Saturday, January 2, 2016


Jackson Cressey and company celebrate - Photo courtesy of Damon James.
Taylor Green's goal with 24.9 seconds remaining in the third period a 4-3 win over the Prince George Spruce Kings. Click here for boxscore

The goal capped off a back and forth game that saw the Express play with the lead on four separate occasions.

Austin McIlMurray got the Express off on the right foot by snapping his 19th of the season with a quick shot coming in off the right wing. It was the first of two goals on the night for McIlMurray. That goal set the tone for the line of McIlMurray, Jackson Cressey and Colton Kerfoot. They were dominant at times Saturday night controlling the puck in the Spruce Kings zone.

Prince George evened the game 7 minutes into the first period after a won face-off in the Express end, a point shot was stopped by Lawson Fenton but the rebound was buried by Nik Ponak for his third of the season.

Jackson Cressey gave the Express their second lead of the night on the power play after converting a nifty pass out from behind the net from Colton Kerfoot to give the Express their second lead of the night. The goal for Cressey was his third in his last two games.

Owen Stout - Photo courtesy of Damon James.
One trend that has emerged in the first two games for the Express following the Christmas break has been their inability to hold lead. They lead on three separate occasions Thursday's loss in Merritt.

It was more of the same Saturday night. Jarod Hovde beat Lawson Fenton from the slot in the final minute of the first period for a 2-2 tie.

The Express had all three power plays in the first period converting once. It was the exact opposite in the second period. As it turned it out, it proved to be a key turning point in this game. The Express killed off all three Prince George power plays in the first ten minutes of the second period to keep the game tied.
Ryan Coghlan made his Express home debut - Photo courtesy of Damon James.
Minutes later with a delayed penalty in effect, Austin McIlMurray scored his second of the game for a 3-2 Express lead. The goal was set up by Luca Leone who was the extra attacker after Lawson Fenton hustled to the bench. For McIlMurray he joined Jackson Cressey in the 20 goal club. Colton Kerfoot isn't too far behind from joining his line mates in the 20 goal club sitting at 17 this season.

Prince George erased an Express lead for a third time Saturday midway through the third period after they failed on an odd man rush. Then from behind the net Matthew Stief bounced the puck in off Fenton to tie the game at three.
Blake Hayward - Photo courtesy of Damon James.
In the final minutes of the third period now in a 3-3 tie, Barry Wolff played it safe playing Taylor Green with Jake Brien on a regular basis as a defense pair.

That pair had a hand in the game winning goal. Jake Brien got the puck at the blue line following a pair of prolonged scrums for the puck in the Prince George zone, Brien slid the puck across to Green who had room to walk in and unload a slap shot which beat McCloskey to give the Express a 4-3 lead with 24.9 seconds left.

Jake Brien - Photo courtesy of Damon James.
Lawson Fenton turned aside 20 of 23 Prince George shots for his 8th win of the season. It was encouraging to see the Express not force their goaltender to face nearly 40 shots to pick up a victory.

The top line for the Express gets plenty of headlines for being on the ice for all four Express goals. But as a whole the Express used their speed very effectively through the night creating chances.

It was the third win in five games for the Express vs. Prince George this season as they opened up a 7 game home stand. Up next the Express play host to the Merritt Centennials for the second meeting in less than a week between the two teams.

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