|Gordie Defiel and Tyson Witala in game 2 of Mainland final. Photo courtesy of Garrett James.|
The Express got first period goals from Zach Hodder and Ryan Rosenthal and Gordie Defiel had another solid performance between the pipes with 36 saves for the win.
Early on saw a parade to the penalty box for both teams. Soon the Express found themselves with a 5 on 3 power play that they made count.
Ryan Rosenthal teed up a one timer for Zach Hodder who blasted it past the glove of Brock Crossthwaite at 2:39.
It was a much better first period for the Express in this one compared to 24 hours earlier where they were outshot 19-9.
The Express outshot the Rivermen 15-8.
The animosity between the two clubs starting to come to the forefront in game 2. Bo Pieper seemed to draw the ire of the Rivermen late in the first period. He was sent hard to the ice deep in his own zone and got up reaching for his face after a cross check from Austin Azurdia.
Then in the final minute of the first period Bo was decked and left some blood on the ice following a pass to Ryan Rosenthal who scored for a 2-0 Express lead.
Langley started to raise their game in the second period trying to get back into it. They fired 15 shots toward the Express goal but couldn't get a puck past Defiel. His best save came off Tony Bretzman who was robbed by Defiel's quick glove hand.
8 minutes into the third period Mark Whiteley was on the receiving end of a double team hit that left the Express defenceman shaken up. He did not return. On the play Evan Anderson was assessed a 5 minute major for a blow to the head penalty and given a game misconduct.
Anderson could be facing an automatic two game suspension according to the Junior A Supplement.
The Express power play couldn't take advantage of the 5 minute power play they could have used to put the game in the bag.
With renewed life Langley struck just after the penalty expired as Kevin Kilistoff scored to give what was at the time a listless game the Express appeared to have in control suddenly some drama and life for Langley.
The final 6:32 saw Langley look for the equalizer. Their best chance may have come on a scramble when the puck went in the air and landed on top of the with 2 minutes remaining.
The Express weathered that final push which included a few more key stops for Defiel.
Some final fireworks late in the game saw a boarding penalty assessed to Cody Boyd. Then at the end of the game Jacob Reichert picked up a double minor for a spear on Gordie Defiel and Zach Hodder was assessed a slashing penalty coming to the defense of his goaltender.
That sets the table for what should be a vital game 3 in the series Monday night in Coquitlam. The Express will look to try and put the BCHL's top team in the regular season into a 3-0 hole.