Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Colton Kerfoot - Photo courtesy of Damon James
They tried for their third straight third period come from behind victory, but it wasn't enough Wednesday as the Express fell 4-2 to the Wenatchee Wild. Click here for boxscore

In each of the last two games for the Express they were able to dig themselves out of a third period hole to come away with the win at the end of the night.

Jake Brien & Blake Christensen - Photo courtesy of Damon James
Wenatchee played fast all night and the Express had to do their best just to keep up.

It was scoreless after the first period with the Wild outshooting the Express 10-3. The best chance for the Express didn't even register as a shot with Austin McIlMurray beating Garrett Nieto with a wrist shot that clanged off the post.

The pressure for the Wild finally broke through in the second period with Alex Bates beating Tyger Howat with a point shot through a screen following a won faceoff in the Express zone.

The fortunes for the Express didn't change much in the second period. They were outshot by a wider margin 16-4.

The speed of the Wild forced the Express to be chasing the puck most of the night. That resulted in Express penalties late in the second and early in the third. The Express penalty killers for the most part were able to get the job done. But the Wild got a break in early in the third period to extend their lead.
Tyger Howat made 40 saves - Photo courtesy of Damon James

Charlie Combs beat Tyger Howat with a shot past his glove from the point. Howat appeared to have  clear lane to see the shot but wasn't able to snag it.

Wenatchee's speed then drew a penalty shot for Matt Baker driving to the net and he was hauled down on his shot. On the free pass, Baker couldn't fool Howat with a Claude Giroux type move to keep the Express down just two for the moment.

It was at this point Barry Wolff juggled his top two lines for a second straight game. He put Mitch Newsome back up with Jackson Cressey and Austin McIlMurray. That line got their signals crossed on a dump in that led the 3-0 Wild goal.

McIlMurray dumped the puck into the Wild zone, as the puck bounced around the boards Newsome appeared to leave the puck for Cressey to pick it up coming from behind. Cressey however didn't pick it up then suddenly the Wild were on a two on one and Dakota Raabe finished it off for a 3-0 Wild lead.

Finally in the second half in the third period the Express began using their speed which led to the Wild taking penalites. Just seconds as a 5 on 3 Express advantage began Colton Kerfoot scored his 20th of the season to get the Express on the board.

Seconds later Charlie Barrow was hauled down entering the Wild zone resulting in another Express two man advantage.

Austin McIlMurray scored one second after the two man advantage ended and suddenly the Express are down 3-2 with 3:30 to play.

That goal suddenly sparked hopes of another come back. But with the resumption of 5 on 5 play the Wild went back to managing the puck in the Express zone and working the clock. The Wild broke the Express down and Mike Coyne found himself alone in front of the net and he had enough time to beat Tyger Howat with a deke to the backhand.

The Wild finished the game with 44 shots while the Express mustered a season low of just 15. They quite simply spent too much time all game long chasing the puck on the sticks of the Wild players in the Express end of the rink and generating no where near enough scoring chances of their own.

They were able to dig themselves out of third period holes the last two games, but the low percentages of teams rallying from behind entering the third period trailing caught up with them Wednesday.

This weekend the Express will have one final road trip this season with visits to Powell River, Cowichan Valley and Alberni Valley.

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