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.

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