Tuesday, September 29, 2009


With the calendar turning to October shortly, and like the leaves falling to the ground right now, we will see the real colors of the Burnaby Express this month.

Sure the month of September couldn't have gone much better for this team with a record of 5-0-0-1 in the seasons opening month. The Express have taken advantage of a softer schedule to begin this season. The combined records of the teams the Express were victorious over in the month of September is 8-15-0-4. Things get much tougher for the Express in October.

First we will begin with the overall schedule, the Express will play a total of 14 games in October. That's more games than some NHL teams will play in a month let alone a Junior A team.

October doesn't begin easy for the Express, they have visits to Salmon Arm and a Sunday afternoon date with the defending RBC Cup champion Vernon Vipers who are a perfect 6-0 at the time of this writing. Sandwiched between Friday's game in Salmon Arm and Sunday in Vernon is a date with the Trail Smoke Eaters who have just one win in their first 7 games.

The next weekend the Express hit the road to the Island with stops in Nanaimo, Victoria, and Powell River who have handed the Express their only blemish this season an 4-3 defeat in the Express home opener.

There is also a date at the end of the month in Penticton. But the Express may catch a break when they roll into The South Okanagan Events Centre who could have up to 4 players out of their lineup at the time as Beau Bennett, Garrett Milan, Sean Bonar and Joey Laleggia may all be representing their country at the World Junior A Challenge. Even if those players aren't in Penticton's lineup, they will still have the league's leading scorer Denver Manderson unless he suffers an injury.

The Express also play their first two games of the season vs. rival Langley and a game with the improved Alberni Valley Bulldogs who are 4-1 this young season.

Overall the Express will play 9 of the 14 games in October vs. teams who have .500 records or better.

If this Express team is for real, the next 14 games will prove it. We will know by Halloween whether this Express team is a trick or a treat.

Monday, September 28, 2009


A record of 5-0-0-1 in the month of September for the Burnaby Express and it couldn't get much better. The only blemish, a 4-3 overtime loss to the Powell River Kings.

This weekend the Express picked up a pair of wins. 7-2 Saturday vs. Merritt, and 3-2 Sunday afternoon vs. Nanaimo.

Saturday was the return engagement between the Express and Centennials. The Express took the first game of the home and home between the two teams 7-2 Wednesday night.

The rematch followed a very similar script from Wednesday's game. Saturday, the Cents opened the scoring on the powerplay with a goal from Jeff Jones.

However, unlike Wednesday the Express didn't wait until the 2nd period for a reply. That came exactly 7 minutes after Jones' goal when Garrick Perry scored a powerplay goal with a wrist shot that was tipped past Cole Holowenko.

The 2nd period Saturday followed the script from Wednesday, the Express picked their play and really started to take it too Merrit. However, unlike Wednesday the goals didn't come fast and furious. Merritt's 16 year old netminder was putting on a show turning aside shot after shot from the Express.

Finally after all kinds of Express pressure, the dam finally broke. Jimmy Geerin scored his first goal of the season when his screened point shot got past Holowenko to give the Express a 2-1 lead.

Hear Gerrin's first Express goal here.

Now that the dam was broken, the goals just came flooding in for the Express. Brad Reid scored with 31 seconds left in the 2nd period to give the Express a 3-1 lead. Reid was the beneficiary of a Jon Puskar pass intended for Rich Manley that was tipped right to Reid who tapped it home.

Hear Reid's goal here.

Jon Puskar added his 5th of the season in the third period as he took a drop pass from Matt Ridley to finish off a 3 on 1 to give the Express a 4-1 lead.

That was followed by Garrick Perry's 2nd of the game. The 6-1 goal came 29 seconds after Perry's tally when Clay Wilson banged home a loose puck off a point shot for Wilson's first BCHL goal.

Hear Clay Wilson's first BCHL goal here.

Again like Wednesday, Captain Dylan Herold chipped in with the point after scoring the Express 7th goal to give them a 7-1 lead. The Express scored 4 goals in a span of 5:56 in the third period. Going back to the Geerin goal in the 2nd period, the Express erupted for 6 goals in span of 14:34.
Saturday's final act followed the same script from Wednesday as the Centennials rounded out the scoring as David Sabey scored a powerplay goal with just over 2 minutes remaining in the third period.

Final score:

Express 7 Centennials 2.

Much like Wednesday it was a balanced offensive attack for the Express who had 10 players hit the scoresheet.

Nick Energren got the start in goal for the Express and picked up his 2nd win of the season stopping 22 of 24 shots he faced. Energren improves his career record to 3-0.

The Express did lose Zac Ashdown who was favoring his right leg after being hit into the end boards after dishing off the puck. No word yet on how long he will be out of the lineup.


Burnaby 43
Merritt 24


Burnaby 3/7
Merritt 2/8

3 stars:

3. Matt Ridley - 1A, Setup Jon Puskar's third period goal.

2. Garrick Perry - Scored 2 goals including the first of the night for the Express.

1. Jimmy Geerin - The steady Express blueliner had 1G, 3A in the win.

The Express didn't have much time to rest up for their next opponent the Nanaimo Clippers who came to the Bill Copeland Sports Centre for an afternoon affair.

Delays marred Nanaimo's travel plans Sunday as they didn't get to the rink until 2:00 for the 2:30 start.

This game would be looked upon as one of the first real tests of this Express team. For as strong of a start the Express have had this season, they haven't played any top teams in the BCHL. The combined record of Burnaby's opposition heading into Sunday's game was 9-12-0-1. Nanaimo isn't the elite team they have been in years pasts. But, no one would ever look past a Bill Bestwick coached team which had 3 wins in their first 7 games.

Nanaimo didn't show any signs of bus legs in the opening 20 minutes as both teams skated hard. The game had signs of reaching the boiling point late in the first period when Konrad Sander was hit into the gate of the Express bench while heading off.

In the 2nd period the Express lost their best goal scorer early in the period when Jon Puskar was ejected for checking from behind when he hit a Nanaimo player into the boards in front of the penalty box.

The first goal of the came off the stick of Dylan Herold as he scored off a quick wrist shot from the left circle just shy of the 14 minute mark of the 2nd period.

Burnaby added to their lead just 54 seconds later with the Express on the powerplay, Rich Manley picked up the pick in his own zone and picked up speed and fired a laser of a wrist shot over the shoulder of Loic Boivin to give the Express a 2-0 lead.

Manley's goal showed off one of his new tools in his 2nd tour of duty with the Express. Manley's dramatically improved his shot from 2 years ago. In 07-08, Manley doesn't even take a shot on that exact same play.

Manley helped the Express add to their lead in the third period when he put a perfect pass on the stick of Luke Challier who put home the feed to give the Express a 3-0 lead. Challier was placed on the top line following the ejection of Jon Puskar.

The goal was a big sigh of relief for the Express agitator. It was Challier's first goal of the season after having so many chances in the first 5 games and couldn't finish.

With the Express up by 3, they began to sit back to protect their lead and Nanaimo started to take the play over.

Former Express property Cody Bremner scored his 8th of the season at 13:15 to snap Harrison May's shutout bid. That goal was followed less than 5 minutes later by a goal from Mike Domsodi to cut the lead to one.

But that would be as close as Nanaimo would come as the Express held on for the win.

Final score:

Express 3 Clippers 2.

The win is the third straight for the Express. They finish the month of September 5-0-0-1 and sit atop of the BCHL's Coastal Conference standings.


Nanaimo 31
Burnaby 26


Nanaimo 1/6
Burnaby 1/5

3 stars:

3. Cody Bremner. Scored his 8th goal of the season in a losing effort for Nanaimo. His 8 goals are 2nd best in the BCHL behind only Penticton's Denver Manderson who has 9.

2. Luke Challier. Scored his first goal of the season which was the game winning goal. Challier added an assist.

1. Rich Manley. Also had 1 goal and 1 assist for the Express. Manley has points in each of the Express first 6 games.

Things get more difficult for the Express starting this weekend with a 3 game Interior road trip with stops in Salmon Arm, Trail, and Vernon.


Here's the highlights of Burnaby's 7-2 win over Merritt Saturday night.

Highlights courtesy of Cary Derksen of Purple Penguin Productions.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Here's a good read on Express netminder Harrison May from the BCHL website.

Click here to read the article


The Express got back into the win column Wednesday night as they took the first game of a home and home series this week with the Merritt Centennials with a 7-2 win.

The game marked the return to Merritt for Harrison May. He was one of the few bright spots on a team that won just 13 games a season ago.

Things didn't get off to a good start for May, the Cents opened the scoring midway through the first period as Dustin Johnson scored off a centering pass from Jeff Zmurchyk.

Johnson's goal came on the powerplay for the Centennials. It was the first powerplay goal the Express had allowed since the third period of the seasons opening game in Cowichan Valley. It snapped a streak of 16 consecutive penalty kills for the Express.

Merrit took their lead into the 2nd period. The lead however, didn't last long, Matt Ius scored his first goal of the season just 32 seconds into the 2nd period. The goal was a thing of beauty as it came off the rush, Ius just stepped inside the blueline and fired a laser of a wrist shot top corner stick side on Spencer Bacon.

Hear Ius' first goal here.

Less than 5 minutes later the Express took the lead. Simon Denis cut to the net from the left wing, a huge scramble ensued and Garrick Perry among a mass of humanity in front of the net poked the puck past Bacon.

5 minutes after the Perry goal, the Express struck again. Zac Ashdown cut down the right side on a partial break and fired a snap shot stick side past Bacon to give the Express a 3-1 lead. The goal for Ashdown was his first with the Express.

Burnaby added one more goal before the period was done. Brad Reid and Rich Manley teamed up behind the Merritt net to come up with the puck and Manley walked in front of the net and put a perfect pass on the stick of Jon Puskar who had a tap in for his 4th goal of the season.

The Express tallied four times on eleven shots in the 2nd period. That would be the end of the night for Spencer Bacon who was pulled in favour of Norbert Biszczak for the start of the third period.

The change in goal didn't do much to change Merritt's fortunes, Puskar added his 2nd goal of the game on a powerplay. You can put this one on the growing list of great shots for Puskar as he picked the top corner glove side on Biszczak.

Hear Puskar's 2nd goal here.

The offensive barrage for Burnaby continued, Matt Ius scored his second goal of the game on a breakaway. Jimmy Gerrin hit Zac Ashdown with a stretch pass who then tipped it to Ius who walked in alone and deked to the backhand to put the puck home.

Hear Ius' 2nd goal here.

That goal was followed just 58 seconds later at 10:58 with Dylan Herold scoring on a kick pass by Garrick Perry to give the Express a 7-1 lead.

Dustin Johnson rounded out the scoring with his 2nd of the game with 7 minutes left in the third period.

Final score Express 7 Centennials 2.

It was a balanced attack for the Express on this night. Jon Puskar and Matt Ius each scored twice. Puskar also added an assist to finish with 3 points. Puskar's 5 goals have him in a tie for 2nd in the BCHL in goals.

Eleven players registered at least one point for Burnaby.

This game also had a rough edge to it as 5 separate fights broke out over the course of the game.

Part of that due to the Express playing for one another and proving they wouldn't be pushed around. In the first period, Rich Manley got hit from behind by Jake Baker, Manley took exception and turned around and started pounding away at the Merritt defenceman.

Then in the 2nd period, Baker was in his second fight of the night. Baker wiped out Garrick Perry with a hard clean check along the boards and Zac Ashdown came to Perry's defence dropping the gloves with Baker.

Harrison May stopped 36 of 38 shots for the win in his return to Merritt. He stepped up when he was needed, but wasn't forced to bail his team out in spite of the high shot total.

Burnaby improves their record to 3-0-0-1 with the win. The Express along with the Vernon Vipers are the only teams in the BCHL to not suffer a regulation defeat this season.


Burnaby 40
Merritt 38

3 stars:

3. Dustin Johnson - Scored both goals in a losing cause for the Centennials.

2. Harrison May - Successful return to Merritt for May picking up the win with 36 saves.

1. Jon Puskar - His second consecutive 2 goal performance. He also added an assist. Puskar's 9 points are tied for 5th in the BCHL scoring race.

Up next:

vs. Merritt Saturday.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Former Express Kyle Turris was among 5 players the Phoenix Coyotes sent down to their AHL affiliate in San Antonio.

Turris had his ups and downs in his first NHL season last year. He scored just 8 goals and 20 points in 63 games. Turris' +/- rating was nothing to brag about either he was -15 last season.

He also played 8 games in San Antonio last season scoring 4 goals and 7 points.

This pre-season Turris had just 1 goal in 3 games, but was a -3.

Turris was drafted 3rd overall by the Coyotes directly out of Burnaby in 2007.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Here's the video highlights from Saturday's home opener vs. Powell River.

Highlights courtesy of Cary Derksen of Purple Penguin Productions.


Click on the link below for an interesting article from the Burnaby News Leader newspaper on the struggles the Express have had in their first 4 seasons in Burnaby.

Click here to read the article

For more on this topic, listen to Express GM Darcy Rota discuss it in a posting below.


The Burnaby Express came home for their first game of the season at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre with a 2-0 record. It is a good start to the season with road wins over Cowichan Valley and Surrey.

Powell River provided Burnaby's competition last night. The Kings are a much different team than the one a season ago that went all the way to the Fred Page Cup final. Powell River lost a tonne of offensive weapons that led the league in goals scored. They had 4 players in the top 6 in league scoring.

The lack of explosive weaponry was reflected in Powell River's two games leading up to Saturday's affair in Burnaby. Powell River had just scored one goal in its previous two games.

The Kings got off to a good start in the game with Carter Shinkaruk scoring off a rebound from the end boards after Cody Rinaldi's shot went over top of the Burnaby net.

The Kings lead didn't last long as the Express had a reply on the powerplay as Brad Reid from the left boards made a beautiful cross ice pass to Jon Puskar who blasted home the pass on a one timer beating Josh Watson.

3 minutes after the Puskar goal at the 15 minute mark of the opening period, the Express struck again. This time shorthanded, Rich Manley and Brad Reid forced a turnover at the Burnaby blueline setting up a 2 on 1 break. Reid dished the puck to Manley, who quickly returned it to Reid who made no mistake going to the backhand to beat Watson to give the Express a 2-1 lead.

Now, if it wasn't for Express goaltender Harrison May, the Express could have at least gone to the dressing room even. May stopped 17 of 18 Powell River shots in the first period.

The Kings did pull even 4 minutes into the second period. Andrew Pettit's shot from the left wing was stopped by May, but he gave up a juicy rebound which was put home by Jordan Grant.

Midway through the 2nd period the Kings had restored their lead. Brenden Forbe's tipped Darcy Huisman's point shot past May to give the Kings a 3-2 lead.

At this point the Kings were starting to carry the play. The shots were significantly in favor of Powell River.

The Express did pull even again in this back and forth game before the period was done. Rich Manley set up Jon Puskar for his 2nd goal of the game. Manley passed it out from behind the Kings net and Puskar tapped it home. The goal came with just 1:37 remaining in the 2nd period.

Despite, the heavy shot advantage in favour of Powell River after 2 periods, 35-20, the Express went to the dressing room all even. Much to the credit of Harrison May keeping his team in the game, and strong penalty killing.

The game settled down in the third period. The penalty killing on both sides really took over with the game on the line. The Express killed off two early Kings powerplays in the third period. Powell River shut down Burnaby's powerplay in the final frame.

As the game was developing, there was one concern that was starting to bubble to the surface. It started Friday night in Surrey when Harrison May lost the puck in his feet and it came in front of a gaping net and May bailed himself out with a spectacular stick save off Jason Grecica.

The issue was showing signs of popping up again Saturday night. May coughed the puck up a few times when playing out of his crease. Or he had trouble finding it in his feet. Watching this unfold, the question arose about whether or not it would come back to hurt the Express on this night?

In the dying seconds of the third period Brad Reid was called for high sticking at 19:51. The Express penalty killing which had been so good all night and 24 hours earlier in Surrey needed their biggest kill of the young season.

The powerplay carried over into overtime giving the Kings a 4 on 3 advantage in the sudden death period. Burnaby met the challenge and passed it with flying colors killing off the Reid penalty and keeping the Express alive. The most notable performance of that penalty kiilling effort was three blocked shots by Burnaby.

Once the penalty expired, perhaps Burnaby would get a boost and press for the game winner. It didn't happen. Harrison May's troubles handling the puck finally hurt his team as he lost the puck behind his net, Chad Niddery stole the puck off May and centered it to Matt Garbowsky put it into the wide open net to give the Kings a 4-3 win.

The loss was the first of the season for Burnaby. Powell River improved their record to 3-1.

When people reflect on Saturday's game vs. Powell River, the goat horns will be placed on Harrison May for coughing up the puck which led to the game winning goal. May also needs to be praised for a strong game to keep his team in the game and allowing the Express to get a point out of it. May stopped 42 of 46 shots.

The Express penalty killing had a second straight strong performance killing off all 6 Kings powerplays. You add to that, the 7 penalties Burnaby killed off Friday night in Surrey, the Express have now killed off 13 consecutive opposition powerplays in the last 2 games.


Burnaby 28
Powell River 46


Burnaby 1/3
Powell River 0/6

3 stars:

3. Jordan Grant - 1 goal for Powell River.

2. Rich Manley - 2 assists in a losing cause.

1. Jon Puskar - Scored two goals and is tied with Rich Manley for the team lead in scoring with 6 points in the first 3 games.

Up next:

Wednesday @ Merritt 7:00. Broadcast begins at 6:45.


I had a chance to speak with Burnaby Express President and General Manager Darcy Rota during the first intermission of Saturday's game vs. Powell River. We discussed a number of topics, including, the decision to sell at last year's trade deadline and rebuild for this season, the return of Rich Manley, and the future of the franchise in Burnaby.

Hear from Darcy here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Former Express Paul Crowder was among 5 players the New York Rangers assigned to their AHL affiliate in Hartford. Crowder played with the Express from 04-06. He scored 17 goals, 44 assists for 61 points in 61 career regular season games with the Express.

Crowder was a member of the 2006 Royal Bank Cup championship team. After his time with the Express, Crowder played 3 seasons with the University of Alaska Anchorage on a scholarship. He signed with the Rangers after last season and played 11 games with their AHL affiliate in Hartford in the playoffs. He had 3 assists in those 11 games.


It wasn't a thing of beauty, but the Express still got the desired result. A 2-1 win over the Surrey Eagles Friday night. This was a game where the Express didn't play a sharp game. Especially in the final 40 minutes.

The game began relatively evenly played between the two teams. The shots were 10-9 Burnaby in the fist period. The story of the opening 20 minutes was the play of the Express penalty killing. Burnaby was shorthanded 4 times including a 5 on 3 for over a minute. The Express penalty killing shut the Eagle attack down.

With all the powerplays Surrey had late in the first period, and into the 2nd. it gave them life and they started to carry the play. Express goaltender Harrison May was up to the challenge providing a calming presence in the Burnaby crease.

The games first goal came against the flow of the play as the American Express line of Garrick Perry, Rich Manley and Jon Puskar struck again as Perry found a loose puck in the slot and fired it past Eagles goaltender Vinny Lessard 7 minutes into the 2nd period. Puskar and Manley drew the assists on the goal. That line has scored 5 of the Express first 6 goals this season. And that trio has combined for 12 points. 4 points apiece.

The Eagles tied the game late in the 2nd period as Andrew Wallace put a cross ice pass on to the tape of a pinching Doug Marshall who fired a great shot top corner glove side on Harrison May.

Surrey began the third period like they did the second, with a powerplay. Luke Challier put a headlock on Eagles forward Andrew Wallace at the end of the period. Challier was given an extra two minutes. Once again, the Express penalty killing prevailed keeping the score tied.

Early in the third, Harrison May nearly gift wrapped the lead for the Eagles. He went out behind his net to play the puck, but lost it in his feet and it came in front of a wipe open net, Jason Grecica pounced on the loose puck, but May dove back and made a spectacular save with his stick to just get enough of it to keep it out. Captain Dylan Herold finished the job as he cleared the puck which was slowly dribbling to the Express net. Easily, a candidate for save of the year by Harrison May.

Moments later, the Express found themselves shorthanded again with Rich Manley in the box. At the time, you had to wonder if all the Express penalties were eventually going to come back to bite them. However, it was the Express breaking the deadlock shorthanded, Matt Ridley flipped the puck out of his own zone and it landed right on the stick of Garrick Perry who made no mistake scoring his 2nd goal of the game on a breakaway.

Hear Perry's game winning goal here.

Now with 12 minutes remaining in the third period, the Express found themselves in the same situation as one week ago in Cowichan Valley, protecting a one goal lead in the third period.

In the final 90 seconds, the Express were given an opportunity to put the game away with a powerplay. And it appeared they sealed the game away. The Express appeared to score a powerplay goal in the final minute, as they poked a loose puck that was sitting between the legs of Vinny Lessard, but referee Sean Raphael, waved the goal off. Much to the dismay of the Express. The call didn't end up having an impact on the outcome as the Express held on the rest of the way and came away with a 2-1 win.

The Express improved their record to 2-0 with the win.

It wasn't a pretty win for the Express. Is there room for improvement? sure. Over the course of a 60 game schedule, every team will have wins in their back pocket where the team doesn't play at their best. You could put this game into that category for Burnaby.

The Express have their penalty killing to thank. Killing off a 7 Eagle powerplays.

The Express passed another big test in the third period as they successfully protected a one goal lead in the third period for a second consecutive game.

Two wins on the road in the seasons opening two games is crucial for this team. It's always more difficult to win on the road. With 9 of the Express first 13 games on the road this season, learning how to win on the road now will help in the month of October when the Express visit Salmon Arm, Vernon, Penticton, Nanaimo and Powell River.


Burnaby 21
Surrey 32


Burnaby 0/4
Surrey 0/7

3 stars:

3 - Garrick Perry. Scored both Express goals. His game winning goal was a pure goal scorers goal beating Lessard on a breakaway.

2 - Grant Toulmin. One assist playing on Surrey's top line with Andrew Wallace and Chris Santiago.

1 - Harrison May. Great Express debut for the veteran goaltender. Stopped 31 of 32 shots and looked very steady doing so. Even came up with a save of the year candidate to keep the game tied at 1 in the third period.

Up next, home opener Saturday night vs. Powell River.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Former Express and 09 RBC Cup champion Cam Brodie has been sent to Syracuse of the AHL. He went to Columbus' camp to begin his pro career. Brodie was part of 15 players either released, sent to the AHL or returned to their respective junior camps by the Blue Jackets.

In other Express alum news from NHL camps, Mark Santorelli had 1 assist as the Predator rookies defeated the Thrasher rookies 3-0.

Milan Lucic set up Max Sauve's game winning goal as the Bruins defeated the New York Rangers 2-1. Paul Crowder did not dress for the Rangers.

Kyle Turris will play in Los Angeles tonight as the Coyotes split their training camp squad and play a pair of exhibition games.

The Colorado Avalanche will play their Burgundy vs. White game tomorrow night. Brandon Yip will play along side former Express teammate David Jones, along with veterans Adam Foote, Scott Haanan, Darcy Tucker and Marek Svatos for team Burgundy.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


It was a good start to the season for the Burnaby Express, they knocked off the Cowichan Valley Capitals 4-3 Friday night in Duncan.

If you believe the line, if you look good, you play good. Well, that was the case for Burnaby last night. They debuted their beautiful new red road jerseys and played well in the opening 40 minutes.

Shawn Mueller opened the scoring for the Capitals with a shot from the right boards that beat Nick Energren up high. Energren got the start for the Express in goal as Harrison May tweaked his ankle earlier this week while playing basketball. There is no reason for concern when it comes to May, he should be good to go for the two games next weekend.

The Capitals lead didn't last long as captain Dylan Herold tied the game minutes later on a powerplay as he banged home a centering pass in the goal crease.

Rich Manley, who was making his Express re-debut last night, had a pair of outstanding chances to score in front of Caps goaltender Kiefer Smiley in the first period but was robbed of a goal on both occasions. The third time however was the charm, Manley buried Jon Puskar's centering pass with 1:10 remaining in the first period to give the Express the lead heading to the room.

Manley added his 2nd goal of the game in the opening minute of the 2nd period as he took a drop pass from Garrick Perry and Manley cut to the net and jammed the puck home.

The top line of Rich Manley, Garrick Perry and Jon Puskar was dangerous all night long. And they teamed up again for the 4th Express goal as they worked the cycle in the Caps zone, and Manley played it up the boards to Perry who put a beautiful backhand pass across the slot to Jon Puskar who blasted home the pass to give Burnaby a 4-1 lead.

Burnaby took their 3 goal lead to the third period. The Caps began their comeback on a powerplay in the opening minute when John Chayka's centering pass from the goal line went off former Cap Jimmy Geerin and past Energren.

Then with the Caps on another powerplay courtesy of Jon Puskar's roughing after the whistle penalty, the Caps pulled within one as Shayne Taker's point shot got past Energren who was bumped by the traffic in front of the net. The Express lead was suddenly cut to one with the goals coming just 2:02 apart.

From that point on, the Capitals took over the game pressing for the game tying goal. Burnaby was outshot 14-2 in the third period, but didn't crack under the pressure as they held on the rest of the way to pick up their first victory of the season.

Nick Energren stopped 26 of 29 Capital shots for the win. He is now 2-0 in his BCHL career.

Energren won his BCHL debut with the Express in their final game of the season last year in Langley.

The all American top line of Garrick Perry, Rich Manley and Jon Puskar combined for 8 points. 3 goals and 5 assists.

Burnaby 26
Cowichan Valley 29

Burnaby 1/4
Cowichan Valley 2/5

3 stars

3-Shayne Taker - The Caps defenceman had 1 goal and 1 assist in the loss. He controlled the Caps attack from the blueline especially in the third period.

2-Jon Puskar - It was an impressive BCHL debut for Puskar. Had 2 assists and showed his great finishing ability for his first BCHL goal as he blasted home a one timer in the 2nd period.

1-Rich Manley - Played an outstanding game. Finished with 2 goals and 1 assist. Easily could have had 4 goals if he buried his glorious scoring chances in the first period. Played to his size to control the puck in the offensive zone. Also played well on the defensive side of the puck. Including hustling back into his own zone to pick the pocket of a Caps player of the puck while on the rush.

Next up, in Surrey Friday night.

Friday, September 11, 2009


The Burnaby Express have a new look for 09-10. Here is the new Express road jerseys. A new home jersey will be unveiled at the home opener Saturday the 19th vs. Powell River.


Log on to the Burnaby Expressions blog for a special announcement from the Express at 7:15 tonight...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Well, we are now just hours away from the Burnaby Express opening up their 09-10 season. It feels like it has been a really long time since the 08-09 campaign came to an end in late February with the Express missing the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Since that time there has been plenty of change. And nothing less should have been expected after last season. The Express had a number of future considerations to use from trades made last season that are expected to re-build the team and get them back into the playoffs.

One of the biggest acquisitions both literally and figuratively was the acquisition of Harrison May. He came to the Express from Merritt via Vernon in the Cam Brodie, Mike Leidl trade. May instantly gives the Express plenty of experience in the BCHL and an all star between the pipes. He represented Merritt at last years all star game. His 1536 shots faced were the third highest total in the BCHL last season.

May stands 6'3 and uses his large frame to his advantage to give the shooters little room to look at. The Express haven't had a goaltender with such a large net presence since Bryce Luker in 05-06.

The Express brass last year went with 2 rookie goaltenders last season, and admitted it didn't work out as expected. Heading into this season, they made sure they had an experienced guy in between the pipes.

The Express did lose their other asset they acquired in the trade with Vernon, John Digness didn't return to the team this season. He has moved on with his life enrolling in school back home in Alberta.

Now following the players that came to the Express from the Brodie Reid trade last November is a little complicated. The Express did pick up Brent Vandenberg in the deal along with future considerations. Vandenberg ended up being dealt to Salmon Arm at the deadline for more futures. The Express eventually got futures that were owed to Salmon Arm in a trade they completed with Victoria in the summer of 08. The Express used the futures from Victoria via Salmon Arm to acquire Cody Bremner.

However, Bremner is enrolled in school on the island to help prepare him for his college days when he heads to Cornell on a lacrosse scholarship. So Bremner wanted to stay on the Island, so he was dealt along with Greg Bay to Nanaimo. Coming the other way is Dan Correale and Konrad Sandor who the Clippers had acquired from Prince George. It doesn't stop there, Correale was sent down to Major Midget last season by the Spruce Kings, and during the off-season Grande Prairie took a run at Correale. That set off a battle for who had Correale's rights. As it turned out, Burnaby had his rights. Grande Prairie still wanted Correale, so they picked up former Nanaimo Clipper Zac Ashdown from La Ronge of the SJHL. Grande Prairie then flipped Ashdown to Burnaby in exchange for Correale. Hope you can follow that.

To continue the completion of the Brodie Reid trade, the Express added some size on the backend with the acquisition of Matt Ridley. He is the son of former Vancouver Canuck Mike Ridley. The towering blue liner stands 6'3 and weighs in at 220 lbs.

The Brodie Reid trade doesn't stop there, Brad Reid also came to the Express as part of the deal. Brad Reid is entering his 3rd season in the BCHL, the Express expect him to contribute to the top 6 this season. Last season in Penticton, Reid had 18 points in 49 games.

The final piece of the Brodie Reid trade is Jimmy Geerin. He was acquired late this off-season. Geerin split last season with Cowichan Valley and Penticton. Geerin had 16 points in 31 games with the Capitals. But didn't register a point in 6 regular season games with the Vees in 08-09. Geerin should provide the blueline another player who's a good skater with strong puck moving ability.

Geerin is just part of the Express defence that is completely revamped from last season. Only 2 players return from last years team on the blueline. Simon Denis, and Todd Fletcher. Those two will team up with the twin towers on the blue line, Matt Ridley, and Chris Van Dyn Hoven.

The Express are thrilled to have Van Dyn Hoven on the blueline. He spent time in the WHL with Chilliwack and Prince George. And spent part of last season with Grandview of the PIJHL. Van Dyn Hoven is a monster at 6'5, 230lbs.

A pair of rookies will debut on the blueline. Stefan Gonzales who impressed at prospects camp in the spring, and Kai Ohs has been added as well.

Upfront looks promising. Garrick Perry returns for his second season in the BCHL. He's coming off a 19 goal and 41 point rookie season. He was a candidate for the Coastal Conference rookie of the year award. Perry should be the prime candidate to be the player that never flourished for the Express last season, and that's a player taking his game to a level where he's ready to lead the team offensively. Last season, one issue the Express had was they didn't have a returning player fill the void offensively left behind by graduating players.

Perry is supported by Brad Reid and newcomer Jon Puskar. The Canton Michigan native is expected to be one of the Express top recruits this year. I am looking forward to seeing his skill on display in this league.

Dylan Herold will serve as team captain this season. There will be no questions this year when it comes to leadership. Herold is looking to build off a strong performance that saw his offensive game emerge after arriving in Burnaby from Merritt where he scored 13 goals in 36 games to match his offensive output from his first 2 1/2 seasons in the league. Herold's 28 points with Burnaby last season nearly matches his career output before putting on Express colors. Look for Herold to build on his strong performance from last season.

The Express brought a familiar face back as well. Rich Manley is back after spending last season with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL, Manley had 5 goals and 15 points in 28 games last season.

In 07-08 with the Express as an 18 year old, Manley put up 16 goals and 51 points in 58 games. If he plays to his size at 6'5, 225lbs, Manley is capable of providing a size presence and offensive depth.

Continuing down the depth chart upfront, Luke Challier returns after a strong second half of last season. He along with a healthy Jared Chernoff and the acquisition of Konrad Sandor will provide plenty of grit and some offence to the Express forward group.

Rookie forward Brodie Jaimeson is a player i'm looking forward to watch his development throughout the course of his first season in the BCHL. He played last season with the Vancouver Northwest Giants of the Major Midget League. If his offensive skills blossom the way the Express brass expect, they could have another offensive weapon.

Now, as long as the team doesn't go through another season of 270 plus manned games lost due to injury, a return to the playoffs for the Express shouldn't be a problem.

The Express brass worked hard in the off-season to completely revamp the roster so a repeat of last season doesn't happen. Looking at the team on paper, it appears the 09-10 edition of the Express, doesn't appear to be a reason to indicate that they aren't ready to compete this season.

However, are 15 other teams in this league that remember this team as one that won just 18 games and missed the playoffs by 20 points last season. The work that the Express brass did in the off-season raised the expectations for the team this season.

But the last time I checked, expectations don't win you hockey games, the written or the spoken word doesn't win hockey games. The only way to prove to people that things are different is to hit the ice and prove it.

We will find out for sure starting Friday night in Cowichan.

I just have to say, it's about time. It's been a long long wait.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Apologies for not posing much on the blog recently. I've been pretty busy this week with the Hockey Canada Cup. But the Express did pick up their first win of the pre-season yesterday in Gibsons defeating Powell River 5-2. Now the pre-season concludes tonight at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre as the Express host SFU.

Last night saw the marquee matchup of the Hockey Canada Cup. The United States defeated Canada 4-2. Here's the highlights from

The win for the U.S. gives them first place in the standings and will play Finland in the semis on Saturday. The Finns pulled off the upset of the tournament knocking off the U.S. 3-2 on Monday. Canada will play Sweden in the other semi final.

The Gold and Bronze Medal games go Sunday at GM Place. Tickets are still available for both games at ticketmaster. The webcasts featuring myself and Colin Tiggelaar at