Monday, October 29, 2012


Week 6 of the Jon Calvano show recaps the two home games this weekend vs. Chilliwack and Langley. We discuss players taking advantage of the opportunity with so many key guys out of the lineup. And preview the upcoming road trip to Powell River, Alberni Valley and Cowichan Valley.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Here's the highlights from the Express 3-1 win over Langley Sunday afternoon. Check out the Express' pink jerseys in support of breast cancer research.


 Highlights courtesy of Cary Derksen.


A shorthanded Express squad consisting of 16 skaters and 8 regulars out of the lineup due to various reasons (injuries, WJAC Camp commitments and suspension) they were able to get it done knocking off Langley 3-1.

The list of players out of the lineup included Biega, McKinney, Bird, Fyffe, Kerfoot, Morley, Pryzbek and Orser. And the ones left all stepped up and help fill the void left behind.

It started with goals from 3 key veterans John Siemer, Justin Georgeson and Mitch Nardi. Cole Huggins was his usual calming presence between the pipes. And other players took advantage of the additional opportunity.

The Express had good energy right from the drop of the puck. All the lines were creating chances in the Langley zone. The line of Nardi, Siemer and Cook had some good energy when they were out there together. Will Cook had a very strong game for the Express. Using his strength along the wall. He helped create scoring chances. One of his best came in the first period when he put a shot off the post.

The Express opened the scoring 12 minutes into the game following a turnover by the Langley defence and John Siemer pounced on it and snapped the puck past James Barr.

Langley's best chance of the period came when youtube sensation Austin Azurdia cut into the Express zone with speed threw the puck at the net and it bounced off a leg then hit the post but stayed out. Another good chance for Langley came in the opening seconds of the second period as Mario Puskarich was set up alone in front of Cole Huggins but the Express netminder turned him back.

The second period had some entertaining back and forth play. The Express struck again following a lengthy scramble around the Langley net and finally Justin Georgeson was able to slide the puck home assisted by Dillan Walker and Phil Zielonka.

In the third Will Cook was rewarded for his strong play as his shot from the circle was stopped by Barr but Nardi was there to cash home the rebound by standing in the blue paint to poke home the puck.

The Express did a good job of containing Langley's top line of Evan Campbell, Mario Puskarich and Mitch McClain throughout the game. The best chance for that trio came while shorthanded and Puskarich had a breakaway but Huggins shut the door.

Puskarich did get a measure of revenge moments later. He took a centering pass from behind the net from Evan Campbell and snapped it past Huggins to snap his bid for a 3rd shutout this season.

The Express brought it the rest of the way home to snap their 5 game home losing streak. And pick up their second win this season vs. a Mainland division opponent. It was also a vital win from the standpoint of Langley had a chance to overtake the Express in the division standings.

Now the Express will head out on the road for games in Powell River, Alberni Valley and Cowichan Valley starting Friday.

Friday, October 26, 2012


The Chilliwack Chiefs needed only 40 minutes to inflict all the damage they needed en route to a 4-1 win over the Express.

The first two periods saw the visitors with a distinctive edge in play and shots. And their hard work was rewarded with 2 big goals in the final 2 minutes of the second period to put the game to bed.

Chilliwack scored first for the third time in 3 meetings with the Express less than 5 minutes into the game. 

Shay Laurent fired a great pass through the crease to Austin Plevy who snapped it past Cole Huggins. The powerplay tally was the first powerplay goal allowed at home by the Express in 36 shorthanded situations.

The Chiefs jump saw them open a 15-8 advantage in shots after 20 minutes. Cole Huggins made a key save off Luke Esposito late in the period to keep the deficit at one.

The second period was more of the same for Chilliwack. The game really turned on the Express late in the period. Austin Plevy scored his second of the game as he was able to bury the rebound of a Ben Isreal shot and snap it past Huggins with just under 2 minutes to go.

Shortly there after Mathieu Tibbet was assessed a double minor for spearing giving the Express a great chance to get back into the game. Soon after the advantage started the game turned in Chilliwack's favor for good. Josh Hansen fired a wrist shot from just inside the blue line that handcuffed Huggins and found the back of the net for a backbreaking shorthanded goal with less than 30 seconds remaining in the period to put the Chiefs up 3-0 with 20 minutes to go.

In the third the Chiefs added another early in the frame. After a cleanly won faceoff in the Express zone the puck came back to Kiefer McNaughton who blasted a shot past Huggins. It was at that point the Express finally woke up.

Phil Zielonka scored his first goal less than a minute later as he took a pass and got in behind the Chiefs defence and made a great move to the backhand and roofed it over Mitch Gillam. That goal sparked a third period that saw the Express generate 19 shots in the final 20 minutes. But they were only able to muster the one goal despite all the pressure.

The loss for the Express was their 5th in a row on home ice. And the offence has all but dried up at home with 4 of those 5 losses seeing the Express only being able to muster one goal in a game.

The Chiefs win moves them 5 points ahead of the Express in the Mainland division standings. Prince George was able to keep pace with Chilliwack as those two teams sit atop of the division after Prince George knocked off Alberni Valley.

Surrey is now tied with the Express for third place in the division standings after they knocked off the Langley Rivermen. Both teams have the same amount of wins and points. But the Eagles move up a spot thanks to their win over the Express back in late September.

The loss now drops the Express to 1-4-0-1 against Mainland division clubs. And they're winless in their last 5 games within the division.

The Express have a chance to pick up a win within the division Sunday afternoon when they host Langley. The only Mainland division club the Express have beaten so far this season.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Returnees Alexander Kerfoot and Brandon Morley and newcomer Zach Pryzbek were among a group of 23 BCHL players invited to take part in the 60 player selection camp for Team Canada West for the upcoming World Junior A Challenge next month in Darmouth Nova Scotia.

Dean Brockman who was an assistant coach last year for Team Canada West returns this year as the Head Coach taking over for Powell River Kings Head Coach Kent Lewis. Brockman is tasked with selected a team of players from the BCHL, AJHL, SJHL, MJHL and SIJHL looking to repeat as Gold Medalists for the World Junior A Challenge.

Kerfoot and Morley were linemates last year at the event in Langley as Canada West re-claimed the gold medal after ending a 3 year reign by the United States.

As the tournament went along last year, that line along with another returnee Evan Richardson of the Powell River Kings was the best line for Canada West as the tournament went along.

The selected Express players will play Friday's game vs. Chilliwack before heading off to the Team Canada West Selection camp.

This years event runs from November 5-11th in Darmouth Nova Scotia, any Express players that make Team Canada West won't return to the Express lineup until Saturday November 17th in Chilliwack.

Best of luck to all the BCHL players invited to take part in camp.

Click on the link to see the full list of invitees

Click link for full list of invitees

Monday, October 22, 2012


Week 5 of the Jon Calvano show recaps Saturday's game vs. Prince George, discusses the Express debuts of Brandon Morley and Philip Zielonka, B. Morley, A. Kerfoot and Z. Pryzbek off to WJAC Camp, and looks ahead to the two games this weekend vs. Chilliwack and Langley.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Here's the highlights of Prince George's 2-1 win over the Express Saturday night.


 Highlights courtesy of Cary Derksen.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Saturday I had a chance to speak with both sides of the Brandon Morley and Brady Shaw trade. I also spoke with Phillip Zielonka about coming to the Express. And hear from Express Head Coach Jon Calvano on the trade and the acquisition of Zielonka.


Former Express Cam Lawson broke a 1-1 tie with 1:19 to go to give Prince George the lead for good in a 2-1 win over the Express extending their winning streak to 4 games.

The win pulled Prince George 3 points clear of the Express for first place in the Mainland division tied with the Chilliwack Chiefs.

Saturday's contest marked the Express debut for newcomers Brandon Morley and Phillip Zielonka. Morley was acquired from the Surrey Eagles in a trade this week that saw Brady Shaw go the other way. Zielonka was acquired from Omaha (USHL)

The new comers helped spark the Express attack in the first period. They had plenty of jump and all the lines certainly appeared to have some extra jump in their step.

Morley set the tone in the first period doing what he does best throwing his weight around and dishing out some hits. His new mates certainly followed the lead. The hits led to turnovers which turned into Express scoring chances.

One of those hits led to the games first goal. Mitch Nardi threw a hit along the boards allowing the Express to free up the puck for Beau Orser who blasted home his first Express goal past Kirk Thompson to open the scoring at the 16:00 mark.

The Express energy in the opening period saw them outshoot the Spruce Kings 13-9.

The game started to turn in Prince George's favour in the second period. The middle frame was scoreless but the Express were outshot 12-6.

Prince George pulled even early in the third. Coltyn Hansen showed great speed cutting to the net from the right side and following up on the play was Matthew Bisset who poked it past Huggins to tie the game at 1 at 1:35.

The third period was much like the second. The play was scrambly. Both teams weren't able to generate many quality scoring chances. And when they did the goaltenders were there to turn them aside.

Two of the better chances for the Express came in the final 5 minutes of the third period with the Express looking to break the deadlock. Zielonka had a good chance from the slot, but Thompson made a good save squeezing the pads together to deny the Express new comer.

A few moments later John Siemer had a good chance from the right wing, he cut to the goal and tried to slide the puck past Thompson but he kicked out his right leg to deny the skilled Express forward.

Those saves proved to be vital for the Spruce Kings. Former Express Cam Lawson broke the deadlock with just 1;19 remaining in third period as he buried a centering pass from behind the net by Shayne Morrisey.

That would be all Prince George would need on this night.

Kirk Thompson turned aside 24 of 25 Express shots for the win. Cole Huggins meanwhile made 31 saves on 33 Prince George shots.

Both teams went 0 for 3 on the powerplay. The Express still have not allowed a powerplay goal at home killing off all 35 shorthanded situations on home ice.

The Express have now fallen below .500 on home ice with a 3-4 mark.

They will look to get back into the win column on Friday when they host the Chilliwack Chiefs.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


The Coquitlam Express and Surrey Eagles have teamed up for one of the biggest trades so far this BCHL season.

The Express sent 20 year old power forward Brady Shaw (92) to the Surrey Eagles in exchange for their captain Brandon Morley (94). 

There may be a difference in size between the two players with Shaw standing at 6'2 200lbs, and Morley at 5'9 160lbs. But the one thing they both have in common is a physical game. 

The Express are getting a veteran of 2 BCHL seasons with the Eagles in Morley. He has 5 assists in 11 games so far this season. Last year he produced at better than a point per game clip with 14 goals and 49 points in 47 games. 

Brandon has developed a reputation in his first two seasons in the league as a very difficult player to play against with his in your face style. He certainly is one of those players you would rather have on your team than to be playing against him. 

Last year he was linemates with current Express forward Alexander Kerfoot as they helped Team Canada West win the gold medal at the World Junior A Challenge in Langley. 

Before entering the BCHL, Morley played with the Northwest Giants of the BC Major Midget League where he was coached by current Express Head Coach and GM Jon Calvano.

The Express acquired Shaw early last season. He went on to score 33 goals and 69 points in 57 games with the Express. This season he had 6 goals and 9 points in 12 games. 

The Express would like to welcome Brandon to the organization and wish Brady all the best with the Eagles. 

And in case you're wondering, the next meeting between these two clubs will be on Monday November 12th at South Surrey Arena. 


The Coquitlam Express have added 19 year old forward Phillip Zielonka. Zielonka is listed at 5'10 173lbs.

He comes to the Express from the Omaha Lancers of the USHL. He didn't pick up a point in 5 games with the Lancers this season.

He played for the Salisbury Prep School Program last year where he scored 26 goals and 50 points in 28 games.

The Point Claire Quebec native is from the same hometown as defenceman Marc Biega. Coming to Coquitlam re-unites Zielonka with his Salisbury teammates from last season Marc Biega and Zach Pryzbek. He does have a NCAA Commitment to Harvard University.

He is expected to make his Express debut when the Express host Prince George Saturday.

Here's a story I found on Zielonka from last year from the New England Hockey Journal.

Click here for story

Monday, October 15, 2012


Week 4 of the Jon Calvano show recaps the two wins for the Express over the weekend in Trail and Salmon Arm. He talks about Daniel Urbani picking up his first BCHL shutout in Trail. The impact a key shorthanded goal in the final minute of a period can have on a team. Mitch Nardi's first goal of the season. And the scholarships for Malcom McKinney and Cole Huggins.


The latest CJHL rankings have seen the Express fall from 11th to 13th.

See full list by clicking here

Sunday, October 14, 2012


The Express hit the road for a pair of games this weekend in Trail and Salmon Arm, and came away with a pair of victories.

Friday in Trail, Daniel Urbani made his second start of the season and picked up his first BCHL win and shutout in the process as part of the 4-0 Express win.

Urbani made 39 saves for the shutout. It's the third shutout this season in the first 11 games for the Express. Cole Huggins posted back to back shutouts to open the season.

Alexander Kerfoot got the offence rolling for the Express scoring just 1:15 into the game.

John Siemer and Justin Georgeson (shorthanded) scored second period goals for the Express.

Adam Rockwood made his season debut for the Express. He had been out since suffering a broken jaw in pre-season. He rounded out the scoring with his first BCHL goal with 2 minutes remaining in the game.

The next night the Express took on their expansion cousins the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

Alex Gilles on a first period powerplay and Brock Balson 6 minutes into the second period scored to open a 2-0 lead for Salmon Arm.

But by the time the middle frame had ended the Express had taken a 3-2 lead on 3 goals in a span of 4:33 on tallies by Brady Shaw, Justin Georgeson and Mitch Nardi's first goal of the season.

Brandon Mistal scored a powerplay goal for the Silverbacks in the opening minutes of the third to pull the game even at 3.

Shaw struck for his second of the game at 7:54 to put the Express ahead for good. The 20 year old forward finished with 2 goals and an assist. John Siemer and Alex Kerfoot each had a pair of helpers for the Express.

Cole Huggins made 34 saves for his 7th win of the season.

The Express are still undefeated on the road this season with a 5-0-1 record. And now sit with an overall mark of 8-3-1-0 and 17 points which puts them atop of the Mainland division.

They have just one game next weekend on Saturday night at home to the Prince George Spruce Kings.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


The Coquitlam Express have another player committed to a NCAA school for next season.

20 year old goaltender Cole Huggins will attend Minnesota State Mankato in the fall of 2013.

The 3rd year BCHL veteran has been a pillar of strength after coming to the Express early last season. 

He posted a 21-6-2 record with a 2.99 GAA and .918 save percentage in 34 games. His goals against average and save percentage set new Express season franchise records in those categories for goaltenders. 

This season Huggins has built on his success last season and taken his game to another level.

He opened the season by posting back to back shutouts in wins over Victoria and Cowichan Valley at the season opening BCHL showcase in Chilliwack. The 74 saves he made in those two games earned him the first BCHL player of the week award. 

So far this season Huggins leads the BCHL with a .946 save percentage. Surrey's Michael Santaguida is tied with Huggins in that category but he's only played 3 games so far this season. He has a 6-1 record this season. His 6 wins rank him second in the BCHL and his 1.90 GAA is 4th among BCHL puckstoppers. 

The Express now have 8 players on their roster with NCAA Commitments 

Congratulations Cole.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


20 year old forward Malcom McKinney has committed to the University of Vermont for the 2013-14 season.

McKinney is the longest serving member of the Express playing in his 4th season with the Express. One of only a small handful of players to play in 4 seasons for the Express franchise.

He had a break through season for the Express in 2011-12 scoring a career high 21 goals and 53 points while dressing for all 60 games. This season he has 3 goals and 4 points in the first 10 games.

Following the 2010-11 season, he was a member of a select team of BCHL players that represented Canada at the Region Centre Cup in Podolsk Russia helping the team finish in 2nd place in the 4 team tournament vs. A Russian and Slovakian National team along with a team of select Russian Junior players.

Standing at 5'8, he may not be one of the biggest players on the ice, but he's known for being a physical presence. A key penalty killer with the ability to chip in offensively.

Congratulations Malcom.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


The third edition of the Jon Calvano show recaps the home and home with Chilliwack, previews the games in Trail and Salmon Arm this weekend, the 3 on 3 OT in the BCHL, and a tight Mainland division that has all 5 teams at .500 or better and the teams separated by just 2 points.

Monday, October 8, 2012


In the latest CJHL rankings, the Express have dropped back down to 11th in the country. Down one spot from their slot in 10th last week.

A few other quick notes, when it comes to alumni.

Alex Petan scored a hat-trick in his college debut with Michigan Tech over the weekend.

Lots of former BCHL names in the story here. 

Kyle Turris has found a place to play during the lockout. He is off to the Finnish league to play with Karpat.

Peter Merth who played for the Express from 2003-06 was released from his tryout with the AHL's Abbotsford Heat. 

He will return to the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) where he played previous two seasons. He will join former Express teammate (04-06) Paul Crowder where he's played for parts of the previous two seasons.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


It was a much better performance for the Express in their second game of a home and home with the Chilliwack Chiefs that saw the two teams square off to a 4-4 tie at the Prospera Centre in Chilliwack.

It was a tight game all night long. It turned out to be the goaltending battle that was expected between Mitch Gillam and Cole Huggins when looking ahead to this two game set.

Huggins had 63 shots sent his way while Gillam faced 50 Express shots.

Like Friday night, the Chiefs struck first early. Ryan Donohoe had a point shot bounce off a couple of skates and come right to the Chiefs forward who tapped the puck past Huggins at 1:25.

Like Friday, the Express had a response. It was much quicker this time around. Just 25 seconds after Donohoe's goal Alexander Kerfoot walked out from behind the Chiefs net and roofed a shot over the glove of Gilliam to tie the game at one.

The Chiefs took their second lead of the game on a powerplay just over 5 minutes into the first period as Austin Plevy banged home the rebound of a David Thompson point shot off the end boards.

Cole Huggins bounced back very strong in this game after being pulled after allowing 3 goals on 9 shots Friday night. He came up with one of the best saves I've ever seen him make kicking out a one timer from Josh Hansen after being set up by Austin Plevy on a 2 on 1 break. It was a real quick bang bang play and Huggins showed great athleticism to come to his right and make the best save of the game.

Veterans Malcom McKinney and Justin Georgeson were challenged to pick up their offensive games and begin to provide more consistent offense for the Express. They teamed up to pull the Express even on a powerplay. A give and go between the two saw McKinney snap a shot through Gillam to pull the Express even at two.

It was a shot filled first period that saw the Chiefs being credited with 21 shots in the period. And the Express credited with 20.

Coquitlam took their only lead of the game in the opening minute of the middle frame. Mitch Nardi put the puck into the crease creating chances for Sam Majka and Mitchell Fyffe and it was Fyffe who poked the puck past Gillam just 28 seconds into the period.

Donohoe scored his second of the game later in the frame to even things up for Chilliwack. His shot from the left wing was stopped by Huggins. Then as he tried to corral in the puck, he ended up sliding the puck into his own net.

Through two periods the shots were even at 36.

Josh Hansen got his revenge on Huggins in the third. He was set up in the slot and snapped a shot low to the stick side past Huggins to put the Chiefs in the lead for the third time in the game.

In a game like Saturday's you need your best players to be difference makers on the scoresheet. Alexander Kerfoot was definitely that for the Express. He was able to find him self alone in front of Gillam with just under 3 minutes to go and he made no mistake burying his own rebound past Gilliam to pull the Express even and send the game to overtime.

Each team had 3 shots in the 4 on 4 first overtime session. Shaw had one of the better chances for the Express. Chilliwack's best chance came in the final seconds as Shay Laurent was set up in the slot and rang a shot off the post.

It was all Chilliwack in the 3 on 3 second overtime. They were awarded an automatic penalty shot when Alex Kerfoot tripped up Luke Esposito.

With the game on the line Huggins looked as calm and cool as ever despite the barrage of shots, he stared down Esposito and Huggins turned aside Esposito's shot to keep the game alive.

It was all part of a 10 save performance in the final five minutes by Huggins as he finished with 59 saves to help preserve the 4-4 tie. The Express didn't register a shot in the second overtime.

Next weekend the Express visit Trail and Salmon Arm. Then they return home in two weeks to play host to Prince George.

Friday, October 5, 2012


On paper it had the makings to be a tight battle featuring two of the top goaltenders in the BCHL, but it never materialized as the Chiefs jumped on the Express fast en route to a 6-3 win.

The set up was supposed to be Cole Huggins vs. Mitch Gillam. The two netminders were 1-2 in the BCHL in save percentage. Huggins goals against average was #1 in the league. Gilliam wasn't that far behind with a mark below two.

Chilliwack sent a message early that it was going to be their night jumping on the Express right from the drop of the puck.

They opened the scoring 48 seconds into the game as a centering pass from behind the Express net found a pinching David Thompson who snapped a one timer past Huggins.

The Express got that one back on a goal of their own from a defenceman. Mitch Nardi won a draw in the Chiefs zone and the puck got back to Cameron Marks who snapped a shot from the right point which hit Josh Hansen and got past Gilliam to pull the Express even.

The game certainly had a physical feel that brought back a few memories of when this was one of the most fiercest rivalries in the BCHL. Brett Seldon dropped the gloves with Tanner Cochrane for a spirited tilt.

Chilliwack re-stored their lead just 50 seconds after the goal by Marks. Josh Hansen buried the rebound of a Austin Plevy shot and snapped it past Huggins.

The Chiefs struck again just over 3 minutes later. The puck wound up in the slot in the Express zone and Mathieu Tibbet chopped a backhand over the right shoulder of Huggins to put the visitors up a pair.

That goal meant the end of the night for Huggins who was relieved in favour of Daniel Urbani after allowing 3 goals on 9 shots in just 8:28 of action.

Urbani wasn't given a warm welcome to the game. He faced a two on one break with Plevy setting up Josh Hansen who made no mistake putting it home at 9:18.

The quick start from the visitors saw them up 4-1 before the midway mark of the first period. Chilliwack's physical play and ability make life difficult for the Express got them frustrated. The Chiefs were banging the Express whenever they could. Many of the whistles to stop the play were quickly followed by scrums with the Chiefs trying to do their best to get under the skin of the Express.

After allowing the goal quickly after taking over in the Express crease, Daniel Urbani quickly settled into the game. He was very steady and shut the door on the Chiefs giving his team a chance to try and get back into the game.

But there wasn't much of an attack on Gilliam. He only had 15 shots sent his way after 2 periods. And very few if any high quality scoring chances sent his way.

As has been a story pretty much all season, the penalty killing had another strong game for the Express. The league's top PK unit killed off all 5 Chiefs powerplays.

Alex Kerfoot scored on a 5 on 3 in the third period to cut the Chiefs lead to two with 12 minutes to play. The Express did pick up their game in the final frame, but it turned out to be too little too late. Austin Plevy scored with just under 3 minutes to go to put the Chiefs back up by 3.

Plevy's line along with Luke Esposito and Josh Hansen was the most dangerous all night for the Chiefs. The line combined for 11 points with 3 goals and 8 assists. With Hansen finishing with 2 goals and 2 assists, Esposito had 4 helpers and Plevy had 1 goal and 2 assists.

John Siemer scored the second Express powerplay goal of the period with 2:05 to go. He showed his slick hands as he tucked the puck around Gillam.

Ryan Donohoe rounded out the scoring by hitting the empty net in the final seconds of the game.

The Express will quicky try and forget about this one and look to re-group in the second of the home and home in Chilliwack Saturday night. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


The Coquitlam Express have added some veteran help on the blueline. They have signed 20 year old defenceman Beau Orser.

Orser was released by the Eagles just prior to last Friday's game between the Express and the Eagles. He played 6 games this season with the Eagles and didn't pick up a point.

He has dressed for 92 career BCHL games in his career all with the Eagles scoring 3 goals and putting up 17 career points. He also has dressed for 28 career playoff games scoring 3 goals and 4 assists for 7 points.

Orser is expected to be in the lineup when the Express face the Chilliwack Chiefs in the first of a home and home series Friday night in Coquitlam.

Welcome to the Express Beau.

Monday, October 1, 2012


The second edition of the Jon Calvano show recaps the 3 games last weekend vs. Surrey, Victoria and Nanaimo.

We talk about the first BCHL goal for Luca Leone in Victoria and how to manage a 16 year old players ice time throughout the year.

Plus look ahead to the home and home this weekend vs. Chilliwack. And the October schedule that sees the Express play 5 of 7 games vs. Mainland Division opponents.


The Express have jumped from 11th to 10th in the latest edition of the CJHL National rankings.

See the full list here