Sunday, November 23, 2014


The Alberni Valley Bulldogs extended their winning streak to four games and completed a sweep of a very tough Mainland division road trip with a 4-1 win over the Express Sunday. The loss for the Express was their second in a row after falling 2-1 Saturday in Chilliwack.

If Alberni Valley was fatigued following games Friday in Prince George then playing in Surrey Saturday it didn't show at the start as they got the early jump on the Express. The visitors opened the scoring late in the opening frame when the puck got poked past Corey Mackin working the point on the power play and Dylan Haugen scored on a shorthanded breakaway goal.

Chris Tai may have been on the losing end for the Express, but it wasn't from the lack of a very solid game. His quickness with his legs and agility on the 37 shots he faced resulted in another solid game in the crease to keep his team within striking distance all night. Similar to the effort he put forth the night before.

If there's one theme that stands out from the last two outings from the Express has been the lack of quality scoring chances and setting the tempo. Most notably where that stands out were the inability for the Express to hit double digits in shots in a period in their last two games with the exception of the third period Sunday.

Two minutes into the second the Bulldogs extended their lead when Josh Adkins was able to find a loose puck and jam it under Tai at 2:21.

Shortly thereafter the Express were able to break through for their lone goal as Corey Mackin was able to find some free ice and get behind the Bulldogs defense to score his 25th of the season. But it has been a bit of tough go for the Express top line recently as their time and space has been harder to find with tighter checking from their opposition.

Chris Schultz's power play goal at 15:56 restored Alberni Valley's two goal lead on a bomb of a one timer that Chris Tai had little chance of keeping out.

The Express best chance to get back in the game came late in the second period with a 5 on 3 advantage for 1:15 but nothing came out of it as the Express went 0 for 6 while up a man.

Billy Christopoulos wasn't overly busy Sunday finishing with 24 saves. Possibly his best save came off Brett Supinski midway through the second as Christopoulos got his left pad down on a scramble in front.

Justin Merreck put the game on ice for good with an empty netter in the final seconds. Then before the teams could line up for the face-off Brendan Gulka has his emotions get the best of him as he had words for the Bulldogs bench and the Express forward needed to be restrained by an official as he was led off the ice.

Next weekend the Express hit the road for a pair of games in Prince George.

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