Thursday, March 8, 2018


Clay Stevenson and Chris Klack
Photo courtesy of Damon James.
The Express season came to an end Wednesday night with a 2-1 loss to the Penticton Vees. The BCHL's top team completed a four game sweep of the Interior Division Quarterfinal. Click here for boxscore

In a series that at times saw Penticton play at a high tempo that resulted in blow out wins in games 2 and 3, it was a tighter game for the Express with a slower pace despite the fact they were outshot 59-26.

Right off the bad the Express had a great scramble chance, but they couldn't jam the puck past Vees goaltender Adam Scheel.

Clay Stevenson got the call between the pipes in game 4. He relieved Brock Hamm in each of the previous two games. Game 4 quickly developed into a game of a lifetime for the Express goaltender. He was peppered with plenty of shots and made Penticton earn everything that they got.

Late in the first period Stevenson made a sequence of four saves while the Express were shorthanded on a Vees two on one and a breakaway by Wyatt Sloboshan.

Stevenson finished the first period with 22 saves. The Express had 11 shots on Adam Scheel.

The second period has been the difference maker for the Vees. It appeared to be more of the same for Penticton early in game 4. Owen Sillinger scored his first of the series on a power play at 1:22 to open the scoring.

Josh Wildauer - Photo courtesy of Damon James
Then less than a minute later Owen's younger brother Lukas rolled the puck to the net and it rolled in and the officials originally called goal. Then upon further discussion it was waved off on a kicking motion. That overturn of the original call didn't sit too kindly on the Vees bench.

Three minutes later the Express tied the game on the power play. Jonathan Sheardown's shot was deflected by Josh Wildauer on his first of the series.

Lukas Sillinger appeared to have scored again at the 13 minute mark on a rebound chance. This time the official said no goal and the call stood again to the dismay of the Vees.

Off the ensuing face-off Jonathan Sheardown was robbed on a odd-man rush and the game remained tied going into the third period.

Early in the third Clay Stevenson had some adventures playing the puck and there were a couple of occasions where he nearly got burned.

Jack MacNab - Photo courtesy of Damon James
Wyatt Sloboshan appeared to be the best candidate to break the deadlock. He had numerous breakaways, but was shutdown by Stevenson each time.

Finally Penticton broke through on a Jonny Sheardown shot that was blocked springing a 2 on 1 the other way and Taylor Ward converted the pass from Massimo Rizzo for a 2-1 Vees lead with 12 minutes to play.

As the third period ticked down the Express kept fighting for their season, but eventually the Vees held on.

Clay Stevenson should be proud with the goaltending effort he gave his team finishing with 57 saves allowing his team to battle right to the final seconds.

Penticton will face the Trail Smoke Eaters in the second round as all four Interior division series finished in sweeps. The other series will see the Vernon Vipers take on the Wenatchee Wild.

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to read these posts and visit the blog. 

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