Reid Cooper made 35 saves for his first BCHL shutout and Christian Bosa scored a pair of first period goals as the Express shutout the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 3-0. Click here for boxscore
It was a game that featured a pair of teams that won't be heading to the BCHL playoffs.
The Express resembled a team that is still working hard to finish the season on a positive note.
They jumped on the Bulldogs and it didn't take long for them to be rewarded.
Noah Turanski led the rush out of the Express zone and dished to Bosa who called for the puck, then when he got it he ripped a shot up over the glove of Brody Claeys for a 1-0 Express lead.
Boss only had to wait 1:34 for his next goal. This time he re-directed a David Giunta point shot for a 2-0 Express lead. The Bulldogs briefly argued Bosa's stick was high, but a short dicussion determined the goal was legal.
The two goals for the Express were all part of a strong opening period that saw the Express outshoot Alberni Valley 18-11.
Blake Hayward gave the Express a 3-0 lead early in the second period taking a Luca Leone pass and slding a backhand home for his 8th of the season.
That would end up being the final goal of the night for the Express, but the odd man rushes for the Express would keep on coming in the opening half of the period, and Claeys was the lone reason the Express didn't add to their lead.
Midway through the second period the game started to shift a little and Reid Cooper got locked in the Express crease. He stopped 9 shots in the second period. He then added another 15 shots in the third but weren't able to beat the Express goaltender who posted his first career BCHL shutout. Cooper can also thank his teammates for their solid play in front of him limiting the high quality chances against and getting sticks in the way to deflect Bulldog shots away from the Express net.
The shots finished 39-35 in favour of the Express which is just the second time in 57 games the Express have outshot an opponent. The other time came in the first meeting of the season between the two teams at the Bauer BCHL showcase in Chilliwack in September.
The Express have one game left in their season this coming Friday when they host the Prince George Spruce Kings.
Matt Baker's 3 goal and 1 assist performance paced Wenatchee's attack in a 9-0 win over the Express Wednesday.
It was the 4th straight shutout in the season series for Wenatchee over the Express.
The Wild's fast paced uptempo game was too much for the Express to handle on this night. Despite Lawson Fenton's best efforts, and he did make a lot of good saves, the goals eventually started to go in.
Baker converted a feed off the rush for his first of the night to open the scoring. Brian Willams won a puck battle on the boards then cut into the slot and scored for a 2-0 lead after one.
Wenatchee really pulled away in the first 8 minutes of the second period. Baker scored twice to complete his hat-trick. Dakota Raabe, Alex Bates and Tyler Rockwell also scored for a 7-0 lead by the 7:49 mark.
Lawson Fenton was relieved after 7 goals on 28 shots. Reid Cooper did his best to shut the door the rest of the way in the second period with 10 saves to finish the period.
AJ Vanderbeck and Logan Miliken struck just over a minute apart in the third period to round out the scoring.
Wenatchee split their goaltending duties with Anthony Yamnitsky making just 6 saves in 40 minutes. Anthony Cooly turned aside all 7 Express shots in the third period. The final shots finished 58-13 for the Wild.
The win opened up a 5 point lead on Wenatchee on Chilliwack for first place in the Mainland division. The Wild will finish the season with 4 straight meetings with the Langley Rivermen. Chilliwack has 5 games left in their season.
The Express have two games left in their season. They will host Alberni Valley Sunday and then wrap up the season vs. Prince George a week from this Friday.
The Express battled back in the final 24 minutes but saw their come back effort come just short in a 5-3 loss to the Chilliwack Chiefs. Click here for boxscore
For Chilliwack it clinched a 7 game season series sweep of the Express.
The Express returned home to begin a 4 game home stand to wrap up the regular season.
Another chapter of the Express injury riddled season was written over the weekend with Lawson Fenton and Reid Cooper getting hurt forcing AP's from the Vancouver Northeast Chiefs Kolby Matthews and Jonathan Holloway to dress for the Express between the pipes.
Matthews, who has dressed for the Express as an AP in the past made his first BCHL start and second appearance for the Express. Overall he had a pretty solid game going up against one of the BCHL's top team.
He may have taken the loss in the game, but Chilliwack needed to get to the net in order to convert close plays in front of the net because shots from well out weren't going to beat the Express goaltender.
Kohen Olischefski opened the scoring for Chilliwack converting a feed from behind the Express net and tucking it home.
Six minutes later Kale Kane buried the rebound of a Jordan Kawaguchi shot for a power play goal giving the Chiefs a 2-0 lead after the first period.
The Chiefs outshot the Express in the first period by a count of 20-5. The Express have Matthews to thank for minimizing the damage. He looked poised and confident in the crease with the Chilliwack shots peppered his way.
Davis Bunz converted his own rebound as he cut in from the right wing to make it 3-0 Chiefs. Four minutes later it was 4-0 on Kane's second of the game finishing off a 2 on 1 chance in close to the Express crease.
Owen Stout returned to the lineup on the weekend road trip in the interior. He has picked up right where he left off as one of the Express top point producers. He scored three goals in two games on the road. Wednesday he scored a highlight reel goal late in the second period taking a Mitch Newsome pass and beating a Chiefs defender off the rush then slid a backhand home between the pads of Mathieu Caron to get the Express on the board. Stout finished the game with a goal and an assist.
That goal sparked an Express rally that carried into the third period.
Will Lawrence made it a 4-2 game on a wraparound just 1:15 into the period.
Then back to back Chilliwack penalties gave the Express a 5 on 3 advantage for just over a minute, despite good puck control in the Chiefs zone the Express couldn't capitalize.
Moments after the teams returned to 5 on 5 Jordan Schulting pulled the Express within one walking in from the point and snapped a shot past the glove of Caron. The former Chiefs defenseman had a goal and an assist in the third period.
With 10 minutes left in the third period there was plenty of time for the Express to complete the comeback.
It was at this point the Chiefs worked to put the clamp on the Express come back bid. Kolby Matthews came up with some key stops to keep the dream of the come back alive.
In the final minute of the third period following a face-off in the Express zone Chiefs captain Jordan Kawaguchi dashed the Express come back hopes tapping home a Kohen Olischefski pass at the edge of the crease for 5-3 Chiefs lead.
Kawaguchi finished with a goal and an assist. Kale Kane finished with two goals and an assist.
The Express will have the weekend off before returning to action next Wednesday when they host the Wenatchee Wild.