Thursday, February 4, 2016


Colton Kerfoot picked up his 100th career point - Photo courtesy of Damon James
The Express battled one of the hottest teams in the BCHL right to the end but the ending was bitter losing 2-1 in double overtime to West Kelowna. Click here for boxscore

The Warriors entered the game unbeaten in their last 5 and were 9-2-1 in January. The Express meanwhile had lost their last four games.

Coming off a three game in three day road trip, the Express were a little banged up with Noah Turanski and Tyger Howat joining Nic Coltura and Luca Leone on the injured list. Mat Michie was serving the second game of a two game suspension for a checking from behind major penalty Saturday in Cowichan Valley.

Lawson Fenton had 36 saves - Photo courtesy of Damon James
The Express had to find a way to shut down one of the more offensively explosive teams in the BCHL with a thin lineup.

They pretty much did that most of the night by playing a patient game while being passive at times on the forecheck.

The result limited the amount of quality scoring chances that Lawson Fenton had to face. Once the Warriors had the puck in the Express end, the Express needed to battle along the boards as the Warriors used their size and strength to grind the Express down.

Alex Ambrosio - Photo courtesy of Damon James
It took until early in the second period for the first goal of the game. The reigning BCHL player of the week Jonathan Desbiens carried the puck down the wing in the Express zone and snapped a shot past Fenton for Desbiens' 36th goal of the season.

Both teams had their chances with the power play in the third period seeking that big "next goal" that would either tie the game or give the Warriors the two goal lead but it never came for either team on the power play.

Finally the Express system paid dividends with clock winding down. Austin McIlMurray picked off the puck at the Warriors blue line and he set up Colton Kerfoot at the side of the net to tie the game at one. The goal for Kerfoot was his 100th career BCHL point in his 93rd career game.

In the dying seconds of the game each team took penalties that could have had an impact in the final outcome. Austin McIlMurray and Garrett Forster for the Warriors each took slashing penalties 47 seconds apart.

Blake Hayward - Photo courtesy of Damon James
The Forster penalty carried over into the overtime, but the Express couldn't take advantage of the power play. It was more of the same for the Express not making Kristian Blumenschein pay for his tripping penalty seconds after Forster stepped back on the ice. The Express finished 0 for 5 on the power play.

Ryan Coghlan had the best chance for the Express to win the game but he was stopped in close by Warriors goaltender Keelan Williams who finished with 35 saves and was named the game's second star.

The teams went up and down the ice to begin 3 on 3 double overtime but no real glorious scoring chances emerged. West Kelowna was paitient at times with the puck in the Express zone in 3 on 3. Their patience was rewarded with veteran Liam Blackburn fighting off Express defenders turning and controlling the puck. He was finally able to break free and come out from behind the Express net beating Lawson Fenton to give the Warriors their 5th straight win.

Fenton turned aside 36 of the 38 shots sent his way. The Express deserve to be recognized for not forcing their goaltender to stand on their head just to at least come away with a point in the losing cause.

Up next for the Express is the first regular season visit by division rival Chilliwack on the first Friday of February.

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