|Express take a page out of the Toronto Maple Leafs book and salute the fans... Oh wait a moment the Leafs don't do that.|
Coquitlam picked up their first win in four tries vs. the Chilliwack Chiefs with a 3-1 decision on home ice Friday.
It was the blue line on back that led the charge for the Express Friday with a pair of goals from defencemen and a solid effort from goaltender Chris Tai.
Rookie blueliner Cole Bevan got things started for the Express when he found himself with the puck on his stick in the slot on a pass from Colton Kerfoot and Bevan scored his first BCHL goal to finish off an odd man rush after Tipper Higgins for Chilliwack couldn't convert a 2 on 1 at the other end.
Chris Tai turned aside 33 of 34 Chiefs shots for his 6th win with the Express. His best save may have come in the opening seconds of the second period when he came to his left to deny Higgins who was set up by Craig Puffer.
Daniel Fritz added to the Express attack from the blue line scoring a power play goal with a slap shot of a rolling puck that beat Aiden Pelino at 3:18. Four of Fritz's six goals this season have come on the power play.
Midway through the second period penalties to Cole Bevan and Anthony Gardner 12 seconds apart gave Chilliwack a key must score 5 on 3 advantage. And they did exactly that as Ryan Bowen showed good patience after receiving a pass then making sure to bury it over a sprawled out Chris Tai for Bowen's fourth goal of the season. That would be the only puck to beat Tai in the second period who turned aside the other 11 shots sent his way in the second period.
Cody Boyd's value to the Express as i've said numerous times isn't always measured in points on the scoresheet despite what his recent offensive production will tell you. It's his physical play, and that was very much on display Friday night. He played like a truck with a driver consumed by road rage. And he was taking his anger out on Chilliwack players. A number of guys were on the receiving end of big, body jolting, board rattling hits that left players worse for wear following the hit.
The third period most notably is where the Express penalty killing helped the team earn the two points. They were able to kill off three Chilliwack power plays in the final 12 minutes of the game to keep the Express ahead by a goal until Corey Mackin put the game away with his third shorthanded goal of the season into an empty net with just over two minutes to play. The Express killed off 5 of 6 Chilliwack power plays Friday.
But the story of the game wasn't done there until Chris Tai made a number of other great saves to put the final touches on the Express victory.
The two teams will go at it again Saturday night in Chilliwack.