Saturday, February 28, 2015


If you felt like you had experienced a deja vu by about 7:30pm Saturday you were probably right.

The Express for a second straight game saw Chilliwack score 4 first period goals in less than 10 minutes to open up a 4-0 lead. This time finishing with a 6-1 win over the Express to conclude the regular season.

Friday Chilliwack scored four goals in a 6:52 span and had a 4-0 lead by the 16:04 mark.

They didn't waste as much time Saturday getting a four goal bulge on the Express.

In the opening minute Tipper Higgins found himself with room in the slot and he let a wrist shot fly that beat Chris Tai just :43 seconds in.

33 seconds later the Chiefs struck again as a Jake Hand dump in hit a stanchion in the corner to the left of Tai and bounced in front of a vacated net as Chris Tai went out awaiting the pucks arrival which never came and Scott Davidson buried the puck into the open net.

In a pair of games where both teams were looking for things they can learn going into the playoff series between the two teams that begins Tuesday, Chris Tai can learn that the net he will guard for the first and third periods has a stanchion at the zamboni entrance that could make pucks do funny things on dump ins.

5:02 later it was 3-0 Chilliwack as Rory Bell beat Chris Tai with a wrist shot from the left wing. Craig Puffer got the fourth Chilliwack goal of the opening frame as his wrist shot from the slot hit a body on the way to the net and trickled past Chris Tai. Certainly two of the goals to get past Tai were tough bounces.

Saturday Chilliwack got four goals on 14 shots in a span of 9:41.

When the playoffs begin Tuesday, the mental part of the game is key to any teams success. And the ability to have a short memory and forget things that don't go right and finding a way to re-focus is key. Well Saturday night we were given a great example of Chris Tai's ability to let by gones be by gones and focus on the next task.

The Express net minder would finish the night seeing a personal season high 56 shots and what he did in the 43 minutes and 38 seconds between goals 4 and 5 of the night for Chilliwack was remarkable.

As he was getting peppered with puck after puck and facing 36 shots between goals and some high quality Chiefs chances, Tai shut the door and was as good as I've ever seen him this season. He kept the game from reaching double digits with some of the saves he made. And to come up with a performance like that after the start he endured tells you a lot about his character.

Certainly the Express will need to play much better in front of Tai starting Tuesday. If that happens and Tai is on like was after his rough start for the whole game the Express have a chance in this series.

Chilliwack's fast start on the other hand in the last two outings shows their ability to be ready to play and the Express must make sure they're ready to match it.

Chilliwack rounded out the scoring on a Peter Forsberg like one handed goal by Jake Hand to make it 5-1 on the Chiefs 51st shot. I don't think that goal will be on a postage stamp anytime soon. Tai very much might have had a chance on that goal to make another great save if he was 5'11 instead of 5'9 as he stretched out to try make the save. The final goal for the Chiefs was a Ryan Bowen wrist shot that hit an Express defender and found the twine.

Brett Supinski scored the lone Express goal in the final minute of the second period finishing off a give and go with Corey Mackin. Supinski finishes the season with 48 goals and 98 points. Mackin completes his BCHL scoring championship season with 50 goals and 104 points which puts him in a tie with Tyler McNeely for the second most points in a season by an Express player.

The Express know they weren't at their best in these final two games of the regular season. They know the intensity level goes up a few notches starting Tuesday.

When the Express have been at their best in the final 6 weeks or so of the season they've been able to spread their offense around pretty equally around the lineup. That will need to come to the forefront again starting Tuesday.

Chilliwack's balanced attack is one area of note I've looked closely at in advance of this series. It showed itself in these two games by scoring 11 goals and only Jake Hand scored more than once with three goals. Eight other players scored goals for Chilliwack in the final two games.

Now the time has arrived to be willing to sacrifice for the guy sitting next to you in that dressing room. Be committed as the Express open the playoffs Tuesday embarking on that journey again which can be a magical ride as the Express look to keep the Fred Page Cup in Coquitlam for another spring and summer.

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