The Express split a pair home games this week, falling 4-2 Wednesday night to the Williams Lake Timbervoles. Then bounced back Friday night to head to the Christmas break on a winning note with a 5-2 win over the Quesnel Millionaires.
Wednesday, the Jekyl and Hide Express continued to leave people scratching their heads with their inconsistent performances.
After coming off a pair of solid outings the weekend before battling the Victoria Grizzlies and Surrey Eagles to overtime picking up 3 out of 4 points,
the Express put themselves in a position to finish their pre-christmas schedule on some form of a roll.
Williams Lake came to Burnaby with just one win on the road all season long, they arrived to the rink less than an hour before puck drop and it appeared the cards were lining up for the Express to take full advantage of the circumstances.
But it didn't happen, the Express did outshoot Williams Lake 40-31 and goaltender Evan Dauenhauer wasn't forced to be overly spectacular.
It was hard to comprehend how the Express didn't come out ready to play and jump on the Timberwolves early. As a result, Williams Lake opened the scoring on a powerplay goal by Jason Diehl in the final minute of the first period.
The Express did pull even early in the second on a pretty passing play of their own on the powerplay with Brad Reid re-directing a James Bettauer pass home at 2:04.
The game remained tied going into the third period. And by this point, the game was very much up for grabs and the vibe was the game could go either way. Nothing was giving you any indication that eventually the way the Express were playing they were going to pull away in spite of the 27-16 shot advantage through 40 minutes.
It's games like Wednesday's that can be really scary when a club like Williams Lake was allowed to hang around and be one shot away from taking the lead themselves.
That's exactly what they did with Justin Bardarson breaking the deadlock at 2:03 of the third to give Williams Lake their second lead of the game at 2-1.
Bardarson struck again with a powerplay marker 3 minutes later to give Williams Lake a 3-1 lead.
By that point you knew the game was over even with 15 minutes remaining in the game. The way Burnaby was playing there was no indication they were going to be able to make up the 2 goal deficit.
Justin Hogan scored Williams Lake's 3rd goal in a 5 minute span to ensure the T-Wolves victory on this night.
Garrick Perry rounded out the scoring with a shorthanded goal to make the final 4-2 Willams Lake.
This was a game the Express had to win if they were serious about keeping within striking distance of the Cowichan Valley Capitals for the final playoff spot in the Coastal Conference. The game was Burnaby's game in hand on the Caps. A win would have allowed them to pull within one point of the final playoff spot.
Last week Cowichan sent a message by defeating those same Timberwolves and Burnaby had to respond but failed to do so. It's losses like Wednesday night that make the hill steeper and steeper to climb for the Express in their push to for the playoffs.
Wednesday's result made Friday's game for Burnaby vs. Quesnel that much more vital.
They couldn't afford a similar let down for a second straight game.
Burnaby got off to a rare fast start with Brad Reid opening the scoring just 41 seconds into the game on a delayed penalty.
The lead lasted just 21 seconds however as Joshua Desmarais responded for Quesnel at 1:02.
From that point on, Express goaltender Nick Enegren showed he was ready to play. The Mills sent plenty of rubber his way in the first period. But the rookie netminder showed he was ready for the challenge. He was very aggressive in his crease challenging the shooters. Allowing the puck to hit him and limiting the rebounds.
The strong play of the Express goaltender kept the game tied and allowed them to take the lead late in the first period. Colby Kulhanek's wrist shot from just inside the blueline handcuffed Luke Siemens and slid in to re-store the Express lead at 18:26.
The goal for Kulhanek was just his second since coming to the Express, and his first since his Burnaby debut November 13th in Nanaimo. A span of 14 games.
With that goal the Express appeared to be in good shape to head to the room with the lead for what would have been just the 6th time all season.
But just seconds after Kulhanek's goal, Luke Challer was sent off after an undisciplined charging penalty giving Quesnel a late powerplay.
The Mills made Challer and the Express pay for the penalty as Desmarais scored his second of the game from Trevor Hertz and former Express Jacob Verheyden and the teams went to the room tied at 2.
The shots were 18-10 in the first period. And thanks to Nick Enegren's strong play, he kept his team in the game. And was the difference that prevented Burnaby from going to the dressing room trailing.
Burnaby re-stored their lead on a early powerplay as James Bettauer fired a shot past Siemens at 2:43.
The story again however in the second period was the play of Nick Enegren who stopped all 19 shots allowing Burnaby to take their lead to the third period.
Rich Manley rewarded the Express netminder with an insurance goal at 2:10 of the third period banging home a loose puck to give the Express a 4-2 lead.
Then rookie Alex Petan put the game away for the Express with his first BCHL goal from James Bettauer and Sean Dinsmore at 13:03 to put the Express up 5-2. Dinsmore's assist was his first BCHL point.
The 5-2 win for the Express takes away some of the sting of the loss to Williams Lake two nights before.
3. Jimmy Geerin - Had 1 assist on James Bettauer's game winning goal in the 2nd period.
2. Colby Kulhanek - 1 goal and 2 assists for the homeside.
1. Nick Enegren - The biggest reason for the Express victory stopping 44 of 46 shots he faced. Including all 28 sent his way in the final 2 periods.
James Bettauer - 1 goal and 3 assists from the Express blueliner.
Burnaby kept pace with the Capitals for the final playoff spot in the Coastal Conference as Cowichan Valley blanked Williams Lake 5-0 extending their winning streak to 5 games. The Express are still 3 points back of the Caps for the final playoff spot.
Cowichan Valley will wrap up their pre-christmas schedule Sunday vs. the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.
Burnaby will now take 11 days off and return to action after the holidays on December 29th at home vs. the Langley Chiefs.