|Jackson Cressey scored twice and added an assist - Photo Courtesy of Damon James|
Coming off a disappointing 7-2 set back in the opener vs. Powell River, the Express wanted to make amends against a very good team. That's exactly what happened.
Right from the start the Express were physical, skating creating chances and eventually their work paid off.
The top line of Captain Jackson Cressey, Colton Kerfoot and Austin McIlmurray carried the load for the Express offensively. They scored all four goals with Kerfoot and Cressey each scoring twice. While McIlmurray chipped in with a pair of helpers. They combined for four goals and three assists for seven points.
|Colton Kerfoot celebrates one of his two goals - Photo Courtesy of Damon James|
The Clippers got it back just over three minutes later as Sean Buchannon beat Tyger Howat with a shot off the post and in.
The Express top line took over a shift in the Nanaimo zone cycling effectively for a good 30 seconds below the hashmarks. The cycle was helped out by a smart pinch by defenceman Taylor Green to keep the cycle alive. Eventually, the Clippers coverage was broken down and Cressey scored on a pass from behind the net by Kerfoot for a 2-1 Express lead.
|Eric Udahl - Photo Courtesy of Damon James|
Owen Stout at one point showed good speed and used it to create a chance wiring a shot off the post, Cam Bertsch using his speed defensively to make a good play in his own end, Jake Brien delivered another body rattling hit for a second straight game.
Colton Kerfoot got his second of the game late in the second period converting a clever diagonal pass through the zone by Owen Stout for a powerplay goal to give the Express a 3-1 lead through 40 minutes.
Clippers defenceman Yanni Kaldis pulled Nanaimo within one early in the third period with a shot that beat Howat on the glove side.
Then came a key sequence moments later. A pair of Express penalties in quick succession gave Nanaimo a 5 on 3 for 1:38. The Clippers owned the puck in the Nanaimo zone, but a combination of key saves by Howat and the penalty killing unit held off the Nanaimo surge to keep the Express in front.
Midway through the third period Austin McIlmurray sprung Cressey on a breakaway and he re-stored the Express two goal advantage.
Cressey really showed why he was given the “C” for the Express this season. He may have played his best game in an Express uniform Saturday. In addition to scoring a pair of goals, he was delivering hits, paying the price to block shots. Setting a pretty easy example for the rest of his teammates to follow. And follow they did.
Jack Surowiec was among one of the other players that stood out paying the price to block shots to help preserve the win. Taylor Green was solid breaking up rushes at the Express blue line.
|Tyger Howat was 1st star with 48 saves - Photo Courtesy of Damon James|
This win against a good team can help set the standard the Express would like to set for this season.
Next week the Express are on the road in Victoria and Nanaimo Thursday and Friday. Before playing their home opener in one week vs. Cowichan Valley next Saturday.