Sunday, November 28, 2010


If you knew the final score of the Express vs. Vees game on Saturday night would be a 7-5 final raise your hand... That's what I thought, none of you.

Penticton did come away with the win, but the Express forced the Vees to dig deep in the third period just to pick up the two points.

The Express came out physical in the first period and Coquitlam brought their skatings legs knowing that the Vees would challenge the Express to skate with them.

Joey Laleggia for the Vees and Jason Grecica for the Express traded goals just under 2 minutes apart early in the first period.

Then the Express got into penalty trouble being called for back to back infractions giving the Vees nearly 4 consecutive minutes of powerplay time, to the Express' credit they killed off the powerplays. But Penticton used the powerplays to give them a jolt of momentum and started to carry the play.

Joey Benik gave the Vees the lead late in the first when he brought the puck into the Express zone with speed and wired a quick wrist shot post and in low stick side on Khaleed Devji.

The Vees took their 2-1 lead to the room and outshot the Express 17-5.

Both teams settled into a tighter and more evenly played game when the second period got underway. Logan Johnston opened up a 2 goal Vee lead scoring at 7:36.

Coquitlam didn't get rattled and Jason Grecica forced a turnover behind the Vee net and set up Mike Krgovich and scored on a backhand at 14:20.

Penticton however quickly restored their two goal lead when Tampa Bay draft pick Brendan O'Donnel set up Montreal Canadiens draft pick Mark MacMillan who was all alone in front of Devji.

Trailing by two goals entering the third period to the Penticton Vees a comeback seemed fairly unlikely for the Express.

Coquitlam was given a chance to cut the lead down to one early in the third period when Kyle Beaulieu was called for tripping. That gave the anemic Express powerplay a chance to make it a game again. In the last few games the Express let opportunities like this slip through their fingers.

This time their fortunes would be different.

Cole Gelley started a beautiful passing play by whipping it to Krgovich who snapped across to Destry Straight who buried it past Joel Rumpel to pull the Express back within one with plenty of time left on the clock.

Less than a minute later captain Garrick Perry showed the heart and determination he brings to the rink every night by taking a Steve Axford pass and powered his way hard to the net and scored on Rumpel to pull the Express even.

Two goals in 41 seconds for the Express meant the end of the night for Joel Rumpel who was pulled in favour of Billy Faust.

Midway through the third Brad Reid clutched up to give the Express the lead for the first time when his wrist shot from inside the blueline handcuffed Faust.

3 goals in 8:12 turned the game 180 degrees in the Express favour. But it was still far from over from the Vees point of view.

A powerplay goal by Brendan O'Donnel just over 2 minutes later pulled Penticton even as this sea saw third period continued. Then just 2:03 later one of Jon Calvano's former players with the Vancouver Northwest Giants re-stored the Vees lead when Steven Iacobellis tipped a Troy Stetcher point shot past Devji to give the Vees the lead again.

Coquitlam thought they were going to get a great opportunity to pull even in the final minute when Riley Mcintosh was hauled down in his own zone and the Express looked to be getting a powerplay. But as the Express brought the puck up ice referee Adam Griffiths somehow found a holding penalty on Garrick Perry and the teams remained at even strength.

Tough pill to swallow for the Express in their come back bid. Then Joey Holka iced the game for the Vees with an empty net goal.

This loss isn't easy to take from an Express point of view. But they can take out of it how hard they played with one the of top teams in the BCHL. This weekend the Express may have posted two of their best performances in consecutive games in recent weeks. They may have wound up on the losing end both times. But if what we saw this weekend was a sign of things to come, it should only be a matter of time before the Express get back into the win column.

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