Friday, December 2, 2016


N. Turanski & Gavin Payne - Photo courtesy of Damon James
The Express struggles have been well documented since their last victory on October 21st vs. the Wenatchee Wild. The injuries and a short lineups have resulted in some lopsided losses during the last 6 weeks. But there hasn't been a more disappointing loss than tonight's 5-4 double OT loss to the Langley Rivermen. Click here for boxscore

Tonight's set back was as close as the Express have come to posting a victory since October 21st. And now the Express have had their winless streak extended to 15 games with a record of 0-13-1-1.

Luca Leone - Photo courtesy of Damon James
Not much was different for the Express tonight than in their previous 14 outings. They played with 9 regulars out of the lineup.

There was questions prior to the game if Sam Kozlowski was going to be able to play. And by the midway mark of the 2nd period the Express had lost Will Lawrence after a collision along the boards. The Express dressed 5 AP's in an effort to fill the lineup.

With all that in mind the Express battled Langley right down to the bitter end eventually allowing 4-1 lead slip through their hands.

Friday the Express did something they haven't done a lot of this season and that is scoring first as Luca Leone went to the backhand to slide the puck past Bradley Cooper.

Brendan Budy finished off a beautiful 3 on 2 rush to pull Langley even at 13:07.

But the Express quickly responded with Alex Ambrosio ripping a shot up over the glove of Cooper on a two on one just 1:31 later.

Sam Kozlowski then put the Express into some rarified air 1:04 after Ambrosio's goal he buried the rebound of a Brett Cox point shot giving the Express a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.

Langley is playing with two AP goaltenders with Bo Didur and Brandon Fleming suffering injuries in the same game November 19th vs. Langley.

Bradley Cooper was replaced by Chad Cromar to start the 2nd period after three Express goals in 8 first period shots.

8 minutes into the second Hayden Knight was handed a double minor for spearing for a subtle little jab after the whistle behind the Express net.

The Express bailed out their teammate by killing off the penalties. Then Knight redeemed himself by taking a pass from Erik Udahl and beating Cromar with a shot up over the glove when he stepped out of the penalty box.

The Knight goal had some great numerology to it. It was scored by Knight who wears the number 12 at 12:12 on the 12th shot of the night for the Express.

Angus Crookshank started Langley's comeback beating Reid Cooper on a backhand as he came out of the corner just 1:09 after the Knight goal.

It was pretty clear in the opening moments of the third period the Rivermen were going to force the Express to earn the victory Friday night. They had a strong start to the period which set the tone for the final 20 minutes.

Ryan Barrow cut the Express lead to one on the power play scoring at the side of the Express net converting the rebound of a Cameron Ginetti point shot that was wired off the glass.

Special teams played a deciding factor in this game in the third period. The Express couldn't convert a one minute 5 on 3 in the third period. And a late period power play which would have put the Rivermen away.

Reid Cooper finished with 31 saves - Photo courtesy of Damon James
Langley meanwhile in the final minute of the third period scored their 2nd power play goal of the period with a 6 on 4 advantage when Zac Masson jammed home a loose puck with just 15.4 seconds remaining in the third period. Langley finished 2 for 6 on the power play while the Express went 0 for 5.

The Express were just 15.4 seconds away from finally snapping their 14 game winless streak.

Nothing was decided in a relatively uneventful 4 on 4 first overtime. It was a much different story in 3 on 3. The best chance for the Express to win it was a two on nothing break from centre ice for Udhal and Ambrosio but the Express never ended up registering a shot.

Langley would make no mistake as they went the other way and Cameron Ginetti dropped the puck back for Ryan Barrow who out waited Cooper and tucked it home for his 2nd of the night to give Langley the 5-4 win.

It's not just the fact that Friday's OT loss was the closest the Express had come to posting a victory in their last 15 games. It's the manner in which they lost that makes this one hurt more than the previous 14 games. There have been plenty of blowouts and games where the Express were heavily outshot.

That wasn't the case tonight. They had the three goal lead, were only outshot 36-30 and they battled as close to even as they have to any opponent during this run and still didn't get the result.

This run hasn't been easy on anyone for the Express. Players and coaches especially. Everyone wants them to get the winning feeling again and it's hard not to feel for the team to have them suffer another set back in this manner. All they can do is regroup and get ready to host Victoria on Sunday afternoon. 

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