Sunday, January 21, 2018


Will Lawerence scores on a wraparound - Photo courtesy of Damon James
In what may be a first round playoff preview, the Express defeated Vernon 2-1 Sunday afternoon in Coquitlam. Yes the Express may play Vernon in the first round of the playoffs.

Colby Pederson - Photo courtesy of Damon James
It could happen if the Express stay ahead of the Cowichan Valley Capitals in the overall league standings and Vernon finishes atop of the interior division standings. That would happen as result of the Express crossing over into the interior.

Sunday's game was as tight as a playoff game. Right off the bat Vernon came out with plenty of speed attacking the Express.

Jesse Lansdell rewarded his team by tipping a Michael Ufberg point shot to open the scoring just 1:06 into the game. It was the second straight outing the Express had allowed the game's first goal less than 1:10 into the game.

Despite the slow start, the Express were able to slow down the Vipers and settle into the game.

Midway through the first period Will Lawerence grabbed a loose puck behind the Vernon net after a John Sheardown snapshot and scored on a wrap around to even the game at one on just the third goal of the season for Lawerence. It was his first goal since November 10th in Surrey.

The power play struck again to propel the Express into a 2-1 lead after 1 period. Troy Robillard rushed the puck into the Vipers zone and found a lane to the net and took full advantage of it and beat Anthony Yamnitsky in a backhand for his 5th of the season.

From there the game really locked down into a close checking contest.

Josh Bruce - Photo courtesy of Damon James
Yamnistky made middle period saves off a Colby Pederson shot on a 2 on 1 and Eric Linell cutting in from the left wing to keep the Vipers deficit at just one.

In the third period Vernon really started to press looking for the equalizer. When they did they had to contend with a dialed in Brock Hamm.

The Express goaltender made saves off Jesse Lansdell in the slot and Brett Stapley on Vernon's best chances in the third period to cap off the win. Hamm finished with 30 saves to improve his record to 8-1-2 in his last 11 games.

It was the third straight win for the Express on home ice. They finished a 4 game week with a record of 3-1.

No rest for the Express who are right back in action Tuesday night in West Kelowna.

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