Friday, November 27, 2015


Photo courtesy of Damon James.

Jackson Cressey scored his first BCHL hat-trick and the Express scored four unanswered goals in the third period to rally for a 6-3 win over the Prince George Spruce Kings. Click here for boxscore

Fresh off being invited to the selection camp for Team Canada West for the World Junior A challenge, the Express captain rewarded his Head Coach and Team Canada West assistant coach Barry Wolff with a solid effort.

Cressey opened the scoring for the Express in the first period by getting a half step behind the Spruce Kings defense and sliding a backhand past Liam McCloskey.

Blake Hayward - Photo courtesy of Damon James
Three minutes later the Express struck again. Noah Turanski who has spent the last two weeks on defense due to the injury to Nic Coltura scored his first of the season by letting a wrist shot fly from the left point. The other Express Team Canada West selection camp invitee Blake Hayward didn't register a point on the goal, but he was instrumental on it creating havoc for McCloskey to battle through in front of the net.

Turanski has shown steady improvement in recent weeks on the blueline. He's looking more and more comfortable in that position.

Prince George playing their third game in three nights and coming out on the wrong end of the first two games of the trip didn't allow the early deficit deter them. They slowly began to find their game in the second half of the first period.

They started to get rewarded for their play in the second period on the power play. Adam Brubacher beat Lawson Fenton with a shot up over the shoulder to get Prince George on the board.

The pace of play in the second period was so muddy it would make a pig happy. And that suited the Spruce Kings just fine.

That led to some mistakes by the Express, and one proved costly. They turned the puck over at their own blue line and Bryan Basilico in behind the Express D beat Fenton with a deke to the backhand to tie the game at two.

Jonathan Irving - Photo courtesy of Damon James
The end of the second period couldn't come fast enough for the Express to re-group for the third.

The message in the room didn't quite register with the Express to open the final period. Alex Stoley gave the Spruce Kings their lone lead of the night after a won face-off in the Express end and Stoley took the puck deep then cut in front and beat Fenton with a shot up over his glove.

That goal proved to be the wakeup call the Express needed.

Less than a minute later the game turned in the Express favour in spectacular fashion. Eric Udahl took a pass at centre ice with speed, he then cut to the middle of the ice with a toe drag and flipped a shot over McCloskey while falling to the ice to tie the game at three.

For Udahl that goal snaps a lengthy slump. It was his first goal since October 1st in Victoria and span of 16 games. It was also his first point in 15 games. But he's shown signs recently of breaking through. He was using he speed effectively tonight to help create chances.

The fans hadn't even had a chance to pick their jaws off the floor of the Udahl goal when the Express struck again. Jackson Cressey from the left boards snapped a shot for his second of the night just 19 seconds after Udahl's goal.

The third period saw three goals in a span of 1:07 with the Express getting the latter two.

Liam McCloskey battles Express traffic - Photo courtesy of Damon James
The two quick goals settled the Express down.

Cam Bertsch gave the Express their second two goal lead of the night midway through the period. The goal began deep in the defensive zone and Bertsch picking up speed and rushing all the way to the Prince George net where his first shot was denied but he buried his own rebound.

Captain Cressey then sealed the win by hitting an empty net complete his first BCHL hat-trick for a shorthanded goal in the dying moments. It was also the first shorthanded goal for the Express this season. The shorthanded goal was a long time coming for a team

that led the BCHL in shorthanded goals in each of the last two seasons with 33 in that time.

Lawson Fenton quietly had another solid night in the Express crease with 36 saves for his second straight win and 5th overall this season.

It wasn't the prettiest game for the Express. But when it mattered most they corrected their game and found a way to get the two points. They will need to build on it when they travel to Chilliwack Saturday night. 

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