Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Mat Michie & Linden Hora - Photo courtesy of Garrett James
Austin Adam's OT goal gave Chilliwack a 4-3 win over the Express in game 3 of the Mainland division semi final. Chilliwack now owns a commanding 3-0 lead in the series putting the Express on the brink of elimination. Click here for boxscore

Lawson Fenton & V. Sukumaran - Photo courtesy of Garrett James
Coming off a lopsided 9-1 loss in game 2 Saturday, the Express needed to find their defensive structure in game 3 that they showed in game 1 that pushed Chilliwack to need an OT win in the series opener. In game 3 Monday the Express found that structure again in their game.

That allowed the Express to keep the game close all night and come within a single shot of a victory for a second time in three games this series.

But for a third straight game in this series Chilliwack opened the scoring. Dennis Chowlowski beat Lawson Fenton with a wrist shot up over his glove.

Jackson Cressey & Austin Adam - Photo courtesy of Garrett James
Special teams throughout the night had big moments at various times in game 3. The Express killed of the second Chiefs power play of the first period with Ryan Coghlan in the box for roughing after he went after Jordan Kawaguchi in frustration after the Chiefs sniper got the better of Coghlan after he lined up Kawaguchi for a hit.

In the final minute of the 1st period the teams traded chances with the Express on the power play. Jake Smith missed an open net on a 2 on 1 shorthanded chance. The Express went the other way and Aidan Pelino robbed Taylor Green on a set up from Colton Kerfoot on a 2 on 1 for a second straight game.

Moments later the Express power play broke through. Cam Bertsch threw the puck at the net from the left wing and it bounced in to tie the game at one.

Ryan Forbes and Linden Hora were called for elbowing and charging second period penalties at the same time giving the Express a full two minute two man advantage. The Express quickly made the Chiefs pay with Austin McIlMurray scoring on a one timer from the left circle set up by Charlie Barrow for a 2-1 Express lead.

The Express power play up until that point had been the lone source of offense in the series. The first five goals for the Express in the series have all come with the man advantage.

In the playoffs mistakes are always magnified much more than they are in the regular season. Teams can't be gifted opportunities when they have the skill to make teams pay.

Austin McIlMurray scored twice - Photo courtesy of Garrett James
That is exactly what happened allowing the Chiefs to even the score. Blake Hayward swatted Kohen Olischefski's stick on the ice away as Olischefski went to pick it up. The officials rightly called Hayward for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Jordan Kawaguchi only needed 20 seconds on the power play to make the Express pay poking home a loose puck for his third of the series to tie the game at 2.

The second period was a seasaw affair and the Express took their second lead, again it was Austin McIlMurray snapping home a pass from Alex Ambrosio in the slot to give the Express their second lead of the night at 3-2.

This lead didn't last either for the Express. Jeremy Germain scored on his own rebound to tie it at three after two periods.

Chilliwack has had trouble shutting down the Express power play in this series. The Express finished the night 2 for 5. But Chilliwack got two big penalty kills at a key time. The Express had their second two man advantage late in the second that carried over into the third period.

The Express weren't able to strike for a second time on a 5 on 3 and the game was tied at three.

Now the series really hung in the balance in the third period in a 3-3 tie. Chilliwack at this point started to control the majority of the play in the Express end. For Coquitlam, they maintained their structure in their own end. And Lawson Fenton shut the door when the Chiefs looked for the lead.

McIlMurray, J. Lansdell & C. Kerfoot - Photo courtesy of Garrett James
Fenton also got a little help as well as Jordan Kawaguchi rang a shot off the post with the Chiefs on their lone power play of the third period.

Chilliwack's puck control allowed them to slowly apply more pressure on the Express hoping they would crack. The Express did a lot of things right in their own end to battle the game to overtime.

Once overtime began it was more of the same for the Chiefs. Lawson Fenton made his best save of overtime off Jeremy Germain with the Express goaltender down but got his left paid on the Chiefs forward's shot.

The dam finally broke on the Express however. Jordan Kawaguchi behind the Express net found in a pinching Austin Adam and Adam sledgehammered the pass past Lawson Fenton to give the Chiefs a 4-3 OT win and 3-0 series lead at 5:23.

Jordan Kawaguchi showed again Monday why is a money player. He scored another key goal after an Express undisciplined penalty to tie the game in the 2nd period. He then set up the game winning goal to put the Chiefs on the brink of a sweep of the Express.

The Express will be playing for the playoff lives and try to avoid the sweep in game 4 Tuesday in Coquitlam.

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