Saturday, September 11, 2010


It was a wild and entertaining season opener for the Coquitlam Express. But at the end of the night they found themselves on the losing end of a 6-5 OT decision to the Victoria Grizzlies.

The result certainly wasn't from a lack of effort or entertainment. The game was a back and forth affair as the game progressed.

Victoria got off to a quick start with Joel Lowry banging home a loose puck at the lip of the crease for a power play goal just 1:36 into the game.

Victoria added to their lead when Dylan Nowakowski chipped a loose puck over a sprawled out Luke Hernandez to give Victoria a 2-0 lead at the 10:00 mark.

Steven Axford cut the Grizz lead to one just minutes later wiring a wrist shot past Matt Ginn at 14:03.

Then with Massimo Lamacchia in the box for holding, Victoria re-stored their 2 goal advantage when Lowry banged home his own rebound just 3 minutes after Axford's tally for his second powerplay goal of the period.

Victoria out shot the Express 16-7 in the opening 20 minutes. And that is reflective of Victoria's control of the puck in the Express zone for a good portion of the first period.

It wasn't a good start for new head coach Jon Calvano. He sent a message to the troops for the start of the 2nd period when Khaleed Devji came out for the start of the period to replace Hernanadez.

The 17 year old product of the Grandview Steelers came in and stablized the Express crease. And Coquitlam started to turn the game in their favour.

Glorious chances started to come the Express way, Garrick Perry had a pair, Steve Axford had a great opportunity to pull the puck around Ginn. But the Victoria netminder was doing all he could to keep Victoria in a 2 goal buldge.

Coquitlam did pull back within one on the powerplay when Jaden Schmisser's point shot was stopped, but Jesse Halikas was there to bang home the rebound at 10:31.

Just 4 minutes later however, this back and forth game resumed. Madison Dias poked a loose puck under Devji to re-store Victoria's 2 goal lead which they took to the locker room.

Coach Calvano continued to make adjustments as the game went on.

One of the most prominent saw rookie Destry Straight get promoted to the top line with Garrick Perry and Brad Reid.

That line showed some magic to open the 3rd period. Reid and Straight came in on a 2 on 1 break, Reid took the shot and Ginn made the save, then the rebound was lying in the crease for Straight to bang home. But somehow Ginn fired out the left leg and took a gift wrapped goal away from the Express youngster.

As the second period progressed and the third began, the Express started to pick up their play and put more pressure on the Grizzlies. They weathered Victoria's early storm, were a little battered, but showed strong signs of recovery.

Less than 5 minutes into the third period the Express got back within a goal when Massimo Lamacchia scored directly off a faceoff by going straight forward on the draw and firing it past Ginn.

Then the top line struck to pull the Express even. Straight continuing his strong play with the top line put a perfect pass on the tape of Brad Reid who buried it at 11:23. So the Express had erased a 2 goal 3rd period lead for Victoria.

The back and forth game continued when just 2:23 later Victoria re-stored their lead when Pierce Eviston roofed a loose puck over Devji to give Victoria a 5-4 lead.

Calvano came right back and sent out their top line again and they got the job done. Straight continuing his strong play came down the left wing fired a shot, and Brad Reid jammed home the rebound to tie the game at 5 with his second of the period just 1:23 after Eviston's tally.

From there, this wild game went to overtime.

Victoria opened the overtime with a flurry of nearly 2 minutes of puck possession in the Express zone.

The best Express chance in overtime came when Riley Mcintosh rushed the puck up the ice, his wrist shot caught a piece of Ginn's glove and was lying in the crease, Lamacchia went to jam it in but was checked on the play.

Then Victoria was awarded a great chance to win it when Brad Reid hooked Wesly Myron and Myron was awarded a penalty shot. Myron went eye to eye with Devji who stared him down and came up with a clutch save to keep the game going.

But Myron would get some measure of revenge moments later when he put a pass on the tape of former Express Ryan Stanimir who slid the puck under Devji to give Victoria the 6-5 OT win.

The Express can be proud of the effort they put forth in this game. They didn't give up, and battled hard to get themselves in a position to tie it and eventually get it to overtime.

Matt Ginn may have allowed 5 goals in this game, but he may have been one of the biggest reasons the Express didn't pull it out in regulation with some of the saves he made.


Express - 36
Grizzlies - 40


Express - 0/3
Grizzlies - 2/2

3 stars:

3 - Brad Reid - 2 third period game tying goals.
2 - Pierce Eviston - 1 goal and 1 assist.
1 - Joel Lowry - 2 goals and 1 assist. His line that included Madison Dias and Ryan Stanimir were a threat every time they were on the ice.

The road trip will continue Saturday in Cowichan.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Appears that goaltending is the greatest question mark heading into the season.

Was last years backup Nick Eng. released? Seemed very shakey in preseason.