Thursday, January 7, 2016


Tyger Howat made 41 saves - Photo courtesy of Damon James.
The Express got a measure of revenge over the Merritt Centennials with a 5-3 win in Coquitlam Wednesday. Last week it was Merritt knocking off the Express 5-4 in Merritt. Click here for boxscore.

Tyger Howat made 41 saves to earn the win in the Express crease. He was supported by a balanced attack with goals from their 3 separate forward lines and a defenseman.

Jackson Cressey slides home a 1st period goal - Photo courtesy of Damon James.
Jackson Cressey started the scoring for the Express. He buried the rebound of a Colton Kerfoot shot that was stopped by Cole Kehler. Austin McIlMurray started the play by stealing the puck at the Merritt blueline.

Like last week in Merritt, the story for the Express in the first period was the last line of defense. Tyger Howatt faced a barrage of 22 Merritt shots in the first period. The only puck to get past him came late in the first period on a 5 on 3 power play goal by Brett Jewell. That was the only downside on what was an otherwise rock solid first period for Howat. The Express don't come out of the 1st period tied without Howat's play.

Early in the 2nd period the Express jumped on the Cents. Cam Bertsch lead the rush into the Merritt zone and dropped it for Jack Surowiec who snapped a shot off the post and in to give the Express the 2-1 lead.

Keegan Jones had one assist - Photo courtesy of Damon James.
That was followed less than a minute later by Owen Stout who scored on a loose puck in the crease following a Keegan Jones wrap around after he dug the puck out of a scrum behind the Merritt net.

In each of the two games between the Express and Merritt this season, the Centennials had forward cheating behind the Express defense in the centre ice area with the puck in the Cents zone and the defense trying to hit them with a pass. Wednesday the Cents finally made one count by flipping the puck up to Gavin Gould who scored on a breakaway to cut the deficit to 3-2. The goal coming just 35 seconds after the Stout goal.

Tyger Howat didn't have to be overly spectacular despite being busy turning aside 41 shots. His most important save came seconds after the 3-2 goal to deny Colin Grannary who was looking to pull Merritt even.

Austin McIlMurray re-stored the Express lead before the 2nd period ended. He took a pass out from behind the net and beat Kehler with a shot upstairs seconds after an Express power play ended.

Charlie Barrow capped off the balanced offensive attack for the Express keeping the puck on an odd man rush and snapping his 7th of the season for a 5-3 Express lead.

Merritt rounded out the scoring late in the 3rd period on a penalty shot goal by Nick Jermain who beat Howat with a nifty deke to the backhand. It was the first penalty shot for or against the Express this season.

This was a solid team effort for the Express. Noah Turanski was named the third star and it was some nice recognition for the Express second year player. He played on defense tonight. He was physical and using his size very effectively. And he kept his game simple when he had the puck on his stick.

Up next the Express will play host to the Trail Smoke Eaters on Canuck alumni night Friday.

If you missed it earlier today, Express forward Blake Hayward was named to Team West to take part in the CJHL Top Prospects game in Surrey on January 26th. Click here to view the Team West Roster

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