Saturday, March 29, 2014


The Express get back into the playoff swing of things Sunday evening when they kick off round number 3 in their first game of the 3 team round robin vs. the Interior division champion and RBC cup hosts the Vernon Vipers.

This set up is different from your traditional best of 7 series where you will play the same team up to 7 games in a span of 9 nights.

This set up will see the Express play in Vernon Sunday, then face the Island division champion Victoria Grizzlies for a pair of games Tuesday and Thursday starting in Coquitlam. If a second game vs. Vernon will be needed it will be played on Monday April 7th in Coquitlam. A tie-breaker game may also be needed on April 9th to determine the top two teams in this round robin to see who will have a chance to play for the Fred Page Cup.

While this format is different, there is one principle that remains the same, and that is win you move on, you lose and you go home.

This round robin will move quickly with teams playing as few as 3 games and possible up to 5 games to settle this whole thing.

A teams preparation is different when you know you're not going to play the same team at least 4 straight games and quite possibly as few as one time or at most 3 times.  This format could be unforgiving for the team that gets off to a slow start.

The round robin began Friday with Vernon taking the first game with a 5-4 win over the Victoria Grizzlies in Victoria.

It's been awhile since any of these teams have seen each other. The Express haven't seen Vernon since January 11th a 3-1 Vipers win. Before Friday, Vernon and Victoria hadn't gone head to head since December 6th.

Both opponents the Express will see in this round robin have used the dramatics of a third period come back and an overtime goal in game 7 to advance. Vernon erased a 3-1 deficit on the road before prevailing 2:06 into overtime on a goal by Michael McNicholas to advance to the round robin and eliminate Penticton. Victoria needed to erase a 3-1 series deficit vs. Alberni Valley then in game 7 needed 3 goals in the third period including two in the final 2 minutes just to force overtime. Then needed a double overtime goal to finally put to rest the pesky Bulldogs.

Victoria then eliminated Powell River in 6 games in the Island final. Vernon in the first round needed 6 games to dispatch West Kelowna.

Both teams have top lines that will be a challenge for the Express to handle. They will certainly counter the argument with they're more than just a one line team. And to get to this point in the playoffs there is some truth to that. The Express can certainly make that claim.

Vernon's top line has been arguably the hottest in the playoffs. Colton Sparrow, Brendan Pearsley and Brett Mulcahy have teamed up for 26 goals and 46 points in the playoffs. Mulcahy who was the captain of the Fred Page Cup champion Surrey Eagles a year ago is on a tear with 13 goals in 14 playoff games.

For Victoria it starts with the Fitzgerald triplets Myles, Leo and Gerry then works it's way down the lineup. They're 1-2-3 in Grizzlies scoring in these playoffs. But they have been able to spread the attack around with 7 players with 4 or more goals in the playoffs.

The Express have spread their offense around throughout these playoffs as well.

Ryan Rosenthal leads the way with 9 goals and 12 points in the playoffs. But contributions from the top 3 lines have been a consistent theme for the Express in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

None of these teams would be in the position they're in without great goaltending. Gordie Defiel has been as rock steady as any goaltender in these playoffs for the Express. Austin Smith has carried the load the entire way for Vernon.

Victoria has been going with a platoon system. They've split their goaltending duties as equally as you can. Alec Dillion and former Express property Nic Renyard are both 4-3 in in these playoffs. Dillon has played 10 more minutes, faced one more shot, and has allowed one fewer goal than Renyard in these playoffs to date.

If the regular season head to head match ups mean anything at this point in the playoffs, the Express were 1-1 vs. Vernon winning at home 4-2 on December 8th. And losing 3-1 in Vernon on January 11th.

Victoria took both meetings with the Express winning 4-3 in Coquitlam on November 17th and 3-1 in Victoria on February 8th.

In my opinion, the head to head meetings don't mean much this deep in the playoffs. Especially when you consider there's so much water that has gone under the respective bridges of all 3 teams at this point in the playoffs. And when there's just 2 head to head meetings all season long between the two clubs.

All three clubs will be well rested with a week off after the second round after playing 12 or 13 games in a 19 day span in the first two rounds of the playoffs. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014


The Express have a well earned week of rest after two six game series wins over the Prince George Spruce Kings and Langley Rivermen to win the 2014 Mainland division playoff championship.

They will use that much needed time off to heal any bumps and bruises that have accumulated over the course of 12 games in 18 days. Which also included the grind of a the 6 game series with Prince George that saw lengthy bus trips back and forth from Coquitlam to Prince George.

In the third round the Express will play the Island division champion Victoria Grizzlies who eliminated Powell River in 6 games. And the Interior division champion and RBC Cup hosts the Vernon Vipers who needed a 3-1 third period come back and an overtime goal from Michael McNicholas to keep their dream alive of coming through the front door of the tournament they're hosting in May.

Each team is scheduled to play each other once home and once away. The top two teams will advance to the Fred Page Cup to play for the BCHL championship.

Here's the full schedule for the third round. Express games are in bold.

March 28, 7:15pm
(2) Vernon @ (1) Victoria
March 30, 7:00pm
(3) Coquitlam @ (2) Vernon
Kal Tire Place
April 1, 7:00pm
(1) Victoria @ (3) Coquitlam
Porier Sports and Leisure Centre
April, 3, 7:15pm
(3) Coquitlam @ (1) Victoria
April, 5 7:00pm
(1) Victoria @ (2) Vernon
Kal Tire Centre
April 7, 7:00pm
(2) Vernon @ (3) Coquitlam
*If Necessary
Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre
Tie-Breaker game if necessary

Friday, March 21, 2014


Express and Rivermen shake hands following 5-3 Express game 6 win.

Express salute fans after winning Mainland final in 6 over Langley Rivermen.

The Express have punched their ticket to the third round of the playoffs with a 5-3 win over the Langley Rivermen eliminating the BCHL's top regular season team in 6 games.

Coquitlam didn't want to see this series be left in the hands of an anything can happen game 7 in Langley Saturday night.

They started like a team trying to make sure it ended Friday.

Ryan Rosenthal who was re-united with his regular line mates Corey Mackin and Adam Rockwood blasted home a pass after Rockwood and Mackin teamed up to win the battle for the puck behind the Rivermen net.

The Express captain scored in 5 of the 6 games of the series. Including in the final 3. He also had 2 assists for 7 points in the second round.

Just over a minute later Langley's captain responded as Mitch McLain blasted home a one timer on a feed from Tanner Johnson to even up the game at one.

Brendan Lamont scored his first goal of the playoffs when he tipped home a Cam Marks point shot after Lamont and the Pieper brothers teamed up to win a puck battle along the boards.

Gordie Defiel turned aside 30 shots for his 8th win of the playoffs. He had a key stop in the final seconds off the first period off Will Cook.

Langley started the second period on the power play and just 30 seconds into it Cook scored his 3rd goal in 4 games since returning to the line up to tie it at two.

That was followed less than 5 minutes later on another power play goal off the stick of Tanner Johnson who rang one in off the post for his second goal in as many outings.

The third period began with the Rivermen needing to play 20 good minutes to save their season. But they ran into an Express team determined to end it.

A few good shifts in the Langley zone quickly built momentum. The Express broke through at 1:52 as Jace Hennig going to the net scored after Cody Boyd threw the puck at the goal. It was the first point of the series for Hennig who waited for the perfect time to get it.

They rode that momentum throughout the course of the third period. The chances for the Express soon followed.

Another won puck battle along the boards was instrumental in getting the series win for the Express.

The Pieper brothers got the puck back to Marks, and like he did on Lamont's goal he threw it at the net and Canon scored on a tip for a 4-3 Express lead with just under 7 to play.

The two goals set up by Marks were a great example of just finding a way to just throw the puck at the net and hope good things will happen. It doesn't always have to be a hard shot.

Now it was about rolling the lines, keeping the shifts short and let the clock do the work.

The Express got the insurance they needed as Adam Rockwood and Corey Mackin teamed up to set up a pinching Zach Hodder who scored his 3rd goal of the series with 2:29 remaining to clinch the series win for the Express.

The third round will have a different playoff format. It will be a round robin that will see the Express play one home and one away game against both Victoria and either Penticton or Vernon. The top two teams after the round robin based on points will play for the Fred Page Cup and the BCHL championship.

It's the second time in Express franchise history they have advanced to the third round. In 2006 the Express met the then named Victoria Salsa eliminating them in 5 games. The Express will see Victoria again after they eliminated Powell River in 6 games.  Vernon and Penticton will crown the Interior division champion in game 7 in Penticton Saturday night.

Victoria will be the first seed, Vernon or Penticton will be the second seeed. And the Express will be the third seed based on the regular season standings.

They will start the third round on Sunday March 30th in either Penticton or Vernon.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


The Langley Rivermen forced a game 6 in the Mainland division final with a 5-2 win over the Express in game 5 from the Langley Events Centre. The Express lead in the best of 7 has been cut to 3-2.

The series was extended by an effort by the BCHL's top team in the regular season that saw them be credited with 51 shots.

Gordie Defiel finished with 46 saves, but despite being on the wrong side of the score had a very strong game in the Express crease. He couldn't really be faulted on any of the 5 pucks that got past him.

Former Express Will Cook opened the scoring when he bounced the puck in off Defiel from behind the net at 4:27.

The BCHL's most dangerous shorthanded team struck again to even the score. Captain Ryan Rosenthal scored on a breakaway after he picked the pocket of Victor Dombrovsky.

Rosenthal now has 3 of the 4 Express shorthanded goals in the playoffs. Including the regular season the Express have now scored 23 goals with the opposition on the power play.

When Langley has been at their best in this series, they've been able to use their size and strength down low on the Express zone and create offense off the won battles.

That led to Langley's second goal. After a puck battle won deep in the Express zone, the Rivermen were able to work it back to the point where Zach Urban unleashed a hard shot tipped home by Gage Torrell going to the net.

Defiel kept his team down a goal going into the second period after he made two key stops off Jacob Reichert in the final two minutes of the opening period.

The middle period saw Langley raise their game. And Defiel continued his best to try and keep them at bay. He made his best save of the game just seconds after a Rivermen power play expired when he fired up the glove to rob former Express Will Cook who was all alone in the slot.

Moments later Langley broke through when Captain Mitch McLain fired a great back pass to Tyson Witala who snapped it home at 12:23.

The Express had their chances to try and get back into the game. Ryan Rosenthal rang a shot off the post on the power play. Another chance off the post by Bo Pieper in the final minute of the second period quickly turned into a two on one for Langley and Tanner Johnson scored on a backhand for a 4-1 Rivermen lead.

Zach Hodder pulled the Express back within two 5 minutes into the third period scoring his second of the series after a set up from an Adam Rockwood drop pass.

Langley sealed the win just over two minutes later when Jacob Reichert was given free reign to walk off the boards untouched into the slot, and right to the net where he deked past Gordie Defiel at 7:09.

The Rivermen were credited with 39 shots in the final two periods compared to just 11 for the Express. I do use the term "credited" loosely. But the only number that matters is the score board.

Both teams went 0 for 4 on the power play.

The Express will try and have repeat performance from round 1 where they lost game 5 on the road try to win the series only to come home and finish it off in game 6 Friday in Coquitlam. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Express celebrate game 4 win over Mainland division final.
The Coquitlam Express put the disappointment of a 5-0 loss the night before in the rear view mirror with a 5-3 win in game 4 of the Mainland division final.  Coquitlam now leads the best of 7, 3-1.

The fans in attendance were truly treated to an entertaining game made even better seeing the home team win.

The Express fourth line gave the big guns a boost when they opened the scoring on a Jackson Cressey goal set up by Daniel Lange with a shot that hit the leg of a Langley defenceman and got past the glove of Brock Crossthwaite.

It was the first goal of the playoffs from the Express fourth line. It's a great reward for a unit that all season long has provided such valuable minutes.

The Express had their chances to try an extended their lead with Bo Pieper walking out from behind the net to be denied by Crossthwaite. Then Joey Santucci going hard to the net had the rebound of a Jace Hennig slap shot bounce over his stick with a wide open net.

Shortly there after the Rivermen pulled even when Chris Forney fired a shot over the shoulder of a screened Gordie Defiel.

Matt Ustaski gave the Rivermen their first lead of the night when he come out from behind the Express net and was able to bounce the puck past a sprawled out Defiel.

Marc Biega continued his regular season success against the Rivermen in game 4 Tuesday. He scored pinching in from the left point and snapped a show low to the stick side on Crossthwaite.

A series is always about adjustments and the Express come out for the second period after tweaking their lines.

Captain Ryan Rosenthal was taken off line with Corey Mackin and Adam Rockwood. And he was put between the Pieper brothers to give the Express a little more size.

The new combination quickly started to click and generate chances. You couldn't not notice the Express captain on this night creating chances with his speed and powering the puck to the goal.

Before the Pieper's and Rosenthal made their mark on the score sheet the Rivermen took their second lead of the night when Tyson Witala set up Mitch McLain who had a wide open net to bury the puck a a 3-2 lead.

The lead only lasted 2:24 when the Express new line teamed up for the equalizer.

Bo Pieper set up Rosenthal who scored his 7th of the playoffs and the game was even at three.

You couldn't have asked for a more entertaining and evenly played game between these two clubs tonight. They played hard and clean. There was no extra circular activity. Neither team really gave the officials a reason to make any penalty calls.

They gave it all they had with so much on the line depending on the outcome for both teams.

The final 20 minutes was set up for the biggest period of the series for both teams. Was this series going to Langley for game 5 tied at two or with the Express leading 3-1?

The Pieper's and Rosenthal teamed up in the opening minute of the third period to give the Express their second lead of the night. Canon scored on a rebound 31 seconds into the frame for a 4-3 Express lead.

Finally the officials were forced to make a call with 4:20 remaining in the third period when Charlie Pelnik hit Joey Santucci into the boards and his head struck the glass.

On the ensuing power play Marc Biega struck for his second of the night blasting it past Crossthwaite for a 5-3 Express lead. The Express defenceman also had an assist for a 3 point night. Including the regular season, Biega has 8 goals vs. the Rivermen this season.

Gordie Defiel like the team in front of him had a bounce back performance with 31 saves.

The series now shifts back to Langley for game 5 at the Langley Events Centre Thursday with the Express looking to be the first team to punch their ticket to the third round of the playoffs.

Expect nothing more than the team with the BCHL's best record in the regular season to fight hard to defend home ice and save their season much like Prince George did in round one. 

Monday, March 17, 2014


It's been a road team series through the first three games of the Mainland division final between the Express and Langley Rivermen.

Game 3 was the third win in as many games for the road team as Langley took game 3 in Coquitlam 5-0 to cut the Express series lead to 2-1.

Right from the get go the Rivermen were ready to play. They opened the scoring just 22 seconds into the contest after they won a battle for the puck behind the net and Jacob Reichert scored his first goal of the series on a wrap around on Gordie Defiel.

Game 3 also saw the return to the lineup for former Express Will Cook after an 11 game absence. He made his presence felt early in his playoff debut scoring a power play goal at 4:39.

Langley's top line which had been fairly quiet in the first two games of the series continued to make an impact as Jacob Reichert and Matt Ustaski set up Kevin Killistoff who scored off the rush to make it a 3-0 game at 11:35.

Things got even tougher for the Express at the end of the first period when Marc Biega was assessed a double minor penalty for spearing.

Austin Azurdia made the Express pay for the penalty 1:35 into the second when he banged home a loose puck that was lying in front of the Express goal.

The two power play goals allowed in game 3 matched the total the Express had allowed in the previous 8 games of the playoffs.

The penalty killing went in the wrong direction for a rare time in these playoffs for the Express.

On the other side the story remains the same on the power play. And that is powerless. The Express didn't score on the power play in game 3 finishing 0 for 5. And that's not to say if the power play made a difference in this game the outcome might have been different. But it is really having a tough time finding any success.

Their best chance to strike came with a 5 on 3 for 1:03 shortly after the 4-0 goal but nothing was accomplished. The Express are now 2 for 36 on the power play in the post-season.

I am one of many Express observers that are baffled by the lack of success when you consider the personnel that are available for selection.

Mitch McLain rounded out the scoring when he had Tanner Johnson's point shot bounce off him and past Gordie Defiel who had a rare tough night in the playoffs. For the Express net minder who has been so strong in the playoffs. There's no reason to believe he can't put this game behind him and be ready to make amends Tuesday.

Brock Crossthwaite at the other end turned aside 24 Express shots for his second shutout of the playoffs. His best save coming off a chance for Canon Pieper in the second period.

Few people would have predicted at the start of the series the Express would take it in 4 straight.

The Express must quickly dust themselves off and put this one behind them and look ahead to game 4 Tuesday.

One loss doesn't change the momentum in the series. It's how you respond that will show you what this edition of the Express is really made of.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Gordie Defiel and Tyson Witala in game 2 of Mainland final. Photo courtesy of Garrett James.
The Coquitlam Express have a 2-0 lead in the Mainland final after taking game 2 at the George Preston Rec. Centre 2-1 over the Langley Rivermen.

The Express got first period goals from Zach Hodder and Ryan Rosenthal and Gordie Defiel had another solid performance between the pipes with 36 saves for the win.

Early on saw a parade to the penalty box for both teams. Soon the Express found themselves with a 5 on 3 power play that they made count.

Ryan Rosenthal teed up a one timer for Zach Hodder who blasted it past the glove of Brock Crossthwaite at 2:39.

It was a much better first period for the Express in this one compared to 24 hours earlier where they were outshot 19-9.

The Express outshot the Rivermen 15-8.

The animosity between the two clubs starting to come to the forefront in game 2. Bo Pieper seemed to draw the ire of the Rivermen late in the first period. He was sent hard to the ice deep in his own zone and got up reaching for his face after a cross check from Austin Azurdia.

Then in the final minute of the first period Bo was decked and left some blood on the ice following a pass to Ryan Rosenthal who scored for a 2-0 Express lead.

Langley started to raise their game in the second period trying to get back into it. They fired 15 shots toward the Express goal but couldn't get a puck past Defiel. His best save came off Tony Bretzman who was robbed by Defiel's quick glove hand.

8 minutes into the third period Mark Whiteley was on the receiving end of a double team hit that left the Express defenceman shaken up. He did not return. On the play Evan Anderson was assessed a 5 minute major for a blow to the head penalty and given a game misconduct.

Anderson could be facing an automatic two game suspension according to the Junior A Supplement.

The Express power play couldn't take advantage of the 5 minute power play they could have used to put the game in the bag.

With renewed life Langley struck just after the penalty expired as Kevin Kilistoff scored to give what was at the time a listless game the Express appeared to have in control suddenly some drama and life for Langley.

The final 6:32 saw Langley look for the equalizer. Their best chance may have come on a scramble when the puck went in the air and landed on top of the with 2 minutes remaining.

The Express weathered that final push which included a few more key stops for Defiel.

Some final fireworks late in the game saw a boarding penalty assessed to Cody Boyd. Then at the end of the game Jacob Reichert picked up a double minor for a spear on Gordie Defiel and Zach Hodder was assessed a slashing penalty coming to the defense of his goaltender.

That sets the table for what should be a vital game 3 in the series Monday night in Coquitlam. The Express will look to try and put the BCHL's top team in the regular season into a 3-0 hole.  

Friday, March 14, 2014


Defiel with one of his 36 saves in game 1. Photo courtesy of Garrett James.
The Coquitlam Express took game 1 of the Mainland division final with a 4-2 win over the Langley Rivermen at the George Preston Recreation Centre.

The Express used 3 third period goals and another strong performance from Gordie Defiel who finished with 36 saves.

Defiel set the tone for what would be a very strong night in the opening minute with a great glove save off Marcus Vela.

Canon Pieper opened the scoring for the Express when he was set up by Brendan Lamont and scored on a backhand deke past Brock Crossthwaite following a Langley turnover at their own blue line.

An unlikely source tied the game for Langley 2:31 later when AP Cameron Bertsch scored poking the puck past Defiel following a face-off in the Express end.

Langley peppered the Express crease with 19 shots in the first period but were only able to get the lone goal.

Gordie Defiel continued to punctuate his strong night in the second period and looked as calm and composed as ever turning aside the next 12 Langley shots in the second period. They had a 31-17 edge after two periods.

Coquitlam began to turn the game in their favor in the third period.

Ryan Rosenthal on a set up from Corey Mackin slid home his 5th of the playoffs for a 2-1 Express lead at 3:32.

Cody Boyd provided the goal from the third different line for the Express when he threw the puck at the net and it hit the leg of Rivermen defenceman Chris Forney and bounced in at 8:44.

2:04 later it was back to a one goal game when James Robinson took a drop pass from Austin Azurdia and snapped a wrist shot low to the stick side past Gordie Defiel.

Boyd then sealed the win for the Express when he struck for his second of the night with just over two minutes remaining when he converted a set up from Joey Santucci and deked past Crossthwaite and slid the puck home.

The strong finish in the third period saw the Express outshoot the Rivermen 15-7. Langley finished with 38 shots compared to 32 for the Express.

Coquitlam also killed off 4 Langley power plays and weren't able to convert on any of the 3 man advantages they had.

Game 2 of the series is back at the George Preston Rec Centre Saturday night with the Express looking to bring a 2-0 series lead back to Coquitlam. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


EXPRESS 27-26-2-3, 59PTS 3rd in Mainland division. Defeated Prince George 4-2 in 1st round. RIVERMEN 37-13-3-5, 82PTS 1st in Mainland division, 1st in BCHL. Defeated Surrey 4-2 in first round.
HEAD TO HEAD RECORDS – Each team was 4-3-0-1
Sep. 20 @ LA 6-2 Express
Sep. 21 @ CQ 5-4OT Rivermen
Oct. 11 @ CQ 3-1 Rivermen
Oct. 24 @ LA 12-2 Rivermen
Nov. 15 CQ 6-3 Express
Dec. 28 @ LA 6-5OT Express
Dec. 29 @ CQ 3-2 Express
Feb. 18 @ LA 4-1 Rivermen
Gm. 1 Mar. 4 @ PG – 3-2 L
Gm. 2 Mar. 5 @ PG – 3-2 W
Gm. 3 Mar. 7 @ CQ – 2-0 W
Gm. 4 Mar 8 @ CQ – 6-3 W
Gm. 5 Mar. 10 @ PG – 3-2 2OTL
Gm. 6 Mar. 11 @ CQ – 2-1 W
Gm. 1 Mar. 4 @ LA – 4-2 W
Gm. 2 Mar. 5 @ LA – 4-3 L
Gm. 3 Mar. 7 @ SRY – 6-3 W
Gm. 4 Mar. 8 @ SRY – 7-5 L
Gm. 5. Mar. 10 @ LA – 3-0 W
Gm. 6 Mar. 11 @ SRY – 6-1 W
Express Regular season 226 GF (1st), 226 GA, (13th)
Playoffs 17 GF 2.83 AVG., 12 GA 2.00 AVG.
Rivermen Regular season 200 (6th), 155 GA (2nd)
Playoffs 27 GF 4.5 AVG., 17 GA 2.83 AVG.
CQ PP Reg. season19.22% (6th), PK 81.97% (7th)
Playoffs PP 1/23 4.3%, PK 28/30 93.33%
LA PP Reg. Season 17.25% (14th), PK 83.63% (4th)
Playoffs PP 7/24 29.17%, PK 27/34 79.41%CQ PP 19.22% (6t
Rosenthal 4G, 2A, 6PTS
B. Pieper 3G, 1A, 4PTS
Santucci 2G, 2A, 4PTS
Mackin 1G, 3A, 4PTS
6 players tied with 3PTS
Ustaski 6G, 3A, 9PTS
Azurdia 3G, 4A, 7PTS
Reichert, Dobrombsky, Robinson tied w/ 6PTS
Vela, McLain tied w/ 5 Pts
Killistoff, Urban 4PTS
Gordie Defiel 4-2, 2.00 GAA, .944 Save %
Brock Crossthwaite 4-2, 2.59 GAA, .918 Save %
Lyndon Standwood 1GP, 5.26 GAA, .857 Save %
Adam Rockwood – 1G, 10A, 11PTS
Ryan Rosenthal – 5G, 4A, 9PTS
Canon Pieper – 5G, 3A, 8PTS
Marc Biega – 6G, 1A, 7PTS
Bo Pieper – 4G, 3A, 7PTS
Mitch McLain – 5G, 7A, 12PTS
Tony Bretzman – 4G, 6A, 10PTS
Austin Azurdia – 3G, 5A, 8PTS
J. Reichert & A. Azurida – 2G, 5A, 7PTS
Matt Ustaski – 3G, 3A, 6PTS
Gordie Defiel – 3-3, 3.99 GAA, .877 Sv. %
Pierce Dushenko – 1-1, 5.26 GAA, .825 Sv. %
Brock Crossthwaite – 0-3, 3.38 GAA, .866 Sv.%
Lyndon Stanwood (Split between Chiefs & Rivermen) – 2-2, 4.71 GAA, .844 Sv. %


The Coquitlam Express and Langley Rivermen will meet in the Mainland division final starting Friday at George Preston Recreation Centre in Langley after both teams advanced winning their first round series in six games.

The series will begin at the old stomping grounds of the Langley Hornets due to the BC High School Basketball championships taking over the the Langley Events Centre. If a game 7 of Langley's first round series with Surrey was to be played, it was slated for the George.

The Express dispatched the scrappy Prince George Spruce Kings with a 2-1 win in Coquitlam Wednesday. The Rivermen did the same with a 6-1 win over the pesky Surrey Eagles at the South Surrey Arena.

For the Express this series has the makings to be just as close as their first round match up with Prince George.

The biggest difference from the first round to the second round for the Express will see them go up against a bigger and more physical opponent.

Prince George presented a challenge of shutting down their smaller more skilled forwards like Chad Staley, Jeremiah Luedtke and Justin Rai.

It will be a different story in this series that will see the Express try and shut down bigger and more physical first line of Jacob Reichert, Matt Ustaski and Mitch McLain. For the Express they will catch a break in game 1 as McLain the Rivermen captain will serve the second game of a two game suspension following his five minute major goaltender interference penalty assessed in game 5 of their series with Surrey.

During the regular season these teams quickly developed a dislike for one another. The Rivermen built their team in the off-season with a distinct influence on size. When the Express and Rivermen met early in the regular season Langley tried to use their size to establish a physical presence. It didn't take long for the Express to meet the challenge and respond.

That set the tone for the entire season series between the two teams. And it made for some entertaing and emotional games to watch between the two teams. I don't expect things to be any different in this series. It will probably only be ramped up a level with a berth in the third round of the BCHL playoffs on the line.

These teams equally split 8 head to head meetings with each other with both clubs posting identical 4-3-0-1 records for 9 points.

The Express did win 3 of the last 4 regular season meetings between the two teams. Highlighted by back to back wins for the Express 6-5 in Langley and a 3-2 win at home in a back to back upon the resumption of play following the Christmas break. Langley took the final regular season meeting vs. the Express 4-1 at the Langley Events Centre February 18th.

Both teams used a very balanced attack in their six game first round victories. The Express had 10 different goal scorers. Langley bettered that with 13 different players scoring goals. Langley did score 10 more goals than the Express in their first round series. They were led by Matt Ustaski who scored 6 goals and 9 points.

The Express led the BCHL during the regular season with 226 goals scored. They didn't match that pace in the first round vs. Prince George. But during the course of the regular season they found ways to win tight one goal games vs. some of the top clubs in the BCHL. And that experience certainly paid off in their first round series vs. the Spruce Kings. And their ability to minimize the damage inflicted by Prince George's top players was a big reason why the Express were successful. They have a slightly more challenging team to try and lock down in this series.

The Rivermen finished the regular season with the best record in the BCHL with 37 wins and 82 points in 58 games. That mark was helped by Langley posting a BCHL high 10 overtime wins this season. If you go by regulation wins, the Rivermen only posted 3 more victories than the Express with 27 compared to 24 for the Express.

And that success for both clubs in one goal games helps set up what should be a very close series.

Both teams had solid goaltending in the first round. Express net minder Gordie Defiel was probably the series MVP vs. Prince George turning aside 201 of the 213 shots sent his way for a .944 save percentage and a 1.90 goals against average.

Brock Crossthwaite had a 2.59 GAA and .918 save percentage in their win over the Surrey Eagles.

Like their series with Prince George, this series has the makings to be another battle that will feature fairly even clubs and we will likely see a lot of one goal games. The physical aspect will likely ramp it up another level. In the end this one has the makings to go 6 or maybe even 7 games.

Let's get in started.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Express salute fans following game 6 win over Prince George.

The Coquitlam Express eliminated the Prince George Spruce Kings in game 6 of their Mainland division semi final with a 2-1 win.

It's the first series win for the Express franchise since the Kyle Turris years in 2006 and 2007 when the franchise was located in Burnaby. It's also the first time the Express franchise based in Coquitlam has won a playoff series.

Both teams hit the ice 24 hours after playing game 5 the night before 9 hour drive up north in game 5 following a 3-2 Prince George OT win.

Midway through the first period Prince George opened the scoring midway through the first period when Justin Rai took a drop pass from Cole Todd and snapped home his fourth goal of the playoffs.

Captain Ryan Rosenthal pulled the Express even just over 4 minutes later when he took a pass from Corey Mackin from behind the net and snapped home his fourth goal of the series to tie the game at one.

The second period saw Prince George open the period with a power play with Cody Boyd in the box. The man advantage was extended with 1 second left in the penalty when Joey Santucci was called for roughing.

The Express killed off both penalties after being a man down for nearly 4 minutes.

On the other side of the special teams coin the Express power play was starting to feel a little heat for not having scored entering game 6. It finally broke through midway through the second period when Bo Pieper banged home the rebound of a Cam Marks shot off the end boards midway through the second period for a 2-1 Express lead.

As the second period ticked down, the Express top line of Adam Rockwood, Corey Mackin and Ryan Rosenthal began to really dominate every time they were on the ice. Many of their shifts were spent in the Prince George zone trying to extend the Express lead.

The third period began with the Spruce Kings needing to raise their game with hopes of extending their season in an attempt to force a game 7.

And they sure did have a push. Prince George had chances for Skylar Pacheco and Jeremiah Luedtke ring off the post. Justin Rai was denied at the side the net. Gordie Defiel made a solid save on a deflection from the slot. The Express net minder saved his best save for a glove save off Mitch Eden.

The Express also killed off two more Prince George power plays in the third period and they finished a perfect 6 for 6 while a man down.

In a series that saw the teams combine for just 3 power play goals, 2 for Prince George and 1 for the Express, the Express went 1 for 23 on the power play while killing off 28 of 30 shorthanded situations in the series.

There was very little that separated these two teams through the 6 games. 4 of the 6 games were decided by just a single goal.

In the end I believe the Express depth which saw 10 different players score goals to just 5 for Prince George, and just some slightly better goaltending by Gordie Defiel than Alex Murray propelled this series win.

Round two of the playoffs will begin Friday night when the Express will line up against the BCHL regular season champion Langley Rivermen in the Mainland division final.

This series has the makings to be another hard fought and tight series similar to what the Express faced in round one. The biggest difference from round 1 to round 2 might be a more physical test against a bigger and more physical Langley team. It certainly has the makings to be another good one.

I'm sure I speak for all of you when I say I can't wait.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


The BCHL's most dangerous team shorthanded team in the regular season have now translated that success in the playoffs in a 6-3 win over the Prince George Spruce Kings in game 4 of the Mainland division semi final.

The Express scored 3 shorthanded goals with captain Ryan Rosenthal scoring a pair of them all part of a 3 goal night for the 20 year old forward.

This was the highest scoring game of the series so far.

The Express captain entered game 4 still seeking his first point of the series. But there was a sense that it was only a matter of time before Rosenthal took his team on his back and led them to victory.

He got his big night started when Cody Boyd fed the Express captain going to the net and he had the puck bounce off him and past Alex Murray for his first shorthanded marker of the night.

Justin Rai evened up the proceedings 3 minutes later when he got in behind the Express defense and scored on a breakaway with a shot over the shoulder of Gordie Defiel.

One area that has separated the Express from Prince George in the last three games has been their depth.

Zach Hodder became the Express 7th skater to score a goal in this series when he pinched in and took a cross crease pass from Corey Mackin and smacked it home to re-store the Express lead.

Gordie Defiel who turned aside 25 Prince George shots for his third straight victory made a key stop off Justin Rai late in the frame to keep the Express in the lead.

Ryan Rosenthal was really proving to be a load that the Spruce Kings just couldn't handle on this night. His speed and power down the wing made him nearly unstoppable. He was his most dangerous with the Express shorthanded.

He scored his second shorthanded goal of the night 4 minutes into the second period for a 3-1 Express lead.

From that point Rosenthal's confidence was at a real high. He continued to follow up with more chances to try and complete his hat-trick with his team a man down.

Jeremiah Luedtke scored the first power play goal for either team in the series on the same power play that saw Rosenthal scored his second of the night to cut the Express lead to 3-2.

Knowing they were in the position of being put on the brink of elimination the Spruce Kings battled hard to try and get back in the game.

This game was decided tonight in the final 30 seconds of the second period when the Spruce Kings appeared to be in position to have the game hanging in the balance entering the third period.

The Express had a chance up the ice and Alex Murray came up with a key stop and the Spruce Kings went the other way. Jeremiah Leudtke was stopped at the other end on a breakaway by Defiel. Leudtke didn't give up on the play and set up Justin Rai for his second of the night with just 21 seconds remaining in the second period and it appeared the game was all square going to the third period.

But the Express had other plans. In the dying seconds of the period Joey Santucci threw it at the net and Jace Hennig scored his first of the series with just 1 second left in the period to give the Express a 4-3 lead heading to the third.

That goal plus the two shorthanded goals had to be real difficult for the Spruce Kings to stomach and something for the Express to build on.

The Express punctuated their shorthanded scoring prowess midway through the third when Alex Murray coughed the puck up to Joey Santucci who snapped it past the out of position goaltender for a 5-3 Express lead and their third shorthanded goal in the game.

Rosenthal then completed the 10th playoff hat-trick in franchise history with an empty net goal to seal the 6-3 win and a 3-1 series lead for the Express heading to Prince George for game 5 looking to advance to the Mainland division final.

Now with the Express in the position they're in, they can try and wrap this series up Monday and try and get some much needed rest and try and limit the amount of travel that may lie ahead for the remainder of the series. Plus the physical toll any series can take on a team.

It won't be an easy task. This series has been very close so far. And it might have been a different story tonight had the Express not scored that late goal with one second remaining in the second period.  The Express will need to have their best game of the series to date to try and get that 4th win of the series which is always the toughest to secure.

Friday, March 7, 2014


Gordie Defiel made 24 saves to post his first shutout of the season as the Express took game 3 of their best of 7 Mainland division semi final with a 2-0 win over Prince George.

This series had lived up to it's billing of being a tight series for the first two games up in Prince George. The script remained the same in game 3.

Prince George started well opening up an early 8-2 advantage in shots.

Then the Express started to turn the game in their favor with some power plays.

Prince George was assessed 4 minor penalties in the first period and that included two late in the frame giving the Express a 5 on 3 for 1:42. Nothing was decided in the opening frame and it was scoreless after one with the shots 13-11 in favor of Prince George.

The Express couldn't take advantage of the 5 on 3 power play time they had to open the second period.

Cody Boyd broke the dead lock just over 3 minutes into the second period as he led a rush out of his own zone and carried it all the way down the ice to the Spruce Kings end and let a backhand go that snuck through the legs of Alex Murray to open the scoring.

After a run of Express penalties in the first period, the pendulum began to swing back in favor of Prince George in the second period. On this night they ran into a Express penalty killing unit that had a strong run of success to end the regular season and it's carried over in the playoffs.

One of the better chances to extend the Express lead again came off the stick of Cody Boyd who couldn't finish off a breakaway.

The Express protected their lead well into the final minutes of the third period. They got their insurance with 2:23 to go when they quickly advanced the puck up the ice and Bo Pieper skated on to it and scored on a backhand for his first of the series.

The game appeared to be winding down to it's conclusion before tempers started to flare in the final minute.

Things really got heated when following an initial scrum in the Express zone resulted in an Express power play. Then as the teams lined up for the face-off Bo Pieper was sent to the ice and AP Roshen Jaswal was assessed a 5 minute major penalty for slashing and things all went awry again. Things started to get a little out of control off the ice when a fan was trying to spill beer in the Prince Geoge penalty box.

After a lengthy delay things finally settled down and the Express skated off with a 2-0 win and the lead in the series.

It was a solid team effort throughout. The Express defense played well in front of their goaltender who has now turned aside 63 of 65 shots in the last two games both Express victories.

This series still awaits it's first power play goal from either team. The Express went 0 or 6 on the power play while killing off all 5 Spruce Kings power plays. Corey Mackin led the charge for the Express while they were a man down and was very difficult for the Spruce Kings power play to handle.

This is definitely a series now with some emotion kicked into it. And these teams who have been as evenly matched through the first three games will go at it again Saturday night in game 4. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014


The BCHL announced it's first and second all star teams. Plus it's all rookie team.

Express defenceman Marc Biega was named to the first all star team while Adam Rockwood was named to the second all star team. 

See the full press release from the BCHL below.

The British Columbia Hockey League is pleased to announce its all-stars for the 2013-14 season. The winners were chosen from a survey of BCHL coaches and broadcasters.

The BCHL all-star game was done away with after the 2009-10 campaign; the league is recognizing its all-stars this season with all-BCHL first team, second team and all-rookie squads.

This year, all three divisions are represented by all-stars with players coming from 11 of the league’s 16 teams.

BCHL First-Team All-Stars

F – Landon Smith, Salmon Arm SilverBacks     
F – Brad McClure, Penticton Vees   
F – Myles Fitzgerald, Victoria Grizzlies
D – Brett Beauvais, Penticton Vees
D – Marc Biega, Coquitlam Express
G – Jayson Argue, Nanaimo Clippers

BCHL Second-Team All-Stars

F – Gerry Fitzgerald, Victoria Grizzlies               
F – David Pope, West Kelowna Warriors
F – Adam Rockwood, Coquitlam Express
D – Christian Weidauer, Prince George Spruce Kings
D – Carter Cochrane, Chilliwack Chiefs
G – Hunter Miska, Penticton Vees

BCHL All-Rookie Team
F – Danton Heinen, Surrey Eagles                      
F – Jarid Lukosevicius, Powell River Kings
F – Liam Blackburn, West Kelowna Warriors
D – Carter Cochrane, Chilliwack Chiefs
D – Alexandre Coulombe, Penticton Vees
G – Devin Kero, Merritt Centennials

The BCHL congratulates its all-stars on a successful season.

Monday, March 3, 2014


Before the Express took on the Chilliwack Chiefs in their season finale Saturday I spoke with Captain Ryan Rosenthal, Defenceman Marc Biega and goaltender Gordie Defiel to get their thoughts on the upcoming series with Prince George.

Marc Biega also discusses his recent commitment to Merrimack University for next season.


Express 27-26-2-3, 59 points, 3rd Mainland division.
Spruce Kings, 32-20-4-2, 70 points, 2nd in Mainland division.
Express, 1-6-1-1, 4 points
Spruce Kings 7-1-1-0, 15 points
Express, 4-6-0-0
Spruce Kings, 4-5-1-0
Express 226 GF (1st), 226 GA (13th)
Spruce Kings 192 GF (9th), 158th (4th)
CQ PP 19.22% (6th), PG PK 81.97% (7th)
PG PP 18.18% (11th), CQ PK 82.64% (5th)
Express 3-3-2
Spruce Kings 6-2-4
Sep. 27 @ CQ 3-2 Spruce Kings
Sep. 29 @ CQ 4-3OT Spruce Kings
Dec. 4 @ CQ 6-0 Spruce Kings
Dec. 6 @ CQ 6-3 Express
Jan. 25 @ PG 3-3
Jan. 26 @ PG 5-1 Spruce Kings
Jan. 31 @ PG 7-4 Spruce Kings
Feb. 1 @ PG 3-2 Spruce Kings
Feb. 21 @ CQ 3-2 Spruce Kings
Adam Rockwood – 13G, 61A, 74PTS
Canon Pieper – 33G, 33A, 66PTS
Ryan Rosenthal – 34G, 30A, 64PTS
Bo Pieper – 27G, 32A, 59PTS
Corey Mackin – 24G, 26A, 50PTS
Chad Staley – 29G, 33A, 62PTS
Jeremiah Luedtke – 13G, 42A, 55PTS
Christian Weidauer – 13G, 35A, 48PTS
Justin Rai – 21G, 25A, 46PTS
Brent Lashuk – 22G, 21A, 43PTS
Gordie Defiel – 20-21-1, 3.69 GAA, .887 sv.%
Pierce Dusheko – 7-8-1, 3.88 GAA, .883 sv. %
Alex Murray – 23-11-3, 2.44 GAA, .917 sv.%
Jesse Jenks – 9-11-1, 2.97 GAA, .908 sv.%
Adam Rockwood – 2G, 8A, 10PTS
Canon and Bo Pieper – 4G, 3A, 7PTS
Ryan Rosenthal – 3G, 4A, 7PTS
Corey Mackin – 1G, 5A, 6PTS
Jace Hennig – 1G, 5A, 6PTS
Jeremiah Luedtke – 1G, 9A, 10PTS
Justin Rai – 5G, 5A, 10PTS
Chad Staley – 5G, 4A, 9PTS
Christian Weidauer – 3G, 6A, 9PTS
Brent Lashuk – 4G, 3A, 7PTS
CQ PP – 5/46 – 10.86%
PG PK – 41/46 – 89.14 %
PG PP – 9/40 – 22.5%
CQ PK – 31/40 – 77.5%
Gordie Defiel – 1-5-0, 3.75 GAA, .877 sv.%
Pierce Dushenko – 0-2-1 – 3.92 GAA, .872 sv. %
Alex Murray – 5-1-1, 2.54 GAA, .923 sv. % 1 SO
Jesse Jenks – 1-0, 2.00 GAA, .933 sv. %


Tuesday the Express begin their chase for the Fred Page cup in Prince George for game one of their best of 7 series with the Spruce Kings.

It is the first time the two clubs will face each other in the playoffs.

This series features two teams that are quite the contrast to one another. On one hand you have an Express team that needed all 10 goals in their season finale vs. Chilliwack to finish as the highest scoring team in the BCHL this season with 226 goals. They also saw that many go in their net this season which is the 4th most of any team in the BCHL. Only the Surrey Eagles gave up more goals than the Express among the 12 playoff teams.

The Express offensive attack was spread around pretty well this season for the Express especially among their first two lines. The Express had 5 players with 20 or more goals this season. And defenceman Marc Biega wasn't too far behind setting a new franchise record for blue liners with 17.

5 players also had 50 plus points this season led by Adam Rockwood who finished 5th in BCHL scoring with 74 points and was the top play maker 61 assists in 57 games.

The Express top line of Adam Rockwood, Corey Mackin and Captain Ryan Rosenthal will get plenty of attention combining for 79 goals and 188 points. This Express team has proven that they're more than just a one line team.

The Pieper brothers Bo and Canon also had a very solid first season in the BCHL. They may have been the most consistent point producing forwards for the Express this season. Canon only once this season went more than two games without a point and they came back in late October. Bo and Canon had a rotation of wingers on their line throughout the course of the season. Most of the year Joey Santucci played on the right side with them.

Canon finished 2nd on the team in goals (33) and points (66) this season finishing one goal behind captain Ryan Rosenthal for the team lead. He also had 6 shorthanded goals to lead the BCHL one ahead of teammate Ryan Rosenthal.

As the season went along, the Express third line had become a very valuable unit. It was bolstered with the addition of Brendan Lamont from the Penticton Vees in early January. Jace Hennig spent some time on that unit. And also moved up to the top 6 a few times later in the year. Hennig is coming off his most productive BCHL season in his third year. Cody Boyd provided plenty of grit for the Express all season long forcing opponents to play with their head up when he is on the ice.

The Express for the most part rotated 4 forwards on their 4th line. First year players Jackson Cressey, Nic Rasovic, Daniel Lange and Josh Smith all quickly earned the trust of Express Head Coach Barry Wolff. They provided solid workman like energy for the Express whenever they hit the ice despite being first year players. And they were able to chip in offensively from time to time.

From the blue line on back the Express took their lumps from time to time this season. And their 226 goals against reflects that.

The top pair of Zach Hodder and Marc Biega became a very dynamic duo when they were put together once Hodder returned for a second stint with the Express early in the year from the WHL. It gave the Express a defense pair that can both skate, see the ice, move the puck well and have no fear when it comes to joining the offensive attack. They combined for 25 goals and 74 points between the two of them.

In addition to the acquisition of Lamont, the Express needed to address some needs on the blue line at the January 10th trade deadline. They did exactly that by picking up a couple of 20 year old stay at home defencemen. BCHL veteran Mark Whitely was acquired from Salmon Arm. And JD Cotroneo a veteran of the NAHL and USHL came to the Express from NCAA Div. III University of St. Thomas. They gave the Express a much needed stabilization on the blue line.

In the first four months of the season the Express were very grateful to be as explosive offensively as they were. They at times needed all they goals they got with as many that were going in at the other end. Veteran Gordie Defiel and rookie Pierce Dushenko had their ups and downs this season. But their play did start to turn in the right direction post January 10th. How much of it was improvement in their games individually? and how much of it was the improvements made on the blue line? It was probably a combination of the two.

Entering this series with Prince George it is encouraging to see that there was improvement over the course of the final two months of the season in the most important position. The Express improved game defensively will be put to a good test in a series that will likely see some low scoring and one goal games.

Travel will most certainly play a role in this series with a 10 hour bus ride required between Coquitlam and Prince George. Having home ice advantage certainly does benefit the Spruce Kings early in the series with the Express needing to make the initial trek up north Monday. It will also come into play later in the series once games 5, 6 and 7 roll around if necessary all being played on three consecutive nights with games 5 and 7 in Prince George.

The Spruce Kings with their second place finish in the Mainland division didn't score as often as they Express this season with their 9th ranked offense with 192 goals supported by the 4th best defensive mark with 158 goals allowed.

Head to head the Express had a record of 1-6-1-1 vs. Prince George this season the lone victory being a 6-3 decision in Coquitlam on December 6th. This series has the potential to be closer than what the head to head record between the two clubs may tell you. They did meet 5 times this season following the January 10th trade deadline with 4 of those games coming in Prince George. The Express went 0-4-1 in those 5 games, but mitigating factors of travel and suspensions also played a role in the outcome of those 5 games.

In 2012 the Express were 6-1-1 vs. Powell River only to be eliminated in 6 games. So don't always let the head to head records tell you how a series may play out.

What gives me the feeling that this series will be closer than what the head to head records may tell you is just how close those final 5 regular season meetings were. The first game was a 3-3 tie. The third was a 7-4 win for Prince George but it was a one goal game with 10 minutes left in the third period before Prince George exploded for 3 goals in 2 minutes. And the final two games were tight 3-2 games.

Down the stretch neither team was heading into the playoffs on a roll. They had similar marks in their final 10 games. The Express were 4-6 while Prince George was 4-5-1. The Express split their final two games of the season with Chilliwack losing the opener 6-5 then lighting it up in the finale winning 10-5. The Express scored 15 goals while allowing 10.

Who ever prevails in this series will likely be sick of all the time spent on the bus when it's all said and done because both teams may see a lot of the cozy confines of the iron lung in the next 10 days. There may be multiple trips between the south coast and the northern provincial capital for a series that may need 6 or 7 games to decide it. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014


The offensive juggernaut known as the Coquitlam Express put an exclamation point on the 2013-14 season with a 10-5 win over the Chilliwack Chiefs.

The 10 goals was a new season high for goals in a season surpassing the previous high of 9 which was accomplished 3 previous times this season.

Chilliwack opened the scoring right as a penalty to John Saunders expired on a re-direction by Ben Butcher.

After that point going forward the Express completely took over the second half of the first period.

Bo Pieper and Zach Hodder scored back to back power play goals less than 3 minutes apart.

Now with blood in the water the Express were circling like hungry sharks.

Jackson Cressy, Ryan Rosenthal and Bo Pieper's second of the period made it a 5-1 Express lead after 20 minutes. The Express peppered Josh Halpenny with 25 shots in the first period. The majority of those shots coming in the final 10 minutes.

The goal thirsty Express kept the attack going into the second period. But beating Spencer Tremblay who came out to start the second period was proving to be a difficult task. They had the ice clearly tipped in their favor at times as they rolled their lines and set the tempo.

The Chiefs who were finishing off a difficult season suddenly made things interesting when Blake Gober and Mathieu Tibbet scored 1:12 apart to cut the Express lead to 5-3.

But any momentum that Chilliwack had gained by the quick goals was quickly snuffed out when Marc Biega scored 1 minute after Tibbet's goal for a 6-3 Express lead.

The goal for the recent Merrimack commit set a new Express franchise record for most goals in a season by a defenceman. Breaking the mark set by Brad Hunt during the 2007-08 season. And keep in mind Hunt set his mark during a 60 game season. Biega only had 58 games to work with this season.

Kyle Westerlingh scored in the final minute of the second period to again pull Chilliwack back within two entreating the third period.

The third period saw Josh Halpenny return to the game after Tremblay was clearing laboring in the final few minutes of the second period. Halpenny's tough night quickly resumed when Ryan Rosenthal scored his second of the night just 13 seconds into the third period.

That was the start of another multi goal period for the Express with additional tallies from Canon Pieper, Daniel Lange and John Saunders on the power play to put the Express into double digits.

Jordan Kawaguchi rounded out the scoring in the contest.

In addition to the season high 10 goals, the Express also set a new season high for shots on goal in a game with 54 surpassing the previous mark of 52 set in an earlier game this season vs. Chilliwack.

The offense was sure spread around for the Express tonight with 17 of 19 players who hit the ice getting on the score sheet and that includes goaltender Gordie Defiel who picked up his third assist of the season on John Saunders' third period power play goal.

Adam Rockwood led the way matching a season high with 4 assists accomplishing the feat for a third time this season. Ryan Rosenthal and Bo Pieper each scored a pair of goals.

The Express entered the game trailing the West Kelowna Warriors by one for the BCHL lead in goals with 217. They needed all 10 goals to finish as the highest scoring team in the BCHL with 226 as West Kelowna put 8 on the board vs. Trail to finish with 225. It's the first time in the 13 year history of the Express they led the league in goals for.

These numbers are all fantastic to look at. And it gives plenty of discussion points. But all that matters now is wins when the Express begin their first round playoff series Tuesday night in Prince George for game 1 of the best of 7.