Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Last weekend the Express had a pair of games. The first of which was the first "BIG" game of the season.

The Express went into Surrey last Friday just one point back of the Surrey Eagles for 3rd place in the Mainland division. The Express had dropped the last 2 meetings in Surrey vs. the Eagles. You add that to a Surrey team that had won 8 of their last 10 and points in 9 of those games, you had an Express team facing a club that is much improved from the first month of the season.

The last 2 head to head matchups had seen the Express really struggle to generate offence against the Eagles. Surrey had done an excellent job of keeping the Express to the outside.

Burnaby needed to find a way to penetrate the inside of the ice on the Eagles.

The Express got a boost when Reid Edmondson returned to the lineup after missing two weeks due to a hip flexor injury. It was diagnosed when it was found Edmondson's alignment was off. He's since had a thin plate inserted under the boot of his skate to bring him back inline.

This game got started off with a bang when Greg Bay dropped the mitts with Andrew Wallace right off the opening faceoff. At the time, you hoped the fight would give the Express a spark on the road. But it was the Eagles who got life who had a strong opening shift of the game in the Burnaby zone. Forcing the Express into numerous turnovers.

The first period saw Burnaby create numerous scoring chances, but weren't able to put the puck past Tommy Tartaglione.

Surrey opened the scoring just shy of the 8 minute mark of the first period when the puck was chipped into the corner in the Express zone and the Eagles just simply out muscled the Express to the puck, it was played back to Mike Krgovich, his shot was stopped, but former Express Spencer Bennett was there to bang home the rebound.

The Surrey lead was two before the period was done when Chris Santiago scored at the side of the Express net. The assists going to Adam Hartley and Steve Ceccanese.

Certainly not the start the Express were looking for in such a key game with such huge implications in the standings.

Mike Henderson added to the Eagle lead with the Eagles on the power play again as he fired a hard wrist shot top corner from the half boards to beat Mike Chan just shy of the 4 minute mark.

The Express needed someone to try and provide some offence to make an effort to get back into the game. Brodie Reid had a few chances but just couldn't find the mark. The encouraging thing for the Express sniper who hasn't scored since September 26th is that he is creating chances.

The Eagles power play struck again before the period was done as Steve Ceccanese wheeled behind the Express defence and took a perfect pass right up the middle and walked in alone and beat Mike Chan to make it a 4-0 Eagle advantage. The third power play goal of the game for the Eagles.

The third period saw the Express trying to salvage something in what was a chippy affair at times. Two more fights in the third to go on top of Bay's fight off the opening faceoff and a tilt between Max Grassi and Brennan Strang in the second period.

End of the night, it was a very disappointing effort by the Express in a big game where the Express needed to make a statement as they tried to keep pace with the Eagles in the Mainland division standings.

Final score, Eagles 4 Express 0. Tommy Tartaglione stopped all 33 shots he faced for his second straight shutout vs. the Express. The Eagle netminder has allowed just one goal in the last 3 meetings with the Express.

The Express penalty killing took another beating as the Eagles went 3/11 with the man advantage. Second straight game the Express had allowed 3 power play goals.

The Eagle win opened up a 3 point lead on the Express for third place in the Mainland division standings.


Express: 33
Eagles: 40

3 stars

3-Steve Ceccanese (1G,1A)
2-Spencer Bennett (1G,1A)
1-Tommy Tartaglione (33 saves, shutout)

Saturday didn't get any easier for the Express. They hosted the league leading Powell River Kings. And Surrey was off to face the 3 win Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

By the time the puck was dropped Saturday night, the Express knew they got some help on the out of town scoreboard when the Bulldogs defeated the Eagles 5-4 in overtime in a rare Saturday afternoon affair. But the Eagles did salvage a point out of the game when they scored twice in the final 10 minutes to force overtime. The overtime loss by the Eagles opened up a 4 point lead on the Express for 3rd place in the division.

The Express were looking to build off their last 2 home games when the Express competed hard against Victoria and Penticton. Two of the better teams in the BCHL.

Powell River was 3-0-1 going into the game vs. Burnaby this season.

The Kings entered the game without one of their top play makers as rookie defenceman Matt Bodie was not in the lineup. But the Kings weren't overly concerned. They had more than enough offence to make up for it. Including the league's leading scorer Darcy Oakes, and Kyle Bodie, Clay Harvey, and Eric Vos all in the top 10.

The league's best power play opened the scoring when Clay Harvey dished it across the Express crease and Oakes roofed it over a sprawled out Mike Chan.

Insipite falling behind, it was the Express who were carrying the play. They were physical with the Kings, they were creating chances and out shot the Kings 12-5 after the first period.

Reid Edmondson tied the game 5 minutes into the second as Garrick Perry got the puck to the net and the large centre popped a loose puck home.

Garrick Perry played his best game since returning to the lineup after being levelled by Nanaimo's Tyler Mah in early October. He was physical on the forecheck, was strong on the puck and was creating scoring chances all night long.

As the second period progressed, it was clear the Express were doing a good job of shutting down the explosive Kings. They limited their quality scoring chances. But the problem the Express have had this season vs. the Kings was a lapse in their play to allow the opposition to get them back into the game.

The Express lapse began in the final 5 minutes of the second period. Max Grassi drilled Kings forward Brooks Robinson from behind on a delayed penalty. The initial penalty was going to Grassi, but now you add this undisciplined checking from behind penalty to his original hooking penalty, you have the Express shorthanded for 4 minutes and the Express without their number one centre for the rest of the game.

That costly penalty was followed 2 minutes later by another stupid penalty by Brodie Reid. He and John Bokla teamed up to force a turnover at the Kings blueline allowing Reid to walk in alone on a shorthanded breakaway. Reid couldn't cash as he tried to pick the top corner. After the chance Reid came together with a Kings player in the corner and Reid was called for roughing. There is absolutely no excuse for this stupid penalty.

Reid has to be better aware of his surroundings. He can't be taking penalties 200 feet away from his net with his team already shorthanded.

To no ones surprise, the Kings made the Express pay on the 5 on 3. Eric Vos redirected a pass from Jordan Gallea over the shoulder of Mike Chan to give the Kings a 2-1 lead after 2 periods.

Just a poor display of a lack of discipline by players who both wear A's on their sweaters.

Powell River has enough offensive punch as it is, the Express who are a team that is struggling to create offence, can't afford to give Powell River any help.

The third period saw the Kings go into lead protect mode. The Express chances were few and far between. Powell River got the insurance marker 8 minutes into the third when the puck was turned over at the King line and Kyle Bodie went in on a 2 on 1 with Chad Niddery, goaltender Mike Chan made a spectacular save off Bodie on the initial shot, but Niddery buried the rebound over the Express netminder.

Reid Edmondson cut the lead back down to one with his second of the game with 13 seconds left. That set up one last hope for the Express. Off a faceoff to the right of Carson Chubak, Brodie Reid slid a shot just wide of the post and the game ended with the Kings coming away with a 3-2 win.

It was a disappointing game from an Express perspective due to Burnaby playing a very strong game shutting down the league's highest scoring team. However, it was spoiled by a pair of dumb penalties by veteran players late in the second period that came back to bite the Express.

And for as much as good teams like the Kings find ways to win when they don't play well. The Express who have now lost 4 straight games, and found a way to lose a game they played pretty well in.

The Express penalty killing continues their recent struggles. The Kings went 2/5 on the powerplay on this night. During the current 4 game losing streak, the penalty killing has allowed 10 goals on 30 shorthanded situations.


Burnaby 30
Powell River 24

3 stars

3-Reid Edmondson (2G)
2-Carsen Chubak (28 saves)
1-Eric Vos (1G, 2A)

The Express remain 4 points back of the Eagles for 3rd place in the division.

Friday the Express will see a familiar face when they face Kevin Jebson and the Westside Warriors. That game kicks off a 3 game weekend for the Express. Saturday they return home to host Alberni Valley. Then welcome the Langley Chiefs Sunday afternoon to the Bill Copeland Sports Centre.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Great news for the family of Express alumni Brady Cook. His brother Matt this past weekend won the World Sledge Hockey Challenge for Team Canada.

Matt came to Burnaby's training camp in 2005. But had to return home to Alberta when he wasn't feeling well. Later that season, it was learned he had cancer. Understandably, the family has had their ups and downs and it's news like this that can't help but bring a smile to your face.

Matt got his start in sledge hockey in 2007 while his brother Brady was playing for the Camrose Kodiaks at the Royal Bank cup in Prince George. Sledge hockey was a demonstration sport at the tournament. Brady went down to talk to some of the players after demonstrating their sport about trying to get Matt involved. After some hard work, Matt made the team in October.

Saturday Canada defeated Norway by a score of 7-0 in the championship game. Canada dominated outshooting their opposition 30-8.

Cook finished the tournament with 1 goal and 2 assists in 4 games played.

Congratulations Matt on the world sledge hockey title. Keep up the hard work. Hopefully we'll be seeing you here in Vancouver for the 2010 Paralympic games.


Here are the highlights for Saturday's game vs. Powell River.

Highlights produced by Cary Derksen of Purple Penguin Productions. If you are interested in purchasing a game DVD, contact Cary and

Monday, November 17, 2008


Saturday night the Express came home to face the Victoria Grizzlies. The Express were coming home after a 3 game northern road swing where they went 2-1. Burnaby would be getting a boost offensively with the return of Brodie Reid. He was playing his first game with the Express since returning home with a silver medal from the World Junior A Challenge in Camrose Alberta.

It was the second meeting of the season between the two teams. Victoria took the first matchup 6-1 on October 11th. That was a game marred by poor officiating and Victoria took advantage of all the penalties handed to the Express by going 4/10 on the power play.

The game was Victoria's second of their 3 game Mainland division road trip. They opened the trip with a 4-2 win over Powell River the night before.

Getting off to a good start and staying out of the box would be key for Burnaby on this night. Victoria had scored first in each of their last 5 games. Outscoring their opposition 10-2 in those 5 games in the first period. Winning 4 of them. The Grizzlies power play was 5/13 in their last 2 games.

Well, Burnaby got off to the start they wanted when Max Grassi teamed up with John Bokla to open the scoring on a beautiful give and go play. Bokla was on the business end for his 5th goal of the season.

Hear Bokla's goal here.

Victoria had a reply less than a minute and a half later when Evan Pighin took a feed from Cam Reid behind Burnaby's net and Pighin made no mistake putting home his 14th of the season. The goal was very remniscent to Victoria's success against Burnaby on the powerplay in the first meeting of the season. So it appeared early, that the Express would have to try and find a way to take that play away from Victoria.

The Grizzlies used the same play later in the period on another powerplay to take the lead for the first time when Dustin Mowrey found Tyler Matheson in front of the net to give Victoria a 2-1 lead.

The Express had a reply before the period was done. Jacob Verheyden, playing in his first game back from an infection knocked down a puck along the half boards in the Victoria zone, he put it in front and Matt Frydresyk would score on the rebound to tie the game. Frydresyk was acquired by Burnaby earlier in the week from the Drumheller Dragons of the AJHL for future considerations.

Hear Frydrysek's first Express goal here.

Frydresyk adds another big body to the Express lineup. He stands 6'3 200 lbs. He played part of the last 2 seasons with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

In the second period, the injury bug would start to bite the Express again. This time the defenceman would take the hit. Captain Mike Leidl and Johnny Mahovlich didn't return for the start of the second period. Both suffering head injuries. Those injuries already followed Colin De Jersey leaving again very wobbly after being hit by Justin Courtnall. It was De Jersey's first game since leaving each of his last 2 games in very similar fashion after hits in back to back games. Let's all hope Colin will be ok.

More penalty trouble would come back to bite the Express. Anthony Collins came to the defence of a teammate after Myles Macrae hit an Express player near their bench and Collins was given a 5 minute major for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct. In the latter portion of the 5 minute major to Collins, Greg Bay joined Collins in the box giving Victoria a 5 on 3. It wouldn't take them long to strike. The Grizzlies again worked it down low, and Derek Lee from the goal line found Justin Courtnall in the slot and he made no mistake sliding it under Richie Virtanen to restore the Victoria lead.

So the Express would need to come from behind in the third period to at least salvage a point out of the game.

Midway through the 3rd period, the Express broke through on a bit of a broken play. Garrick Perry poked the puck past Victoria goaltender Alex Peck. It just crossed the goal line enough from inside the post and came right back out to tie the game at 3.

Both teams had their chances to break the tie, but failed to do so. Off to overtime the teams went.

Victoria scored the winning goal when Jeff Forsythe fed Sean Stuart at the left point and his shot was tipped home by Derek Lee at 3:23 of the first overtime.

Hear Lee's game winning goal here.

Special teams was the difference maker in this hockey game as Victoria went 3/6 on the power play. While playing well with the man advantage, Victoria played a very disciplined game giving Burnaby only 1 power play on this night.

The Victoria power play has torched the Express in the two meetings this season. Victoria's power play is 7/16 vs. the Express this season, 43.75%. You're not going to lose that many games when you power play is playing that well. The next time these two teams meet on December 4th, the Express will have to find a way to take away the play from behind the net for Victoria. That play has burned the Express all season long in the head to head matchups.


Burnaby 28
Victoria 36

3 stars

3-Alex Peck (25 saves, W)
2-Richie Virtanen (32 saves)
1-Derek Lee (GWG, assist)

This coming week, the Expresss have a pair of divisional games. It begins with the first "big" game of the season when the Express travel to Surrey Friday night. The Eagles have won 8 of their last 10 games and now sit one point up on the Express for third place in the Mainland division. The Eagles have taken the last 2 meetings between the two teams.

Saturday the Express host the division leading Powell River Kings. Burnaby will be looking for their first win of the season vs. Powell River (0-3-1).

Sunday, November 16, 2008


In hockey injuries can't be used as an excuse as all teams have to battle their fair share of injuries over the course of a season. But for the Express they've had enough injuries to cover 2 seasons and the 08-09 campaign hasn't even hit the midway mark.

This season, the Express are trying not to use injuries as an excuse for their struggles this season. But lets say they've deffinitley had an impact on a team that has a 9-12-1-3 record and is currently sitting in the basement of the BCHL's Mainland division and currently sitting out of a playoff spot.

Lets have an exercise and compare Burnaby's injuries with any other team in the Mainland division to get some perspective on how any other team in the division would be farring this season if they had the injuries the Express have had to endure this season.

Let's compare Burnaby with the Langley Chiefs.

And how this will work is, we'll take a Burnaby player who's missed time with injury and put Langley in Burnaby's shoes and take a similar player out of their roster. Now, first of all i'm NOT trying to compare the talent of the two teams and say they're similar. I'm just saying the importance of the Burnaby player mentioned is as important as the player he's being compared to on Langley's roster.

Brodie Reid, he's Burnaby's best goal scorer. Led the team last season with 52 goals. This season he's missed 11 games due to injury. Now imagine Langley without Milos Gordic who's tied for the team lead with 15 goals this season. His absence would certainly be missed.

Max Grassi is Burnaby's number 1 centre this season. He missed 2 weeks earlier this season after suffering an injury on the Island road trip in early October. Imagine Langley without Derek Grant for two weeks. I know he's missed time with injury earlier this season. But the Chiefs still had Elias and Gordic in the lineup.

Garrick Perry's been Burnaby's best rookie this season. He's 4th on the team in scoring and has been a clutch player with 4 game winning goals and assisting on another game winner by John Bokla. Perry missed 4 games after being levelled by Nanaimo's Tyler Mah on October 10th. Now replace Perry with Mac Roy. He's a top 6 forward on the Chiefs this season.

John Bokla missed 5 games when he collided with Greg Bay in practice earlier this season. Now you take Trevor Elias out of Langley's lineup. Now, i'm not saying that Bokla and Elias are at the same level talent wise. But what I mean is, Bokla is a player that has spent some time on Burnaby's top line this season. Elias certainly is a top line player for the Chiefs. Again, Langley would be hurt without someone who's played on their top line this season.

Reid Edmondson and Anthony Collins have each spent time on the sidelines this season. They both provide size and some offence for the Express. Their contributions are valuable along the baords. Forechecking and in the faceoff circle. Now for the Chiefs take Joe Walter out of the lineup.

Gavin Hohl is on the 60 day injured list after suffering a concussion thanks to a hit from Surrey's Brennan Strang. Hohl was just starting to find his stride in the BCHL. He was starting to find his offensive game, and was playing a role on Burnaby's penalty killing unit. Now take Brad Goss out of Langley's lineup.

Jacob Verheyden has missed 14 games with a shoulder injury and a infection this season. Verheyden brings a speed dimension to Burnaby's game. Now i'm certainly not comparing the two players talent wise here. But let's just take the speed of Elias out of the Chiefs roster. That would be missed.

Luke Challier's missed 13 games after suffering a fracture in his ankle. Burnaby is missing a player that is willing to drop the gloves with anyone. Just for the sake of comparison, we know Jessie Tresierra's more than willing to dance. In fact the two have been dance partners this season.

That's just the forwards.

Now lets look at the defence which took a real hit last night when Colin De Jersey, Mike Leidl and Johnny Mahovlich left last night's 4-3 OT loss to Victoria.

Let's begin with the Burnaby captain Mike Leidl. He's so strong at both ends of the ice. His play is far from flashy. But is very reliable. It's still to early to determine how long he will be out of the lineup, but if it's a prolonged period of time the Express will miss their undisputed leader. Now take Jessie Tresierra out of Langley's lineup from a defensive prespective. They both have 15 points on the backend and both are the captains of their team. If Leidl's out for a extended period of time. His leadership and strong play in his own end will be missed.

Johnny Mahovlich also left last night's contest. Again, it's too early to determine how long he will be out of the lineup. Just for the sake of this exercise, let's take Brad Bakken out of Langley's lineup.

Colin De Jersey's situation certainly appears to be the scariest of all the injuries the Express have endured this season. The last 3 games he's played, each time he left the ice very wobbly after being hit. Very scary stuff. First off, lets just hope Colin will be ok. To see any player leave the ice the way he did once is scary enough. But to see it happen in his last 3 games is just even scarier. He will be out for a long period of time I would think.

Promising rookie Simon Denis has missed the last 4 games due to a shoulder injury suffered November 1 vs. Penticton. His skating ability and potential as a 17 year old is very high. Take rookie Dennis Robertson out of the Chiefs lineup.

Now, I know this posting is long winded already. But the purpose is to compare Burnaby's injuries and put Langley in the Express shoes and give you some prespective how the Express injuries would impact another team in this league. Now if Langley had all of the bodies listed out of their lineup at different points in time this season, I can guarantee you they would feel the sting too. They would not be sitting in 2nd place in the divison with a 14-10-1 record.

End of the day, injuries in hockey aren't an excuse. But that's not to say they can't have an impact on a team's season. From an Express point of view, let's just hope they will soon be a thing of the past and we can truly see what this Express team is truly made of.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Sad news out of Express camp. Team Doctor Scott Morrison recently suffered a heart attack.

Scotty, you're in all our thoughts and prayers and hope you make a quick recovery and we want to see you back at the rink soon.

For everyone, who visits this site, please take the time to leave a comment on this posting and wish Scott a speedy recovery.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


First off apologies in the delay in posting this. And thank you for everyone's concern this past weekend about my voice and my well being. I'm starting to get better and my voice is coming back and should be ok for Saturday.

Last Thursday, the Express hopped on the bus to open their 3 game northern road trip. It would take them through Merritt, Prince George and Quesnel.

The trip opened up with a number of players facing their former teams for the first time. Johnny Mahovlich, Dylan Herold and Cameron Brodie would face the Merritt Centennials for the first time, while Alex Valenti and Jordan Soquila would face their former Express teammates since the trade that sent them up the Coquihala highway about 10 days earlier.

The trip was an important one for the Express. They were facing the 6th, 7th and 8th place teams in the Interior respectively and it was a great opportunity for the Express to pick up some much needed points.

Merritt got off to a quick start and carried the play for most of the first period. Jordan Grant opened the scoring midway through the period when he was sent in the clear by Alex Valenti and made no mistake scoring on the breakaway by deking to the backhand on Richie Virtanen.

The Cents continued their strong play into the 2nd. But the momentum swung in Burnaby's favour 8:29 into the 2nd when Tim Holloway tipped home an Ilya Kravtchouk point shot to tie the game. Moments later we saw the first of 3 fights on this night when Garrick Perry got into a scrap with Cody Kightley. That was followed by a fight between Anthony Collins and Casey Fratkin after Fratkin layed a big hit on Max Grassi and Collins came to his teammates defence.

The Express started buzzing regularly around the Centennial goal. But the game would remain tied heading into the third period. Merritt had a chance to break the deadlock just 10 seconds into the third when Express goaltender Richie Virtanen was called for delay of game. The Express penalty killing stepped up to the plate and killed off what would be the only power play of the game for Merritt.

That was followed moments later by the third fight of the game when former Centennial Johnny Mahovlich dropped the gloves with Kevin Philp.

The deadlock would finally be broken midway through the third period when Garrick Perry scored with the Express on the power play as he showed patience and roofed a backhand past Kyle Nielson to give the Express their first lead of the game. The goal was the first in 8 games for Perry. Anthony Collins would also end a lenghty drought by scoring his first goal in 11 games into an empty net to seal the deal for Burnaby.

The game winning goal for Perry is already his 4th of the season.

Richie Virtanen stopped 30 of 31 shots for only his 2nd win of the season.

Final score Express 3 Centennials 1.

Burnaby 38
Merritt 31


Burnaby 1/4
Merritt 0/1

3 stars

3-Garrick Perry (GWG)
2-Richie Virtanen 30 saves (W)
1-Kyle Nielsen 35 saves

The next night the Express continued to trek up north to visit the Prince George Spruce Kings.

Burnaby knew they would need a great goaltending performance in order to come away with 2 points. In 3 of the the last 4 games for Prince George, they had 40+shots in a game. Including the last 2 where the Spruce Kings flirted with cracking the 50 shot plateau.

So on this night, Richie Virtanen would probably have to have his best game of the season for the Express to pick up their 2nd straight win.

A quick glance at the Spruce Kings roster showed that they had a very small team. They had only one player on their roster for Saturday's game that weighed more than 200lbs. But for what they lacked in size, they more than made up for in speed. And that proved to be the case in the first period. The Express had trouble keeping up with the pace and Prince George had out shot Burnaby 13-4 in the first period.

The Express continued their struggles generating offence in the 2nd period but Richie Virtanen was definitely up to the task playing one of his best games of the year. As the second period progressed, the Express finally started to turn the tables and generate some chances of their own. John Bokla had a breakaway but lost control of the puck when he deked to his backhand. Moments later, Dylan Herold re-directed a centering pass of the post. Then with the Express shorthanded, Tim Holloway was stopped on a breakaway as he bid for his 4th shorthanded goal of the season.

On top of Richie Virtanen's strong play between the pipes, another reason why this game remained tied through 2 periods was the Express ability to block shots. Part of their preparations was they had to get into shooting lanes because the Spruce Kings generate a lot of their offence from the point.

Off to the third, Richie Virtanen came up with what may have been his biggest save of the game midway through the period as Sean Ambrosie was sent in the clear on a breakaway after stepping out of the penalty box. He tried to deke to Virtanen's stick side, but layed down his right pad to keep the game scoreless.

Now as the 3rd period ticked by, it seemed like this game would be destined for overtime. But Sam Muchalla had different plans as he picked up the puck from behind the Express net and scored on a wrap around as he banked the puck in off the Express netminder. The goal was deflating on so many levels. Just considering the way the game was playing out, it wouldn't seem right for such a great game to be decided that way.

With just over a minute left, Burnaby called their time out. From our broadcast location, Gord and I were directly above the Express bench and could look over the shoulders of the coaches and see what they were drawing up on the board. It appeared they were looking to get the puck deep and work it in front from behind the net.

But sometimes the world's best plans aren't always executed the way they were drawn up. With 38 seconds left, Prince George goaltender Alex Wright played the puck to the half boards and Max Grassi was there to intercept and fire it home and tie the game. So this game which desitined for overtime, was off to an extra session.

That's where Burnaby would play their best hockey of the night. They were dominant in overtime and finally broke through. They took advantage of a tired Spruce Kings defenceman Zach Davies who had been on the ice for most of the first overtime. He was forced into turning the puck over deep in his own end when Garrick Perry and John Bokla teamed up to steal the puck and John Bokla scored the game winning goal at 3:45 of the first overtime.

Bokla's game winning goal was his first goal in 13 games. Garrick Perry had played a role in the winning goal in both games of the road trip thus far.

The Express defence stepped up by cutting down Prince George's shots on goal to just 32 and Richie Virtanen played his best game of the season making 31 saves for his second straight win.

His strong play to begin the road trip cut his goal against average down by a half goal per game. And his save percentage went up by 2 full percentage points.

The win was Burnaby's 4th straight in the Prince George Coliseum.

The road trip wrapped up Saturday night in Quesnel. With the key word being night. The fact the trip started a day earlier than normal on Thursday, it allowed the trip to wrap up Saturday and it allowed the third game of the trip to be played at night. Normally the third game in 3 nights is played on a Sunday afternoon. The shortened time between the end of the 2nd game and the start of the third game usually has a impact on the players preparation and doesn't allow for a great game. But this time around, playing the third game on Saturday night allows the players to get their proper rest. Some extra sleep in the hotel and nourish themselves regularly throughout the day.

Richie Virtanen was rewarded with his third straight start between the pipes on this night. Quesnel opened the scoring when Virtanen went out of his net to play the puck but lost his footing and Eric Galbraith picked up the puck and walked in front of the open net and put it home.

Late in the period with the Express already shorthanded, Max Grassi slashed the stick out of the hands of a Millionaires player and Max was sent to the box giving Quesnel a 2 man advantage late in the first. Quesnel would capitalize before the period was done as Trevor Hertz picked the top corner from the right circle to give Quesnel a 2-0 lead before the first period was done.

Grassi would cut the lead in half with the Express on a power play on their own as he slid the puck home from the front of the net. Brodie and Bay drew the assists.

As the second period went on, it appeared the Express were playing more than just the Quesnel Millionaires, they were also facing referee Adam Hyatt. He called the Express for a bench minor.

Quesnel scored on that power play as Taylor Rovatti re-stored the 2 goal Quesnel lead.

Later in the period, Greg Bay was called for tripping when a Mills player lost his footing coming out from behind the net. And no Express player was near him. It was right in front of Hyatt as well. That penalty was followed by a Tim Holloway cross checking call. Then a Cam Brodie roughing after the whistle penalty late in the second period. But despite all the penalties and frustrations with the referee. The Express couldn't allow their frustrations to take over because they were still in the game as they went into the third down a goal as Todd Fletcher cut the lead back down to one before the period was done as he scored on a screened point shot from the line.
Quesnel built up their 3rd two goal lead of the night when Eric Galbraith scored his second of the game.

But the resilient Express cut the lead back down to one again when Cam Brodie scored on a screened point shot of his own with 6:27 to go.

In spite of Burnaby's best efforts to tie the game, the Mills would hold on and Rovatti sealed the game with his second of the night into an empty net.

Final score Millionaires 5 Express 3.

Burnaby finished their road trip at 2-1 picking up a 4 of a possible 6 points. The Express felt coming out of the Quesnel game, with some better officiating, they might have had a great shot to come home with 5 or maybe even all 6 points.


Express 36
Millionaires 40


Express 1/3
Millionaires 2/9

3 stars

3-Cam Brodie (1G, 2A)
2-Taylor Rovatti (2G)
1-Eric Galbraith (2G) GWG

There are certainly a few positives coming out of the road trip. Possibly the biggest could be the emergence of Richie Virtanen. He appears to have taken over the number one role between the pipes for the Express.

Burnaby picked up 5 out of a possible 8 points without Brodie Reid in the lineup while he was away at the World Junior A Challenge. He will definitely give the Express a boost offensively. He had 3 assists in his 2 games when he returned from injury and will now go back on the top line along side Max Grassi who's been playing some of his best hockey lately. He had 3 points in Saturday's loss in Quesnel. And since returning from a shoulder injury he has 6 goals and 3 assists for 9 points in the 6 games since returning after missing 2 weeks.

This week, the Express have just one game on the schedule. They welcome the Victoria Grizzlies to town Saturday night. The Express will be looking for some redemption after getting hammered by Victoria 6-1 in early October. That game didn't allow the Express to get their game going as they seemed to be killing penalties all night long. They hope it's a much different story Saturday night.

Monday, November 10, 2008


It's not a three peat for Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge.

The United States had little trouble defeating Canada West 7-1 in the championship game.

The Americans got off to a quick start by jumping out to a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.

They followed up the 3 goal first period, with four more goals in the 2nd period. Most of the damage was done by the U.S. on the power play scoring 4 times. Balance was another key to the American success as they got all 7 goals from 7 different players.

Rylan Schwartz scored the only goal for Canada West.

This marks the first time a team other than Canada West has won the gold medal at the World Junior A challenge.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Burnaby's Brodie Reid scored his first 2 goals of the tournament to get the offence going as Canada West defeated Belarus 4-1 in the semi final game of the World Junior A Challenge.

Canada West got a piece of pay back on Belarus after they upset Canada West in a shootout to open up the tournament.

The BCHLers led the charge offensively. Penticton's Denver Manderson also scored the Canada West. BCHL players combined for 3 goals and 4 assists for 7 points.

The gold medal game will see Canada West play the USA in the gold medal game. The Americans knocked off Canada East 5-1 in the other semi final Saturday. It will mark the first time in tournament history the gold medal game will not be an all Canadian affair.

Canada East however won't walk away empty handed as they won the bronze medal by hammering Belarus 9-1 in the bronze medal game Sunday afternoon.

Tonight's gold medal game can be seen on TSN2 at 5PM.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Much to the disappointment of Kyle Turris and numerous friends and family, the New Westminster native and former Express was a healthy scratch for a second consecutive game last night in Vancouver.

The game was going to be Kyle's first NHL game in Vancouver. He won't be back in Vancouver again until January 15th.

Hear Coyotes Coach Wayne Gretzky on why Kyle was scratched Thursday night.

The Canucks blanked the Coyotes 1-0. Roberto Luongo posted his second consecutive shutout.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Langley's Derek Grant scored twice, BCHLers combined for 3 goals and 2 assists while Prince George's Kevin Genoe was victorious as Canada West evened it's record to 1-1 with a 5-2 win over Russia at the World Junior A Challenge.

Trailing 1-0 going into the second period, Canada West erupted for 3 straight goals to turn the game in their favour.

The Canadian power play was on fire all night as all 5 goals for the home side were with the man advantage.

All 3 teams in group A finished with 1-1 records.

Canada West finsihed first in their pool and earned a bye into Saturday's semi final.

The Quarterfinals begin Thursday.


Kyle Turris is a healthy scratch tonight for the Phoenix Coyotes in Calgary.

Don't worry, he will play in Vancouver Thursday night.

Here's the story I found on the Coyotes website.

CALGARY - I spoke to rookie Kyle Turris about being scratched from tonight’s game. He said he was disappointed but that he understood Head Coach Wayne Gretzky’s decision and accepts it.

“He told me to relax, take a step back and watch the game and learn from it,” Turris said after I asked him how Gretzky broke the news to him. “I’m a bit nervous (on the ice) right now and I don’t want to screw up, but he said just to relax and have fun, play my game and things will come.”

Gretzky said Turris would play on Thursday night when they Coyotes play at Vancouver. I asked Turris what he thinks he needs to do better once he gets back on the ice.

“I’ve got to get back to playing my game and just have fun out there,” Turris said “Right now, I’m hesitating, I’m forcing things and I’m not skating like I usually do because I am too worried about making a mistake or being in the wrong position instead of just letting it happen and letting it flow.”

I then asked Turris how he would approach being a spectator for tonight’s game.

“I’m definitely going to be watching and visualizing myself out there making plays, and seeing the pace of the game.”

Thanks for reading.

Written by Dave Vest. VP of News content for the Phoenix Coyotes.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Just when the Express thought injuries were a thing of the past, nope!

The Express went into Saturday's game with a new rash of injuries. Joining Luke Challier (ankle) on the sidelines were Reid Edmondson, Colin De Jersey and Gavin Hohl. Returning to the injured list after 2 games last weekend was Jacob Verheyden.

In addition to the injuries, sniper Brodie Reid will be out of the Express lineup for the next 4 games while he plays for Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge in Camrose Alberta. Reid will miss this week's northern road trip.

So that sent the Express coaches scrambling to the phones to find players to fill the roster for Saturday's game vs. the defending BCHL Champion Penticton Vees.

When the dust settled, the Express brought in another veteran defenceman Johnny Mahovlich from the Surrey Eagles and AP's Thomas Hardy, Tristan Lowenberger, Paul De Jersey and Jesse Bachmeier.

The Vees came into the Bill Copeland Sports Centre Saturday on a lengthy road trip which started Sunday in Merritt, then the Vees spent time in Vancouver before heading up to Powell River to begin their 4 game in 5 night swing through the Mainland division. The trip opened up for the Vees with a 3 straight losses. Penticton got off to a slow start in each game allowing the opening goal on the first shot of the game for the opposition.

Following losses Wednesday and Thursday in Powell River and Surrey, the Vees had the day off Friday before travelling to Burnaby.

The Express got the start they were looking for when Cam Brodie's backhand from the blueline eluded Jordan White to open the scoring on only the 2nd shot of the game for the Express.

The Vees pulled even midway through the period when Anthony Perdicaro came off the half boards, cut into the slot and picked the top corner glove side on Mike Chan to tie the game.

But the Express had a quick reply just 57 seconds later on the power play as Tim Holloway centred it for Dylan Herold from behind the net. It appeared White made the save squeezing the puck between his pads, but the goal judge turned on the red light, the Express celebrated as if they scored even lining up at centre ice. Then, following some consultation by referee Kam Poirier with the goal judge, the Express were awarded their second goal of the game at 10:11 to make the score 2-1 Burnaby.

Max Grassi added to Burnaby's lead one minute into the second as he put it off a skate and in on a wrap around for his 10th goal of the season.

Just 37 seconds later, the momentum swung back in the Vees favour as Garrick Perry was called for checking from behind and the Vees scored swiftly on the power play as Ryan Viselli tipped home a Devon Krogh point shot to cut the lead down to one.

Vees captain Ryan Vandenberg pulled the Vees even scoring just over 5 minutes into the 2nd period.

The Express had a chance to re-store their lead as Tristan Lowenberger was hauled down cutting to the Vees net and was awarded a penalty shot. However, Lowenberger couldn't take the penalty shot as he was shaken up on the play as he crashed hard into the net.

So Max Grassi would take it for Lowenberger. Last week Grassi scored on a clear cut breakaway which pretty much could have been a penalty shot vs. Alberni Valley's Matthew Wong.

Last week, Grassi went backhand shelf to beat Wong. This week Grassi made a great deke going backhand, forehand, had White beat, but couldn't put it upstairs and the game remained tied going into the third period.

The tie was broken less than 90 seconds into the third as Tristan Lowenberger made no mistake putting home a John Bokla pass from behind the net to re-store the Express lead.

Hear Lowenberger's first BCHL goal here.

Now with the Express in the lead, the focus shifted to protecting the lead. The Express backed off on their forecheck pressure.

The Vees eventually tied the game as Zack Josepher sent it ahead for former Express prospect Garett Milan and he used his speed and cut hard to the net and put it past Mike Chan to tie the game at 4 with just over 3 minutes left to force overtime.

The Vees got the first great opportunity to win the game as John Bokla was called holding at 1:38. It didn't take long for the Vees to strike as Devon Krogh scored on a wrist shot beating Mike Chan to the stick side to give the Vees the 5-4 win. It only took the Vees 7 seconds to score with the man advantage.

Hear Krogh's game winning goal here.

The Vees improved their record to 1-2 on their road trip. But they never played one single second with the lead in any of the three games.

The loss was the second straight for the Express and 10th in their last 13 games. The point for going to overtime kept the Express one point up on the Surrey Eagles for third place in the division after they won a wild 8-5 shootout over the league leading Powell River Kings.


Burnaby 25
Penticton 27


Burnaby 1/6
Penticton 2/7

3 stars

3-Cam Brodie (1G,1A)
2-Max Grassi (1G)
1-Garrett Milan (1G,1A)

The Express will now head on the road this week for their 3 game northern road trip. It begins Thursday when the Express will see familiar faces Jordan Soquila and Alex Valenti when they face the Merritt Centennials. Following the visit to the Nicola Valley, the Express will trek up north to face Prince George Friday and Quesnel Saturday.

The trip is a great opportunity for the Express to rack up some points. The Spruce Kings, Millionaires and Centennials respectively occupy the 6th, 7th and 8th place positions in the Interior Conference.


The Express added to their defence prior to Saturday's game vs. Penticton by picking up veteran defenceman Johnny Mahovlich from the Surrey Eagles in exchange for future considerations.

This season, Mahovlich got into only 4 games and didn't register a point with the Eagles after being acquired from the Merritt Centennials.

He has 3 goals and 20 career points in 110 BCHL games.

The 19 year old is listed at 6'2 205 lbs.

By acquiring Mahovlich, the Express now have 8 defencemen listed on their roster.

I find it a little interesting. I don't expect to see 8 d-men being carried the rest of the way.

Now, that the Express have depth on the backend, could a trade be on its way to try address other areas of the hockey club? Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


It was a surprising start to open the World Junior A Challenge as Belarus defeated Canada West 4-3 in a shootout.

Canada West got off to a great start by opening up a 2-0 lead before the game was 15 minutes old on goals by Penticton's Denver Manderson and Matt Mackay.

Belarus then rattled off 3 straight goals including 2 goals in the first 30 seconds of the second period to open up a 3-2 lead. Matt Mackay scored his second of the game before the period was done to even up the score.

The game would remain tied through the third period and overtime and went to a shootout.

Yauheni Salamonau of Belarus scored the only goal of the shootout for the game winning goal and pull off the upset. Burnaby's Brodie Reid was pointless and Canada's last chance to keep the game going in the shootout but was denied.

Final shots were even at 22 apiece.

Canada West will look to even up their record Tuesday night vs. Russia.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Express sniper Brodie Reid scored his second goal of the exhibition in the first period, but his Canada West squad fell 4-2 to Canada East Friday night.

Reid opened the scoring 8 minutes into the first, and the game was tied at 2 after 40 minutes. That's when Canada East turned it on outshooting Canada West 14-4 in the third period and added goals by Zach Horvato and Stephen Horyl into an empty net to come away victorious.

The win was the first for Canada East over their western rivals. Both losses coming in the championship game of the first two years of the tournament.

Canada West sees their exhibition record finish at 1-1. They will open the tournament Sunday vs. Belarus.