Saturday, February 18, 2012


A sign of a good team is the ability to bounce back and get back in the win column after a tough loss the night before. That's exactly what the Express did with a very solid 4-1 win over the Cowichan Valley Capitals.

It was a tough opening minute for the Express, they gave up the opening goal just 30 seconds in as Brett Knowles set up Troy Paterson who fired a slap shot past the glove of Cole Huggins.

It didn't take long for the Express to respond. Clinton Atkinson fired home a powerplay goal from the left point past the glove 6 minutes into the first. The goal for Atkinson was his second in his last three games. The 20 year old defenceman now has 52 points on the season. He sits just 3 points behind Brad Hunt's Express franchise record for points in a season by a defenceman with 55 set in 07-08.

John Siemer was on the business end of a perfectly executed 2 on 1 with Alex Kerfoot giving the Express their first lead with three and a half minutes remaining in the period.

The Express took their lead to the second period. It was the first time in 6 games the Express led after the first period.

Cole Huggins came up with some of his best work in the second period. He made a number of solid saves in the frame to keep the Express in the lead. Huggins turned aside the final 30 shots he faced after allowing the goal by Paterson on the opening shot of the game.

Mitch Nardi helped out his goaltender by finishing off a two on one break by firing a great shot over the glove of Brady Rouleau to put the Express up 3-1.

Clinton Atkinson was also helpful taking goals away for the Caps on this night. He helped clear the puck away from danger after the puck got past Huggins and was lying in the crease in the third period.

Mitch Nardi put the game away with his second of the night scoring on the powerplay with just over three minutes remaining.

Click here to listen to the Express goals
It was back to business as usual for the Express on the powerplay on this night. They finished 2 for 4. Entering tonight's game, the Express were 0 for 11 on the powerplay in the previous 3 games. And just 1 for 11 in the last 4. A rare slump for the second best powerplay in the BCHL.

The two powerplay goal performance for the Express capped off a dominant season series for the Express on the powerplay vs. Cowichan Valley converting 16 times on 31 opportunities, 51.61%.

On the other side of the coin, the Express had played a near perfect game when it came to discipline. They were only shorthanded once all game with Jason Bird getting penalized in the third period. The discipline of the Express is an aspect of the game that some times gets overlooked. They've been shorthanded for three times or less in each of their last 7 games for a grand total of 17 times in that span. The team average for the season sits at being shorthanded just 4.5 times a game.

The win pulled the Express back to within three points of the Caps in the race for third place with the Express having a game in hand and 7 games remaining.

This was the 8th and final game of the regular season with Cowichan Valley. The Express officially posted a 4-3-0-1 mark vs. the Caps this season. Cowichan Valley picked up 10 points head to head vs. the Express compared to 9 for the Express. The Caps get the edge thanks to a pair of points picked up in 2 overtime losses to the Express.

Just one game for the Express next weekend when they host Alberni Valley on Friday.

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