Friday, December 30, 2016


Fred Ewaniuck & Lorne Cardinal from Corner Gas took part in the ceremonial faceoff
Photo courtesy of Garrett James.
The Express returned to action following their Christmas break. They looked refreshed and the return to the lineup of Mitch Newsome, Alex Ambrosio and Christian Bosa gave the Express a boost. Unfortunately for it still wasn't enough to get back in the win column as they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Surrey Eagles.

The return of the three aforementioned forwards allowed Barry Wolff to dress a more balanced lineup up front.

Reid Cooper - Photo courtesy of G. James
But just 15 seconds into the game the Express got a scare as defenseman Jake Brien was shaken up in a collision along the end boards. Thankfully for a team that's had more than it's fair share of injuries this season Brien returned after a short absence in the first period.

Midway through the first period the Express opened the scoring on a power play goal by Keegan Jones. He buried the rebound of a Will Lawerence shot swatting it past Keelan Williams.

Five minutes later Jordan Robert scored with a shot from the slot up over the shoulder of Reid Cooper.

These two teams certainly were no longer in the holiday spirit when they took to the ice. It had it's fair share of chippiness throughout the night. Early in the second period Noah Turanski was given a pair of game misconducts when he was given a five minute major for a check from behind for a hit on Mike Sauer. Turanski's second game misconduct came when he had to answer the bell for his hit dropping the gloves with Tyler Cooper.

Hayden Knight - Photo courtesy of G. James
Darius Davidson gave the Eagles their first lead of the night 8 minutes into the second period banging home the rebound of a Colton Gerlib shot for Davidson's 20th goal of the season.

That goal helped propel the Eagles for a mid period push in play. Paul McAvoy then converted a pass from behind the Express net from Desi Burgart for a 3-1 Surrey lead.

The deficit didn't rattle the Express and just 23 seconds after the McAvoy goal the Express were back within one on a goal from Luca Leone who buried a backhand after taking a drop pass from Sam Kozlowski.

Jake Toor pulled the Express even just over two minutes later snapping home a quick wrist shot from the slot for just his second goal of the season. Both of his tallies have come against the Surrey Eagles this season.

Ashton Calder gave the Eagles the lead early in the third period on a power play goal just 1:38 into the period.

Cooper's best save off Paul McAvoy - Photo courtesy of G. James
The dislike between the Express and Eagles continued in the third. Christian Bosa was shaken up when he was looking back in his own zone and reached up to grab a puck in the air. It was then that he was hit in the back by Nick Minerva torquing his body in an awkward position shaking up the young forward. Immediately Keegan Jones came to his teammates defence.

As the game wound down Reid Cooper rose to the occasion with a number of key stops to keep the Express within one. Cooper finished with 42 saves.

At the other end Keelan Williams turned aside all 13 third period Express shots and finished with 36 saves in the Eagles crease.

Despite another set back they showed a lot of good signs the team can try to build on when they head into Merritt Saturday to conclude 2016.

Friday, December 16, 2016


Brett Mennear scored twice while adding an assist to pace the Prince George Spruce Kings 7-3 win over the Express Friday night.

Jarod Hovde opened the scoring just over four minutes into the game jamming the puck under Reid Cooper after Hunter Luhmann's backhand clanged off the goal post.

Mennear's first of the night came after an Express turnover in their own zone and his shot trickled through the legs of Cooper.

In the second period the Spruce Kings added to their lead converting on odd man rushes. Ben Brar finished off on a set up from Travis Schneider mid way through the period. Then in the final minute Brett Mennear set up Ethan De Jong for a shorthanded goal and a 4-0 Spruce Kings lead after two periods.

Friday's game was the annual teddy bear toss for the Express. The fans got what they came for early in the third period when Hayden Knight scored the first of the night for the Express sending the stuffed animals flying to the ice surface on his 6th of the season.

The excitement from the Knight goal was quickly dissipated as Mennear scored his second of the night with a shot from the right wing over the glove of Cooper just 23 seconds later.

Sam Kozlowski and Luca Leone for the Express and Drew Lennon and Chong Ming Lee for the Spruce Kings traded goals the rest of the way in the third period to round out the scoring.

Prince George outshot the Express 40-22. The Spruce Kings went 1 for 5 on the power play while the Express went 0 for 3.

The Express will look to snap their 19 game winless streak (0-17-1-1) when they play their final game before Christmas Sunday afternoon vs. Nanaimo. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016


The Rivermen used three goal second and third periods en route to a 6-1 win over the Express Sunday in Langley.  Click here for boxscore

It was Langley's 4th win in 5 meetings with the Express this season and third win in three games on home ice.

The best chances for the Express came in the first period with Luca Leone stopped in the slot by Bo Didur, then Leone stopped at the side of the Rivermen net after Sam Kozlowski tried to catch Didur out of position on a wraparound.

The best chance for the Express came on a shot that didn't register as a shot on goal. Cal Babych cut in the slot then slid the puck over the Will Lawerence at the side of the Rivermen net and missed a gaping open net putting in through the goal crease.

From that point forward Langley took over the game. Francis Boie poked home a loose puck in the goal crease 54 seconds into the middle period to open the scoring and send teddy bears flying for Langley's teddy bear toss.

5 minutes into the period Langley made quick work of a power play, after holding the puck in the zone following an Express clearing attempt Cam Ginnetti quickly dished the puck to Angus Crookshank who set up Max Kaufman in the slot who beat Reid Cooper with a wrist shot over his glove.

John Schuldt expanded Langley's lead to 3-0 with another power play goal taking a pass in the slot and hammering a one timer home from the slot. The Rivermen finished 2 for 4 on the power play.

Langley needed just over 5 minutes in the third period to expand their lead to 6-0 on goals by Andrew Dumaresque, Brendan Budy and Cooper Leitch. Buy finished with 1 goal and 3 assists and Ryan Barrow had 3 helpers.

Sam Kozlowski scored the lone Express goal on a breakaway with 6:27 remaining in the third period.

Langley doubled the Express in shots 48-22.

The Express have two games left before the Christmas break hosting Prince George Friday and Nanaimo next Sunday. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016


Victoria spread the attack around 7 different goal scorers and 7 players with multi point games in a 8-2 win over the Express Sunday afternoon. Click here for boxscore

Nathan Looysen and Jake Stevens led the way with three points apiece. The former scored twice while added an assist.

Victoria playing in their third game in as many days after starting the weekend in Prince George showed little signs of fatigue jumping on the Express in the first period. They had a 2-1 lead after the first period thanks to goals from Looysen and TJ Friedman. Friedman's goal came just 31 saves after Hayden Knight scored his second goal in as many goals for the Express.

Nick Guiney opened up a 3-1 Victoria lead just past the 6 minute mark of the second period. Luca Leone pulled the Express back within one on the power play just two minutes later. Leone like Hayden Knight scored his in his second straight game.

From there Victoria pulled away for good. Cameron Thompson and Jake Stevens scored 1:34 apart and it was 5-2 Victoria after two periods.

The Grizzlies added three more in the third from Keyvan Mokhtari, Looysen's second of the game and Jamie Rome.

The Island division leading Grizzles outshot the Express 45-20. Lawson Fenton took the loss for the Express and Tony Rehm made 18 saves to improve to 3-0.

The Express killed off all three Victoria power plays while going 1 for 3 when the Grizzlies were a man down.

The loss drops the Express to winless in their last 16 games 0-14-1-1. They will host the Wenatchee Wild Wednesday. 

Friday, December 2, 2016


N. Turanski & Gavin Payne - Photo courtesy of Damon James
The Express struggles have been well documented since their last victory on October 21st vs. the Wenatchee Wild. The injuries and a short lineups have resulted in some lopsided losses during the last 6 weeks. But there hasn't been a more disappointing loss than tonight's 5-4 double OT loss to the Langley Rivermen. Click here for boxscore

Tonight's set back was as close as the Express have come to posting a victory since October 21st. And now the Express have had their winless streak extended to 15 games with a record of 0-13-1-1.

Luca Leone - Photo courtesy of Damon James
Not much was different for the Express tonight than in their previous 14 outings. They played with 9 regulars out of the lineup.

There was questions prior to the game if Sam Kozlowski was going to be able to play. And by the midway mark of the 2nd period the Express had lost Will Lawrence after a collision along the boards. The Express dressed 5 AP's in an effort to fill the lineup.

With all that in mind the Express battled Langley right down to the bitter end eventually allowing 4-1 lead slip through their hands.

Friday the Express did something they haven't done a lot of this season and that is scoring first as Luca Leone went to the backhand to slide the puck past Bradley Cooper.

Brendan Budy finished off a beautiful 3 on 2 rush to pull Langley even at 13:07.

But the Express quickly responded with Alex Ambrosio ripping a shot up over the glove of Cooper on a two on one just 1:31 later.

Sam Kozlowski then put the Express into some rarified air 1:04 after Ambrosio's goal he buried the rebound of a Brett Cox point shot giving the Express a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.

Langley is playing with two AP goaltenders with Bo Didur and Brandon Fleming suffering injuries in the same game November 19th vs. Langley.

Bradley Cooper was replaced by Chad Cromar to start the 2nd period after three Express goals in 8 first period shots.

8 minutes into the second Hayden Knight was handed a double minor for spearing for a subtle little jab after the whistle behind the Express net.

The Express bailed out their teammate by killing off the penalties. Then Knight redeemed himself by taking a pass from Erik Udahl and beating Cromar with a shot up over the glove when he stepped out of the penalty box.

The Knight goal had some great numerology to it. It was scored by Knight who wears the number 12 at 12:12 on the 12th shot of the night for the Express.

Angus Crookshank started Langley's comeback beating Reid Cooper on a backhand as he came out of the corner just 1:09 after the Knight goal.

It was pretty clear in the opening moments of the third period the Rivermen were going to force the Express to earn the victory Friday night. They had a strong start to the period which set the tone for the final 20 minutes.

Ryan Barrow cut the Express lead to one on the power play scoring at the side of the Express net converting the rebound of a Cameron Ginetti point shot that was wired off the glass.

Special teams played a deciding factor in this game in the third period. The Express couldn't convert a one minute 5 on 3 in the third period. And a late period power play which would have put the Rivermen away.

Reid Cooper finished with 31 saves - Photo courtesy of Damon James
Langley meanwhile in the final minute of the third period scored their 2nd power play goal of the period with a 6 on 4 advantage when Zac Masson jammed home a loose puck with just 15.4 seconds remaining in the third period. Langley finished 2 for 6 on the power play while the Express went 0 for 5.

The Express were just 15.4 seconds away from finally snapping their 14 game winless streak.

Nothing was decided in a relatively uneventful 4 on 4 first overtime. It was a much different story in 3 on 3. The best chance for the Express to win it was a two on nothing break from centre ice for Udhal and Ambrosio but the Express never ended up registering a shot.

Langley would make no mistake as they went the other way and Cameron Ginetti dropped the puck back for Ryan Barrow who out waited Cooper and tucked it home for his 2nd of the night to give Langley the 5-4 win.

It's not just the fact that Friday's OT loss was the closest the Express had come to posting a victory in their last 15 games. It's the manner in which they lost that makes this one hurt more than the previous 14 games. There have been plenty of blowouts and games where the Express were heavily outshot.

That wasn't the case tonight. They had the three goal lead, were only outshot 36-30 and they battled as close to even as they have to any opponent during this run and still didn't get the result.

This run hasn't been easy on anyone for the Express. Players and coaches especially. Everyone wants them to get the winning feeling again and it's hard not to feel for the team to have them suffer another set back in this manner. All they can do is regroup and get ready to host Victoria on Sunday afternoon.