|Express and Saints line up following 3-1 Express win to open WCC.|
Ryan Rosenthal soared a pair of goals and Canon Pieper added the insurance marker for the Express.
Gordie Defiel turned aside 31 of 32 Saints shots sent his way for the victory.
The Express captain got things rolling just under 7 minutes into the game as he fired a shot from the right circle that caught the inside of the post and just got past Saints goaltender Kenny Cameron.
The opening half of the second period saw the Express spend the majority of that time shorthanded with infractions called on Cody Boyd, Zach Hodder and a double minor high sticking penalty to Brendan Lamont. Coquitlam's penalty killers really do deserve praise for their efforts Sunday. They killed off all that time shorthanded at a key point in the game. In total the Express finished the game killing off 6 Saints man advantages.
The power play time did give Spruce Grove momentum to build on for the second half of the middle period. They continued their push when the game returned to even strength.
Isaac Farrah finally broke through for the Saints as his slap shot appeared to be tipped past a screened Gordie Defiel. That would be the only puck to get past him as he kept up his high level of play in the Western Canada Cup opener.
It was another game that had the Express right where they wanted entering the third period and that is hanging in the balance tied at one.
Early in the third period however there was a scare as Bo Pieper got tangled up with defenceman Gabe Bast and crashed heavily into the end boards with the collision only intensified by the fresh ice.
Pieper was shaken up and was down on the ice for a long period of time bringing a hush over the crowd in Dauphin. Bo eventually shook off the hit and got up and went down the tunnel but did return a few minutes later. And seeing him quickly post game he didn't look to be too worse for ware.
Ryan Rosenthal broke the deadlock with just over 6 minutes remaining in the third period as he had two cracks at the puck from the slot and snapped home his second of the game for a 2-1 Express lead.
Then late in the third period Bo quickly forgot about the collision with the end wall as from the same spot as the hit, he set up his brother Canon who scored with 1:17 remaining for a 3-1 Express lead.
The win sees the Express open up with a 1-0 record. Spruce Grove who had spent time late in the season as the number 1 nationally ranked team is in an early hole at 0-2.
No rest for the wicked as the Express are right back at it facing another 1-0 team Monday when they will take on the MJHL champion Winnipeg Blues at 5:00 PM Pacific time.