Monday, March 17, 2014


It's been a road team series through the first three games of the Mainland division final between the Express and Langley Rivermen.

Game 3 was the third win in as many games for the road team as Langley took game 3 in Coquitlam 5-0 to cut the Express series lead to 2-1.

Right from the get go the Rivermen were ready to play. They opened the scoring just 22 seconds into the contest after they won a battle for the puck behind the net and Jacob Reichert scored his first goal of the series on a wrap around on Gordie Defiel.

Game 3 also saw the return to the lineup for former Express Will Cook after an 11 game absence. He made his presence felt early in his playoff debut scoring a power play goal at 4:39.

Langley's top line which had been fairly quiet in the first two games of the series continued to make an impact as Jacob Reichert and Matt Ustaski set up Kevin Killistoff who scored off the rush to make it a 3-0 game at 11:35.

Things got even tougher for the Express at the end of the first period when Marc Biega was assessed a double minor penalty for spearing.

Austin Azurdia made the Express pay for the penalty 1:35 into the second when he banged home a loose puck that was lying in front of the Express goal.

The two power play goals allowed in game 3 matched the total the Express had allowed in the previous 8 games of the playoffs.

The penalty killing went in the wrong direction for a rare time in these playoffs for the Express.

On the other side the story remains the same on the power play. And that is powerless. The Express didn't score on the power play in game 3 finishing 0 for 5. And that's not to say if the power play made a difference in this game the outcome might have been different. But it is really having a tough time finding any success.

Their best chance to strike came with a 5 on 3 for 1:03 shortly after the 4-0 goal but nothing was accomplished. The Express are now 2 for 36 on the power play in the post-season.

I am one of many Express observers that are baffled by the lack of success when you consider the personnel that are available for selection.

Mitch McLain rounded out the scoring when he had Tanner Johnson's point shot bounce off him and past Gordie Defiel who had a rare tough night in the playoffs. For the Express net minder who has been so strong in the playoffs. There's no reason to believe he can't put this game behind him and be ready to make amends Tuesday.

Brock Crossthwaite at the other end turned aside 24 Express shots for his second shutout of the playoffs. His best save coming off a chance for Canon Pieper in the second period.

Few people would have predicted at the start of the series the Express would take it in 4 straight.

The Express must quickly dust themselves off and put this one behind them and look ahead to game 4 Tuesday.

One loss doesn't change the momentum in the series. It's how you respond that will show you what this edition of the Express is really made of.

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