Friday, October 31, 2008


Former Express goaltender Mark Currie has been credited with scoring a goal. He's now playing with the renowned Notre Dame Hounds in the Saskatchewan Jr. Hockey League.

Currie was the last player to touch the puck when the Weyburn Red Wings scored on their own goal while their netminder was pulled for a delayed penalty Wednesday night. It is not known the last time a goaltender was credited with scoring a goal in the Saskatchewan league.

Weyburn went on to defeat the Hounds 8-5.

Currie has a 7-5 record this season with a 4.19 GAA.

He was the Express third string goaltender during their run to the 2006 Royal Bank Cup.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


It was a great start for Brodie Reid and his Canada West teammates in exhibition play for the upcoming World Junior A Challenge.

Reid led the attack with a hat-trick and one assist as Canada West hammered Augustina College 9-2.

Langley's Derek Grant scored twice while Penticton's Denver Manderson had a pair of helpers.

Canada West outshot their opponents 50-22.

The next game for Canada West is Friday vs. the two time silver medalists Canada East.

Following the game, the roster will be trimmed down from 25 to 22 before the tournament begins on Sunday in Camrose Alberta.

Canada West will open the tournament vs. Belarus.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


It was a great home coming for former Express Milan Lucic.

This morning he had his 07 Memorial Cup ring that was stolen from his Vancouver home this past summer replaced. Tonight, he is victorious in his first NHL game in Vancouver as his Bruins blanked the Canucks 1-0.

Lucic had 8 hits and 5 shots on goal. He even gave the Canucks a scare in the third as his slap shot from the wing caught Roberto Luongo up high shaking him up.

Tim Thomas stopped all 31 Canuck shots for his second consecutive shutout.

Kyle Turris is the next Express alum to come to town as his Coyotes will be at GM Place on Thursday Nov. 6.

David Jones and his Avs will be here on Nov. 12. Andrew Ladd's Blackhawks are in town on December 20.


This is random and out of the blue. But I just wanted to post this great shot of Joe Pavelski hitting the ice in San Jose.


Everything was looking bright going into last weekend for the Express. They were getting 2 new faces in the lineup with Dylan Herold and Cam Brodie coming over in a trade with Merritt. The injuries were starting to heal up. And the Express had the island and mainland division cellar dwellers Alberni Valley and Surrey on the schedule.

Saturday the Express welcomed the two win Alberni Valley Bulldogs to the Bill Copeland Sports Centre. The Dogs were playing their third game in 3 nights to wrap up their mainland division road trip.

The Express injury problems appeared to be a thing of the past with Max Grassi, Brodie Reid, Garrick Perry, Anthony Collins and Jacob Verheyden all back in the lineup.

During their time away, the team lost 6 straight games, the special teams took a beating and the identity of the team was lost.

Another, bright spot for the Express was getting to face Bulldogs goaltender Matthew Wong. Last season when he was a member of the Victoria Grizzlies. The Express torched him in the regular season and playoffs for a 2-4 record, 6.14 GAA and a save percentage of 79.69%

So going into the weekend there were no excuses for the Express.

Well, things started to change when the puck dropped Saturday night. The powerplay got back on track when Mike Leidl scored his first goal of the season firing a wrist shot past Dogs goaltender Matthew Wong 2:33 into the game.

Less than 4 minutes later the Express power play struck again. And one of the new faces Dylan Herold got on the score sheet for the first time as he played it down low to Brodie Reid who put in front for Max Grassi to put home for a 2-0 Burnaby lead.

Great start for the Express. But, the Express coaches knew for as poor as the Dogs record is, it wasn't going to be an easy game. The head to head matchups last season between the two teams was all the proof the Express needed as a reminder the game wasn't going to be a cake walk.

Even though the Express swept all 4 games last season, the Bulldogs made the Express earn everything they got.

Same could be said for Saturday night. The Dogs didn't get rattled by the quick start by the Express and rallied to tie the game on goals by Mark Morikawa and Chris Moulson before the first 20 minutes was done. The Dogs had outshot the Express 14-11 in the first period.

The Express power play went to work again in the second when Brodie Reid found Grassi back door and he picked the top corner for his second goal of the game to restore the Express lead. The goal was Burnaby's 3rd powerplay goal of the game. A far contrast from the struggles the PP had in recent games when it went 3 for it's last 58 opportunities in the last 11 games.

The penalty killing also had a bounce back game. The opposition was 11 for 30 on the power play during the Express 6 game losing streak. That's a percentage of 36.6%. The PK also contributed offensively when Max Grassi poked the puck of Eliot Raibl's stick at the Express blueline and had all day to bury his third goal of the game on a breakaway to restore a two goal Express advantage.

Hear Grassi's hat-trick here.

It was Grassi's first career BCHL hat-trick.

One of the most encouraging signs from an Express point of view was seeing the hard working aggressive forechecking style of play return thanks to all the healthy bodies.

Despite falling behind by two for the second time in the game, the Dogs still didn't quit. In the third, the Dogs were building momentum after 2 power plays. They didn't score on the 5 on 4 advantages, but moments after a Mike Leidl penalty expired, Eliot Raibl took a cross ice pass and blasted home a one timer to make it a one goal game midway through the third.

It would set up a dramatic finish to the game. Anthony Collins had a chance to put the game on ice but could score when he shot wide on a breakaway. Burnaby also couldn't take advantage on the powerplay with Jackson Garrett sitting in the box for high-sticking.

That takes us to the final minute. The Dogs pulled Wong for an extra attacker. Then the Express got into penalty trouble with Mike Leidl being called for high sticking at 19:27. Followed seconds later by a Brodie Reid tripping penalty at 19:44 giving Alberni Valley and 6 on 3 advantage.

Alberni Valley won the faceoff in the Burnaby zone and put the puck in front creating a mad scramble that seemed to last an eternity before finally the puck was cleared to the corner and the horn sounded giving the Express the 4-3 victory snapping their 6 game losing streak.

Having a healthy roster and the new faces certainly made a big difference for the Express. Herold skated along side Grassi and Reid on the top line. That trio combined for 3 goals and 4 assists.

Grassi had the hat-trick in his return and Brodie Reid had 3 assists in only his 5th game of the season. Herold had one assist in the win.

The power play finished 3/6 and the penalty killing was a perfect 10 for 10.

Zack Mazo had 3 assists in the loss for Alberni Valley.


Burnaby 28
Alberni Valley 27

3 stars

3-Eliot Raibl (1G)
2-Mike Leidl (1G)
1-Max Grassi (3G)

Sunday the Express were off to Surrey for an afternoon affair. The game was huge for both clubs in the standings. The Express were looking to open up a 8 point lead on the Eagles for 3rd place in the Mainland division. Surrey came in riding a modest 2 game winning streak. Including a dramatic 6-5 win on the road in Victoria. Handing the Grizzlies their first home ice loss of the season.

The Eagles took the last meeting between the two clubs at South Surrey Arena by a score of 6-1. The Eagles struck 4 times on the power play. They had more jump and simply outworked the Express from the drop of the puck.

The day had a casual lassiez faire feel to it. The sun was shining. The people I talked to at the rink had the same feeling. And it carried over to the game.

The game was scoreless after a rather uneventful first period. The shots were only 7-7 after the first period. The highlight of the period coming when Ryan Pajimola leveled Express rookie Gavin Hohl at the blueline. That would be the end to the Express rookie's night. The Express were also without defenceman Greg Bay with an injury.

The game wasn't full of great scoring chances. Burnaby had their best chance to open the scoring when Simon Denis fired a one timer, but Eagles netminder Tommy Tartaglione came to his left to make a spectacular old school two pad stack save.

Mike Krgovich finally opened the scoring midway through the second when former Express Spencer Bennett weaved his way through the Express defence and put a pass on the tape of Krgovich in the crease who re-directed it home.

The Express would lose another defenceman when Colin De Jersey was hit hard in his own zone. It was the second straight game the second year d-man was shaken up. It was pretty scary because the night before he left after a hit in his own end and was pretty wobbly as he made he was back to the bench. It would be deja vu all over again for De Jersey who again was very wobbly going back to the Burnaby bench.

Another former Express was vital in playing a role in helping the Eagles add to their lead. Steve Ceccanase scored on a one timer with a minute and a half left in the 2nd period. Adam Hartley and Chris Santiago got the assists.

Ceccanase who was sent to Merritt as part of the deal that brought Herold and Brodie to Burnaby was quickly shipped to the Eagles. The former Villanova Knight has now put up 4 goals and 9 points in 9 BCHL games.

So the Express were in a hole going into the third. Up until this point, they really haven't tested the Eagle netminder. The energy level wasn't up to par. And again the Express just weren't sharp. Much like the last time the two teams met.

Adam Hartley rounded out the scoring on a power play tipping a Doug Marshall shot through the legs of Richie Virtanen with 5 minutes to go.

The only thing left to decide was if Tartaglione was going to get the shutout. At this point, it was just a matter of running out the clock. Tartaglione wasn't overly tested in the first 55 minutes. Same could be said for the final 5 minutes. The Express sent 30 shots Tartaglione's way and he had little trouble stopping them all en route to his first shutout of the season.

Final score Eagles 3 Express 0.

The win pulled the Eagles within 4 points of the Express for 3rd place in the mainland division with the Eagles having 3 games in hand on Burnaby.

3 stars

3-Steve Ceccanase (1G,1A)
2-Mike Krgovich (GWG)
1-Tommy Tartaglione (30 saves, shutout)


Burnaby 0/5
Surrey 1/5

The Express have just one game on the schedule this week. They will host the defending BCHL champion Penticton Vees on Saturday.

Monday, October 27, 2008


The BCHL has changed the playoff format for the Coastal Conference this season. It is reverting back to a conference format instead of a divisional format as was originally planned prior to the season.

At the start of the season, the Coastal conference was re-aligned to two divisions. The Mainland and Island. Powell River, which in years past has been considered and island team moved to the mainland to form a pair of four team divisions. The Island consisting of Victoria, Nanaimo, Cowichan Valley and Alberni Valley. And the mainland, consisting of Burnaby, Langley, Surrey and Powell River.

Come playoff time, the winner of each division would have a first round bye, then the 2nd place team would play the 3rd place team with the 4th place club missing the playoffs. The first round would see the teams play a best of 5 series with the winner facing the division champion in a best of 7 2nd round matchup. Then the winner of the two division finals series would face each other in the Coastal Conference finals.

This years format has now been changed to go back to last years conference format. The top 2 teams in the conference would get a first round bye. That would leave the 3rd seed to play the 6th seed and the 4th seed play the 5th seed in a best of 5. Seeds 7&8 would not make the playoffs. Then the winners of the first round series play the teams with the first round bye. The number 1 seed would face the lowest remaining team based on regular season points. Then the 2nd seed would play the team with the 2nd lowest remaining team based on regular season points.

If the playoffs were to begin today, Powell River and Nanaimo would have first round byes. Victoria would play Burnaby and Langley would play Cowichan Valley. Surrey and Alberni Valley would miss the playoffs.

The idea behind the change is to keep more teams in the hunt for the playoff race. Surrey's 3-0 win yesterday over Burnaby kept the Eagles within striking distance for the final playoff spot. Just 4 points back with the Eagles having 3 games in hand. Last night's game was a huge 4 point swing in the standings, if the Express prevailed they would have opened up a huge 8 point cushion for the final playoff spot.

But does the change really make for a better playoff race? I don't think so. The Alberni Valley Bulldogs are 10 points back of the final playoff spot and have 2 games in hand on the Express. But, they have just 2 wins on the season. In the old format, they would be 12 points behind Cowichan Valley for the final playoff spot in the Island division.

Does Express head coach Dave Mclellan like the change in the playoff format?

Realistically speaking, does anyone think the Dogs will go on a run, surpass Surrey and catch Burnaby or Cowichan Valley or whoever falls to the 6th seed and grab a playoff spot? I don't think so.

Here's my issue with the change. It doesn't seem right for a league to change the playoff format midseason. Sports is about putting a competitive product on the field game after game. It is the responsibility of the clubs themselves to find the talent, and the coaches to put the players in a position to succeed. Should the teams that have built teams that will make the playoffs possibly be punished by the new system just to keep the weaker links in the hunt longer?

I don't think so. It's not Burnaby, Cowichan Valley or Langley's fault that Alberni Valley and Surrey have gotten off to slow starts.

Now if either, Surrey or Alberni Valley catch a team ahead of them and make the playoffs, then the team that misses is responsible for the failure.

Another reason why the change isn't necessary is because with the divisional format this season, each team in the division faces each other 12 times in the 60 game schedule. That's 12 four point games and a possible 60 point swing in the standings.

Surrey has taken advantage of the system by taking the last 2 meetings of the season with the Express. They have closed the gap between the two teams to just four points.

Thus far this season, the Alberni Valley Bulldogs are 1-2 this season vs. the Cowichan Valley Capitals who are the 3rd place team in the Island division. The Dogs are 12 points back right now with 9 head to head matchups remaining. There's 18 points up for grabs between the two teams in the head to head series. If Alberni Valley picks up 7 wins in those remaining 9 games, all of a sudden we have a race. Thus the change in the format isn't necessary.

At the end of the day, if the Dogs can't find a way to close the gap and end up missing the playoffs. That falls on the responsibility of the Alberni Valley Hockey Operations department.

Now, if Surrey surpasses Burnaby and knocks the Express out of the playoffs, my hat is off to Shane Kuss, his staff and players. Burnaby would have to bare the responsibility should they get knocked out.

If the league feels the system they went into the season with isn't working, then it should re-assess it in the upcoming off-season meetings and make any changes at the BCHL annual meetings.

In my opinion, this won't make for a more competitive race. If Surrey keeps on winning and if the Express continue to struggle. The teams on the ice will keep the fans on the edge of their seat as the season goes along

Gary Bettman would be proud of the way the BCHL is creating a false hope of parity.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Here's the highlights for Burnaby's 4-3 win over Alberni Valley Saturday night.

Apologies for the poor audio quality. It will be corrected for Saturday's game.

Full game DVD's and highlight packs can be purchased from Cary Derksen at

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Former Express Milan Lucic introduced himself to one of the newest Leafs this year by sending Mike Van Ryn tonight through the glass at the TD Banknorth Gardens.


The Express sent forwards Jordan Soquila, Alex Valenti and Steve Ceccanase to Merritt. Coming to Burnaby are veteran defenceman Cameron Brodie and forward Dylan Herold and future considerations.

Both Brodie and Herold give the Express a little more size and experience. Brodie is a 20 year old defenceman. He had 2 goals 5 assists 7 points in 19 games this season. He's listed at 6'1 215lbs. In his career he has 9 goals 30 assists in 164 games in his BCHL career.

Herold is listed at 6'0 185lbs. He has 1 goal 3 assists 4 points in 19 games this season. And 13 goals and 32 points in 132 career BCHL games.

Hear assistant coach Jason Fothergill on the trade.

Sending Soquila the other way was tough for the Express to do. His strong two way play was really valuable, but Merritt really wanted him.

In addition to Soquila, the Cents get a little more offence in Valenti.

Soquila had 3 goals and 3 assists in 18 games this season. Valenti had 4 goals 8 assists in 17 games.

Merritt has since shipped Steve Ceccanase to the Surrey Eagles. He will face his former mates Sunday when the Express are in Surrey.

Both Brodie and Herold will be in the lineup when the Express host Albeni Valley Saturday.

The Express are finally starting to get healthy. They expect to have all of their injured forwards back in the lineup Saturday. The only exception being Luke Challier who's still out indefinitely with an ankle injury.

Express fans can expect to see Herold skate on the top line with Reid & Grassi.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Audio highlights from Friday's game @ Langley are now posted. Scroll down and find them in the Injuries and schedule take their toll on Express posting.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Former Express captain David Jones scored his first goal of the season as his Avalanche defeated the LA Kings 4-3 Monday night.

Hear Hear David's goal here.

(Audio courtesy of Mile High Sports Radio 1510 Colorado)

The win was the Avs 3rd straight.

On a side note, former Chilliwack Bruin Oscar Moller had his first NHL goal and an assist in a losing cause for the Kings.


The schedule and injuries certainly took their toll on the Express. After yesterday's game vs. Powell River, Burnaby played 7 games in a span of 10 days including twice playing 3 games in 3 nights and 4 in 5.

The week opened up with the Express hosting the Langley Chiefs Wednesday night. The Island road trip from the week before had taken a lot out of the Express. Coming out of the road trip, Sam Gemmell, Garrick Perry, Anthony Collins, Max Grassi and Luke Challier joined Brodie Reid and Jacob Verheyden on the injured list.

It would certainly give coach Dave Mclellan headaches trying to patch a lineup together.

The veterans who were still in the lineup were going to have to take on additional responsibilities.

Langley came to town playing their first game after an 11 day break.

The Express took the last meeting of the season when Garrick Perry broke a 1-1 deadlock with 1:32 to go and the Express held on for a 2-1 win.

The Chiefs opened the scoring just over 2 minutes into the game when Jared Chernoff slipped one past Richie Virtanen who was making his third start of the season vs. the Chiefs.

Jordan Soquila tied the game poking home a loose puck in the crease midway through the opening frame. He along side Tim Holloway were expected to take on additional responsibilities offensively with all the injuries.

Burnaby's penalty killing which came into the game, the best in the BCHL at home, came up large late in the first killing off 3 Chiefs power plays including a 2 man advantage. The Express defence made some big plays by twice clearing the puck off the goal line.

Langley would blow the game open when Milos Gordic and Brady Horn scored 18 seconds apart early in the second. Then just over 3 minutes later the Chiefs made it a 4-1 game when Trevor Elias tipped a Jessie Tresierra point shot past Virtanen.

Reid Edmondson cut the lead back down to two when he followed up on a Steve Ceccanase rush and poked the puck from under Andrew Walsh in the net.

The Chiefs netminder played a very good game as the depleted Express played hard against the Chiefs. Walsh who is a typical butterfly goaltender used his size to his advantage. Got his body in good position to stop the initial shot and limit the second chance opportunities.

The back breaking goal came midway through the third period when Derek Grant slipped a shot through the legs of Virtanen to re-store the Chiefs 3 goal lead.

Jordan Soquila and Colton Beck traded goals to round out the scoring.

Final score Chiefs 6 Express 3.

3 stars

3-Brad Goss (1A)
2-Jordan Soquila (2G)
1-Derek Grant (1G,2A)

Power plays

Express 0/5
Chiefs 1/4

The rematch went Friday night at George Preston Recreation Centre. Burnaby got one of their injured bodies back as Garrick Perry returned after missing 3 games following the hit from Nanaimo's Tyler Mah.

Steve Ceccanase got the Express off to the start they wanted when he slipped home his third goal of the season after a Trevor Elias turnover. It appeared to be a good omen for the Express as they had won every game this season when they score first.

The Chiefs had a reply on the power play as Brad Goss banged home a cross crease pass from Brandon Thompson to tie the game.

That's where things stood till early in the 2nd, when Tim Holloway scored his third shorthanded goal of the season to re-store the Express lead. The courageous Holloway pulled into a tie for the league lead in shorthanded goals. He's tied with former Express and current Merritt Centennial Paul Forster in that category.

The Chiefs got a break when they pulled even moments later, Evan Atkinson from his own zone fired the puck down the ice, it just happened to hit Ilya Kravtchouk and that slowed the puck up just enough to allow Brandon Thompson to catch up with it and roof a backhand past Richie Virtanen. If that puck doesn't hit Kravtchouk, the play is an icing and it's still a 2-1 Express lead.

Alex Valenti re-stored the Burnaby lead just 3:01 later as he poked a puck home from a scramble.

Derek Grant pulled the Chiefs even again early in the third as he picked the top corner on Richie Virtanen. And for the second straight meeting between the two teams in this barn they were locked in a tie game in the third. Burnaby's anemic power play got off the schnide as Greg Bay's point shot was tipped home by Reid Edmondson to give the Express the lead for the 4th time in the game.

Hear Hear Edmondson's goal here.

That sets up a dramatic final minute, Derek Grant got a glorious opportunity as he had Virtanen down and out, but the rookie netminder robbed the Chiefs sniper with one of the best saves you'll ever see with the game on the line. Grant had the whole net but Virtanen put the glove down and kept the Express in the lead.

Hear Richie's spectacular save here.

But that save only delayed the inevitable as with 8.8 seconds left and an extra attacker for the Chiefs, Chris Ickert pinched in from his point position and he poked the puck home to send the game to overtime.

Hear Ickert's game tying goal here.

It wouldn't take long for the game to be decided as Colton Beck played hero scoring on a backhand after a broken play to hand the Express a heart breaking 5-4 defeat.

Hear Beck's OT winner here.

The game was another hard fought game for Burnaby. The effort was there. They were even able to keep up with the pace at times which was frantic.

3 stars

3-Trevor Elias (3A)
2-Gavin Hohl (2A)
1-Chris Ickert (1G,1A)


Burnaby 1/5
Langley 1/4

Saturday saw the Cowichan Valley Capitals make their first visit to Burnaby. From the drop of the puck, the Caps showed early that the Express would need their skating legs early to keep pace.

Defencemen Jimmy Geerin and Zach Currie scored on point shots to open up a 2-0 lead after the first period. The Caps speed gave the Express problems and out shot Burnaby 8-3 in the opening 20 minutes.

The Express started to find their legs in the second, but the Caps added to their lead just moments after a Jimmy Geerin penalty had expired, Spencer Fraipont fired the puck off the glass and found Geerin coming out of the box and he made no mistake on the breakaway finding the five hole on Mike Chan. Communication was a breakdown on the goal when the Express netminder didn't bang his stick on the ice to indicate to his teammates the penalty was expiring.

Gavin Hohl got the Express on the board scoring on a scramble for his first BCHL goal.

The Express got a great opportunity to get back within one when they got a 5 on 3 for 1:20. The Express repeatedly set up Greg Bay for the one timer and create havoc and hope to score on a rebound. But Chris Rawlings held strong and kept the Express at bay. This is an opportunity that was a great example of how the absence of Reid, Grassi and even Collins are truly hurting this team. The Express power play has taken a pure beating since some of their top performers have been out of the lineup.

The Caps blow the game open in the third by adding 3 more goals from Taylor Holst, Alex Gellert and Joey Massingham en route to the 6-1 win.


Burnaby 0/5
Cowichan Valley 2/3

3 stars

3-Chris Rawlings 29 saves
2-Zach Currie (1G,2A)
1-Jimmy Geerin (2G,1A)

Sunday afternoon the Express welcomed the Powell River Kings to the Bill Copeland Sports Centre.

It was the third game in 2 1/2 days for both teams and Burnaby's 4th in 5.

The Kings were looking for a sweep of their 3 game weekend. While the Express were looking to salvage one.

The Express were winless in the first two meetings between the two teams. 0-2-1.

An exhausted Express team were finally able to dress 18 skaters. But 4 of them were AP's and 3 were playing their second game of the day after coach Dave Mclellan brought in 3 players from the Vancouver Northwest Giants who played at 9:30 in the morning at the Burnaby winter club.

Garrick Perry was back on the sidelines after battling strep throat.

Ben Schmidt opened the scoring 6 minutes into the game scoring from his backside in front of the net.

Gavin Hohl scored his second goal in as many games re-directing a Mike Leidl point shot midway through the second to tie the game.

The Express appeared to be holding their own with the Kings. But in the last 5 minutes penalties came back to bite the Express in the butt. Mac Williams was called for cross checking and Eric Vos made the Express pay scoring on a beautiful passing play.

Then in the final 90 seconds, Ryan Green made it a 3-1 game taking a feed from behind the net and putting it home.

More Burnaby penalties followed with Williams again in the box for hooking and then Holloway was ejected for checking from behind giving the Kings a 5 on 3. Kyle Bodie fired a shot from the right circle with 5 seconds left in the second to make the score 4-1 Powell River.

After that, the Express were emotionally spent. The effect of the injuries, 7 games in 10 days, 4 in 5 and 3 in 2 1/2 days left the Express with literally nothing left in the tank. The third period was some awful hockey to watch. The Express were just running down the clock, firing it off the glass and out, and Powell River would just shoot it right back in. It was like watching tennis just going back and forth.

Mark McKamey rounded out the scoring for Powell River.

Final score, Kings 5 Express 1. The loss was Burnaby's 6th in a row and 7th in their last 8 games.

Now the Express get a much deserved break. They don't play again until Saturday when they host the Alberni Valley Bulldogs then travel to Surrey Sunday afternoon. The Express hope to have some of their injured bodies back including Reid and Grassi. That will certainly give this team a huge shot in the arm.


Here's the highlights from Cowichan Valley's 6-1 win over the Express.

Highlights and complete game DVD's in the highest quailty 16:9 wide screen are available. Contact Cary Derksen online at

Friday, October 17, 2008


Here are the highlights from Wednesday 6-3 Chiefs win over the Express.

If you are interested in getting a DVD copy with the complete game or highlights from any Express home game, feel free to send me a request. And i'll forward it to Cary Derksen.

I can be reached at

Cary's website can be found at


Congratulations to Burnaby Express forward Brodie Reid who was named on Wednesday to Team Canada West for the upcoming World Junior A Challenge in Camrose Alberta.

Reid was part of the first 25 players named to the roster, which will eventually be cut down to 22.

Last season Brodie exploded for 52 goals which was 2nd in the BCHL behind only Hunter Bishop of the Vernon Vipers who led the league with 57.

Injuries have limited Reid to just 4 games this season. He's put up 4 goals and 2 assists in that time.

Reid becomes the third player from the Express to play in the tournament. Kyle Turris joined captain Tyler McNeely in the inaugural tournament in 2006.

In total the BCHL led all 5 leagues represented with 9 players selected.

The tournament runs from November 2-9 from Camrose Alberta.

Canada West is seeking its third consecutive gold medal.

The championship game will be broadcast across Canada on TSN.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Former Coquitlam Express captain David Jones had an assist as he and his Colorado Avalanche teammates picked up their first win of the season tonight 5-2 over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Jones was the Express captain in 03-04, and played 3 seasons with the team from 01-04.


Scroll down to find the posting of Kyle Turris' first NHL goal and you will now be able to hear the call courtesy of the Coyotes Radio Network.

Kyle had an assist as his Coyotes fell 4-1 to Andrew Ladd's Blackhawks Wednesday night.

Kyle has 1G, 3A, 4PTS to begin the season.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


The Burnaby Express knew their 3 game island road trip wouldn't be easy. The opposition would be a formidable challenge for the Express. What they didn't know was the men in stripes were going be formidable as well.

The trip opened up with a Friday visit to Nanaimo's Frank Crane Arena. That barn hadn't yet to see the home team walk away defeated in the regular season when the Express came to town.

It was a rematch of last Saturday's game when the Express prevailed in double overtime with Reid Edmondson scoring the game winning goal en route to the 4-3 win.

The Express had a new face in the lineup. Steve Ceccanese was making his Express debut after being acquired earlier in the week from the Villanova Knights of the OPJHL.

It was Ceccanese's 5th team since the start of the 06-07 season. He'd seen time in the QMJHL, OHL, Greater Ontario Hockey League and the OPJHL before coming to the Express.

It wouldn't take long for Ceccanese to contribute to his new club as he scored on his first shot on his first shift just 53 seconds into the game to open the scoring.

Heading into the road trip, the Express knew that for them to pick up some points, they would need their goaltending to steal them a game or two. That put a lot of pressure on Mike Chan.

Nanaimo's never an easy place to play and a teams goaltending always plays a key role if road team is to come away with two points.

As the first period progressed, the pressure began to mount against Chan. The Express penalties began to pile up. And the Express PK which was so strong this season, was tested. They would bend, but Mike Chan was the difference from it breaking. He was outstanding seeing shots through traffic and finding loose pucks first in his crease and making sure the Clippers wouldn't bang in loose pucks in front.

The Express weathered the storm, and were in fact able to add to their lead. Jordan Soquila took advantage of a Nanaimo turnover his shot was initially stopped, but former Clipper Tim Holloway banged home the rebound past Evan Smith for his 3rd goal of the season and his second shorthanded marker of the year.

Nanaimo would get a taste of their own medicine in the final minute of the first as Luke Challier scored his first goal of the season after Steve Ceccanese's shot would bounce off him and in the net to give the Express a 3-0 lead after one period.

Last week, Nanaimo scored goals in the final minute of the first, second and third periods to tie the game.

That would be the end to Evan Smith's night as Bill Bestwick pulled him after allowing 3 goals on 7 shots in the first 20 minutes.

Not all was great for the Express in the first. Rookie Garrick Perry was leveled by Clipper defenceman Tyler Mah with a big hit in the neutral zone. He was considerably shaken up, made his way back to the bench but didn't return to the game.

The 2nd period would be a similar story to the first with the Express parade to the penalty box continuing. And the story of Mike Chan's outstanding night would continue.

When the Express got back to full strength, the game's most controversial play would occur.

Greg Bay backhanded the puck from his own blueline. No icing was called on the play when one should have been. So when the play wasn't whistled down, Alex Valenti picked up the puck and walked out front and scored what he thought was the Express 4th goal of the night.

Nanaimo cried foul, pleading the icing should have been called. Then after some discussion with his linesmen, referee Steven Bratt waved the goal off and the icing that wasn't initially called, was ruled.

Well, of course that drew the ire of the Express. They certainly had a good case for the goal to stand after the icing initially wasn't called, they expected the play should continue and let the goal stand. But the final decision had been made. The puck was dropped at centre ice, but the score remained 3-0 Burnaby.

If you ever wondered if hockey gods existed, they certainly were watching over the Express on this night. Later in that second period, Alex Valenti scored the goal he should have been given credit for minutes earlier. He pounced on a loose puck in the neutral zone and walked in alone on the breakaway and made no mistake going to the backhand making the score 4-0 Burnaby.

That would pretty much be your hockey game. The only thing left to decide was if Mike Chan would get the shut out. Nanaimo sent 6 tests his way in the third and he passed them all. Chan finished the night with a 31 save performance for his first BCHL shutout. And he was outstanding in doing so. Especially with the Express on the penalty kill. He was their best penalty killer all night long.

The win was the Express first ever regular season win in Nanaimo. But most importantly, they had gotten off on the right foot for their 3 game island road trip.


Burnaby 20
Nanaimo 31

3 stars

3-Tim Holloway (SHG)
2-Reid Edmondson (2A)
1-Mike Chan 31 saves for his first BCHL shutout.

Saturday took the Express down the Island to the provincial capital to take on the league leading Victoria Grizzlies. The RBC hosts had gotten off to a great start at 10-2 and were riding a 6 game winning streak heading into the game.

It was the first time the teams met since last years first round series when the Grizzlies prevailed 3-2 in OT in the decisive game 5.

That game ended in controversial fashion and had a tie in to Saturday's affair.

The Grizzlies advanced just moments after a questionable penalty to Brad Hunt had expired when Jonathon Milhouse scored the game winning goal in overtime. That was a game that didn't see the Express get one single power play. The Express thought one was coming when Carlo Finucci was tripped up by a Victoria defencenan going after a loose puck but none was called.

The referee that night was Sean Raphael. And the referee on Saturday was... Sean Raphael.

It was the first Express game he worked this season. And it just happened to be the first meeting of the season between the Express & Grizzlies.

When that information was known, you didn't want it to be a story line. But you had a feeling officiating might be a factor again.

The game also featured Lee Baldwin playing against his former team for the first time. He would be instrumental in Victoria's opening goal of the game. He picked up the puck deep in the Express zone in the corner and fired it across to another former Express Justin Courtnall who put it past Mike Chan.

Shortly there after the Express parade to the box started again. And the Grizzlies would make the Express pay. Evan Pighin put home a Cam Reid rebound to make it a 2-0 lead on the power play. The two goal lead would be cut in half 2:23 later when Steve Ceccanese blasted home his second goal in as many games.

It appeared as the first period progressed that the Express had weathered the early storm. But in the final 3 minutes, Sean Raphael came into play. Myles MacRae took a run and left his feet to hit Simon Denis,Denis' partner Mike Leidl came to his defence and MacRae went down like he was shot and Raphael took the bait and the Grizzlies went back to the power play. And when it was said and done, the Grizzlies had re-stored their two goal lead when Justin Courtnall scored his second goal of the game on a feed from Pighin from behind the net.

The Grizzlies success with the extra man would continue with power play goals by Tyler Matheson and Pighin's second of the game. One of the goals came after Anthony Collins got into a scrap with Justin Courtnall but came away with a double minor for slashing.

MacRae made it a 6-1 game when he came down the right wing and took advantage of Mike Leidl blowing a tire and he blasting a shot top shelf from the right wing.

Mike Chan's night came to an end after 40 minutes after allowing 6 goals on 23 shots.

Richie Virtanen mopped up in the 3rd period stopping all 9 Victoria shots.

The disappointing aspect of this game was due to all the Burnaby penalties, they weren't given much of an opportunity to truly measure themselves against the Grizz. They had a good idea of their game plan, but obviously it changed with all the power plays. Victoria finished 4/10 on the power play. Burnaby meanwhile was 0/3.

Final score, Grizzlies 6 Express 1.

3 stars

3-Shawn Stuart
2-Justin Courtnall (2G)
1-Evan Pighin (2G, 2A)

*Derek Lee finished the game with 4 assists.

Sunday afternoon, the Express made the trip back up to the Island for a return visit to Nanaimo.

Injuries started to take their toll on the Express, already without Garrick Perry, Brodie Reid and Jacob Verheyden, Max Grassi joined the walking wounded after getting hurt the night before in Victoria. Other members of the Express came away needing a few ice packs.

The Express were hoping for a repeat performance from Friday night.

Nanaimo showed early they learned a thing or two after being blanked 2 nights earlier. One of the changes was their attack on the power play. Friday, they were going for the big shot and hope to create second chance opportunities. But Chan was strong and aggressive in his crease limiting the second chance opportunities.

Sunday, the Clippers took a page from the Victoria play book and went for the pretty play and it worked for the opening goal of the game. Tyler Pistone found a pinching Iain Thistlethwaite back door and he banged home the perfect pass.

This game really began to expose the Express lack of talent out of the lineup with injures. Most notably on the power play. This game wouldn't be one where the Express couldn't say they didn't get their fair shake of the calls. The Express had a total of 3 two man advantages. Including one shortly after the Thistlethwaite goal.

Boivin made it a 2-0 game late in the first after firing a wrist shot that beat Chan low to the stick side.

In the second, the score remained a two goal deficit, Jordan Soquila had a chance to cut the lead in half with a breakaway, but Evan Smith made the save as he stopped Soquila's attempt to go to the backhand. This game would be a bounce back effort for the Clippers netminder who was pulled after the first period on Friday.

That would turn out to be the turning point in the game as the Clippers would turn the momentum from that save into two quick goals to blow the game open when Tyler Pistone and Steve Mason scored ten seconds apart.

With a 4-0 lead going into the third, the only thing left to decide was if Smith would get the shutout. His bid would be broken by Greg Bay with 6 minutes left in the 3rd period.

The injuries would continue for the Express as Luke Challier left the game in the 3rd period after suffering an ankle injury.

Final score Clippers 4 Express 1.

3 stars

3-Micheal Boivin (GWG)
2-Evan Smith (20 saves)
1-Tyler Pistone (1G, 3A)

The Express finished their road trip at 1-2.

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, the Express schedule doesn't get any easier. They begin a home and home series with the Langley Chiefs tonight at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre. The Express will eventually end up playing 4 games in 5 nights. Following Friday's game in Langley, the Express have home dates Saturday vs. Cowichan Valley and Sunday with Powell River.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Former Burnaby Express star has his first NHL goal. He scored it in the Coyotes 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks.

Hear Kyle's first NHL goal here.

(Audio courtesy of the Coyotes Radio Network)
Kyle had an assist on Oli Jokinen's first Coyote goal in their 3-1 win over Columbus on Saturday.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


He's joined the blogging community too. His postings can be found on the Coyotes website. I will post a link to it in the links section.

Kyle opens his season at home tonight vs. the Phoenix Coyotes.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Former Express star Kyle Turris won't have to fear for his life when he begins his first full season with the Phoenix Coyotes.

Coach Wayne Gretzky has put him on the Coyotes top line with Shane Doan and tough guy Daniel Carcillo. Last season Carcillo had 13 goals and 11 assists, but had leauge leanding 324 PIM's in only 57 games.

The Coyotes open their season Saturday vs. Columbus.

Here's where the rest of the Express alum in the NHL will begin their season,

David Jones and his Avalanche will host Milan Lucic and the Bruins on Thursday.

Andrew Ladd will begin his campaign on Broadway when the Blackhawks face the Rangers Friday night.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Saturday night the Burnaby Express welcomed the Nanaimo Clippers to the Bill Copeland Sports Centre.

It was another game for the Express to measure themselves up against one of the BCHL's elite.

Nanaimo was playing their third game in three nights and was 2-0 on their mainland division road trip with convincing wins over Langley and Surrey.

The Clips came into the game dominating the season series in recent years. They swept all 4 games last season. And were 10-1 vs. the Express in the last 11 match ups.

Burnaby knew they had to shut down Nanaimo early as they had gotten off to a quick start in each of their two previous games.

The Express opened the scoring off the rush when Max Grassi fed it on the left wing for a streaking Reid Edmondson, who then found Alex Valenti going hard to the net and tipped the pass home.

Burnaby nearly made it 2-0 moments later as Anthony Collins was robbed by Evan Smith on a 2 on 1 break.

That save turned out to be huge as in the final minute, Anders Franzon knocked down a clearing attempt at the blueline then cut into the slot an fired a shot through the legs of Mike Chan for his first BCHL goal to tie the game at one.

This battle between the two teams would be reminiscent of the hard fought battle between the Express and Chiefs a week earlier. Both teams playing a similar grinding, get the puck deep type of game.

Burnaby would re-store their lead in the 2nd after Reid Edmondson's initial shot hit the post, Garrick Perry would be in position to bang home the rebound.

But before the 2nd period was done, the Clippers would tie the game again. Connor Krukowski's point shot would be stopped, but Joe Perry was in position to bang home the rebound to tie the game at 2.

The third period would be another tense affair as the two teams fought hard looking for the go ahead goal.

It would finally come at 13:01, as former Clipper Tim Holloway from behind the net just throw it in front, it hit something and slid home to give the Express their 3rd lead of the game.

The Express would take their lead into the final minute of the period and for the third time in the hockey game, the Clippers would strike.

Just after using their timeout, the Clippers got the puck deep in the Express end. Mike Chan went out to play the puck, he had trouble with it and lost it in his feet, Kurtis Bartliff stole it, walked out front and put it home to tie the game at 3.

So it was off to overtime.

Garrick Perry made a bid for his 4th game winning goal of the season, he fired a shot from the left wing and Sam Gemmel went hard to the net and crashed into the Evan Smith. Gemmel would be called for goaltender interference at 3:02.

This would be a huge test for the Express penalty killing which has been superb. And they would bend, but not break as the Clippers pressed in the Burnaby zone looking for the game winning goal. The Express killed off the penalty and re-grouped for the 2nd overtime.

The Express built off the big kill and put the game to bed.

Max Grassi found a streaking Reid Edmondson on the left wing and his wrist shot got through the legs of Evan Smith for the overtime winner to give the Express the 4-3 win.

Hear Edmondson's OT winner here.

The goal capped off a big night for the hulking centre as he finished with 3 points. (1G,2A)

The win was Burnaby's 5th in their last 6 outings.


Burnaby 24
Nanaimo 30

3 stars

3-Connor Krukowski (1A)
2-Max Grassi (2A)
1-Reid Edmondson (1G,2A) *GWG

Sunday, the Express were off to Surrey for an afternoon affair. Burnaby swept the Eagles when the two teams met for 3 straight games earlier in the season. So Burnaby went into the game confident they could beat the Eagles.

Surrey certainly looked like they were prime for the picking. They were riding a 6 game losing streak and had lost 7 of their last 8 games.

The Eagles sent a message right off the opening face off that they weren't going to be pushed around on this night.

Eagle captain and former Express Ilan Cumberbirch dropped the gloves in a tilt with Anthony Collins just 2 seconds into the game.

Burnaby had an opportunity to open the scoring early as they were given a 5 on 3 for 1:30 in the first but weren't able to find the back of the net.

Then it would be the Express getting themselves into penalty trouble. This time their penalty killing couldn't save their bacon. The Express came in having killed off 44 of their last 46 shorthanded situations.

Former Express Spencer Bennett was playing defence for the Eagles took a cross box pass from Tom Janosz to open the scoring.

Burnaby's parade to the penalty box would continue. In the final minute of the period, another former Express struck as Adam Hartley finally found the back of the net on Mike Chan at 19:25 to open up a 2-0 Eagle lead after 20 minutes of play.

The game took a turn for the worse in the second as Garrick Perry drilled Brett Agnew from behind and that would be the end of Perry's night. He was ejected for checking from behind. Coach Dave Mclellan was also ejected after disputing the penalties called against his squad in black and red.

The Eagles didn't take long to strike for the 3rd time in the game on the man advantage as Hartley scored his second of the night from Brennan Strang & Spencer Bennett.

Hard work behind the Express net would result in the Eagles 4th goal of the night as Brennan Strang made no mistake after a centering pass from behind the net. Hartley and Morgan Maclean added the assists.

The longer the game went on, the more it showed the team in white wanted it more. They were just a half step quicker than the Express. They were aggressively pressuring the puck.

Burnaby would find the back of the net in the third on a 5 on 3 power play. Max Grassi fired a wrist shot home from Collins and Valenti.

The goal for Grassi and the assist from Valenti, extended their point streaks. Grassi now has a 8 game point streak (5G,6A) Valenti's streak stands at 7 games (2G,7A).

Chris Santiago, who was having a heck of a hockey game. Especially on the penalty kill. Was rewarded for his hard work he took a centering feed from Mike Henderson to make it a 5-1 Eagle advantage.

The Eagles struck one more time on the man advantage as Tom Janosz scored from the left circle to round out the scoring.

That would bring an end to Mike Chan's night. He allowed 6 goals on 32 shots.

The Express did get 20 shots in the 3rd period to give Tommy Tartaglione some work. But he wasn't overly tested in this hockey game.

Final score, Eagles 6 Express 1.

The loss was disappointing on a number of levels. Especially coming off the huge win the night before vs. the Clippers. Plus, the Express had an opportunity to pull within 2 points of first place in the Mainland division after Powell River lost to Merritt and Langley went 1-2 on the weekend.


Burnaby 34
Surrey 34

Here's my 3 stars in the hockey game.

3-Chris Santiago. He was all over the ice all game long
2-Brennan Strang (1G,2A)
1-Adam Hartley (2G,1A)

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Here's the highlights for Nanaimo at Burnaby Oct. 4 08.

Thanks to Express camera Cary Derksen.


Thanks to the work of my color commentator Gord Doerkson, he's been keeping track of the Express franchise records. They're now available on the Burnaby Expressions blog. Click on the season record holders link listed in the links area.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


The first posting in the Express history section is up.

Scroll down and you will see a link for Express franchise history in the links section on the right side of the page.

There you will find Express BCHL award winners.

It is only the beginning.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Well, the calendar has turned to October.

Looking ahead for the Burnaby Express, the schedule will give this team a good test.

They begin with a home game Saturday night vs. Nanaimo then in Surrey Sunday night.

6 of the first 7 games are vs. teams that have winning records and are contenders in the BCHL.

The Express will play 3 games vs. Nanaimo, 2 against Langley, and a single against RBC hosts the Victoria Grizzlies.

Those 3 teams have a combined record of 17-6-1-1 record after the month of September.

Next weekend the Express will head up and down the island starting Friday the 10th in Nanaimo, then heading down to Victoria, then back to Nanaimo for an afternoon game.

Nanaimo's Frank Crane Arena certainly hasn't been kind to the Express. They are winless there in franchise history in the regular season. The lone win came in game 1 of the 2007 second round series between the Express & Clips.

Following that is a home and home series for the Express against the Langley Chiefs October 16th & 17th.