Sunday, March 8, 2015


All you need to know about game 4.

Chilliwack's 5 goal second period was more than enough to bury the Express as the Chiefs opened up a 3-1 series lead with a 7-2 win in game 4 of the Mainland division semi final. Click here for box sore

It was the most emotional game of the series with the Express coming out on the wrong side of the power play situation more often than not and the Chiefs made the Express pay. The Chiefs finished with 4 power play goals on the night.

If there's been one constant in this series has been the Express finding themselves in a first period hole. Chilliwack struck first for the 4th time in 4 games in this series when Jordan Kawaguchi opened the scoring for the second time in the series 6 minutes into game 4.

It was shortly after that goal the Express began to get into penalty trouble.

Working on a two man advantage Craig Puffer picked up his first goal as part of a two goal and three assist night by blasting home a one timer from the right circle past Chris Tai.

The shots were at one point 9-8 for the Express in the first period. But by the end of the period they were 19-10 Chiefs thanks to 10 shots on three first period power plays.

The fortunes for the Express didn't change much in the second. In fact they would only begin to compound one another.

Brendan Gulka was given a double minor for roughing and a misconduct for working over Mark Esposito on the corner in the Chilliwack end in the opening minute of the second period. That penalty first of all put a wrench in the Express third line losing Gulka for the game and the Express having lost Owen Stout and not returning in the first period.

Tipper Higgins converted on the power play for a 3-0 Chiefs lead less than 30 seconds into the power play.

Craig Puffer added his second goal on a 5 on 3 power play for the Chiefs with Brett Supinski and Daniell Lange in the box for a 4-0 Chiefs lead.

With the game slipping away the Express needed something to try and turn the game back their way somewhat.

They got some life when Jackson Cressey scored his second power play goal of the series tipping a Corey Mackin shot to get the Express on the board at 4-1. That was quickly followed by Brett Supinski's 3rd of the series 2:04 later to cut the deficit to 4-2 with plenty of hockey left.

But in the blink of an eye the deficit was right back to 4 on a Bennett Morrison goal with a wrist shot from the right point that got past Chris Tai following a won face-off in the Express zone. 15 seconds later the Express were fishing the puck out of the net again as Chris Tai couldn't clear the rebound off the end boards away from the front of the net and Kurt Black buried it for a 6-2 Chiefs lead.

At this point the Express let their frustrations get the best of them.

Tipper Higgins scored his 5th goal in the last two games for the Chiefs 4th power play goal of the game and 3rd of the second period with Joey Santucci in the box serving a double minor for spearing.

Then following the face-off at centre ice, things boiled over and everyone on the ice except both goaltenders was engaged in pushing and shoving. The score in the game and the impending score in the series certainly helped fuel all this frustration shown on the part of the Express. It's better to get this out of the system now in game 4. And hopefully don't let any of it linger and carry over into game 5 Monday when the Express will be playing for their playoff lives.

Chris Tai was relieved following the second period after he was barraged for 7 goals and 37 shots. Braden Krogfoss mopped up in the third making 6 saves.

After facing just 23 shots in a game 1 loss, Tai has since seen 41, 42 and 37 shots in the next three games. In 17 games last season regular season and playoffs with Lloydminster he faced just 35 or more shots once. This season with the Express regular season and playoffs he's seen 35+ shots 26 times and 3 other times he's faced 34 shots.

Now the Express face the task of knowing they will need to find a way to pick up their first win in Chilliwack on Monday for game 5. They're 0-8 in that building this season both vs. the Chiefs and at the showcase at the start of the season. The Express will need at least two wins in that building if they're to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

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