Thursday, December 6, 2012


The Express scored three times in the second period, and Cole Huggins made 44 saves as the Express picked up their first win this season vs. the Chiefs 3-2 Wednesday night at Prospera Centre.

It was the best effort this season vs. the Mainland division leaders. And Cole Huggins was the backbone with his best performance of the season vs. the Chiefs.

Huggins needed to be strong early as Chilliwack jumped on the Express quickly in the first period. The 20 year old veteran came up with a number of big stops in the opening minutes of the game.

Chilliwack finally broke through when Trevor Hills cut into the slot, then was forced behind the Express goal and threw it back in front of the net where Spencer Graboski found the loose puck and poked it past Huggins.

That would turn out to be the only goal the Chiefs would get past Huggins in the opening period as he turned aside 15 of the 16 shots sent his way.

The Express only got 5 shots on goal in the opening frame.

The visitors were better in the second period. They began to turn the game in their favour.

Brandon Morley got the Express on the board 5 minutes into the period while shorthanded as he took advantage of a fanned shot by a Chiefs defenceman, flipped the puck past him then on the breakaway showed great hands going to the backhand and slid the puck through the legs of the BCHL's reigning player of the week Mitch Gillam.

That goal certainly gave the Express a huge boost which would carry them for the rest of the period.

The Express took their lead first lead just under 6 minutes later. Great forechecking pressure by Travis Stephens led to a turn over and AP Phenom Matthew Barzal showed his slick hands cutting to the net then sliding a pass over to Mitch Nardi who roofed his second goal in as many games.

3 minutes later the Express struck again. Callum Hofford's shot from the left point powered it's way past Gillam for just the second goal of the season for the first year defenceman. The goal was helped by a screen provided by both Justin Georgeson and Zach Pryzbek going hard to the net.

It was the best period of the season for the Express vs. the Chiefs this season. They fired 19 shots on goal in the middle frame.

Chilliwack got some bad news late in the second period as Josh Hansen got hurt in the final two minutes of the period and did not return to the game.

Entering the third it was about playing smart and bringing home the victory for the Express.

Adam Rockwood rang a shot off the cross bar with about 8 minutes to go which would have sealed the game for good for the Express.

Chilliwack pressed hard looking to get back into the game. They did get back within one with two minutes left. With Mitchell Fyffe serving a hooking penalty, and Gillam pulled for the extra attacker, Shay Laurent's point shot went wide of the net, but the rebound off the end boards bounced in front of the net and Trevor Hills buried the rebound over Huggins to cut the Express lead to one.

The Chiefs had one last push in the final two minutes, but couldn't find an equalizer and the Express skated off victorious.

20 more shots were sent Huggins way in the third period, but it was just about putting the final touches on a strong night in net for the Express goaltender.

Phil Zielonka did not dress for the Express as he missed the game with the flu.

Now the Express get ready for a pair of games this weekend in Prince George.

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