the series.

It was a solid team effort throughout. The Express defense played well in front of their goaltender who has now turned aside 63 of 65 shots in the last two games both Express victories.

This series still awaits it's first power play goal from either team. The Express went 0 or 6 on the power play while killing off all 5 Spruce Kings power plays. Corey Mackin led the charge for the Express while they were a man down and was very difficult for the Spruce Kings power play to handle.

This is definitely a series now with some emotion kicked into it. And these teams who have been as evenly matched through the first three games will go at it again Saturday night in game 4. 

No comments: