Saturday, November 24, 2018


The Penticton Vees picked up their 4th straight win by a 4-3 score in Coquitlam Friday night. The loss for the Express was their 5th in a row.

Henry Rybinski made his Express debut after being signed earlier this week after starting the season with Medicine Hat of the WHL. Rybinski had been skating with the Express for the last month or so.

James Miller kept up his productive season on the Vees backend walking into a slap shot to beat Kolby Matthews after the Vees crafty entry into the Express zone for a powerplay goal. The Express have now given up a powerplay goal in 6 straight games.

It wasn't the night Kolby Matthews was hoping for. As it turned out his only save of the night was a backhand chance for Cole Shepard after he undressed Pito Walton for a backhand chance.

Matthews night came to an end at 5:12 following a flip pass by the Express that was broken up by three Vees who went the other way and Andre Ghantous set up Drew Elser in the slot who put a shot through the pads of Matthews for a 2-0 lead on just three shots.

1:02 later the Express did get on the board thanks to a goal from Connor Gregga who sped into the Penticton zone and beat Jack Lafontaine with a wrist shot from just inside the post for his 8th of the season.

Chase Danol returned to the lineup Friday after missing Tuesday's game in Langley. And his return helped pace the Express effort to claw back in the game. He was determined as anyone to win puck battles which would lead to chances at the other end.

At 3:26 of the second period a Danol shot from the right wing was stopped by Lafontiaine but the rebound was put home by Hunter Alden to tie the game at two on Alden's second of the season.

Cole Shepard restored the Vees lead on a breakaway with a shot that handcuffed Clay Stevenson and the goaltender was never able to control the puck before it slid in for a 3-2 Penticton lead.

In the third period Dallas Farrell was whistled for two penalties. Just as his second infraction expired the puck came to James Miller who blasted his second of the night and BCHL defensemen leading 15th of the season for a 4-2 Vees lead.

Pito Walton made things interesting with a seeing eye shot from the middle of the ice for a powerplay goal with 4:43 remaining in the third period.

In the final minutes the Express had a number of chances to get the equalizer. Cooper Connell had a rebound opportunity that was ripped over the Vees net.

Then in the final seconds Jordan Schulting stepped into a hard shot that just went wide and the Vees held on the rest of the way.

The Express outshot the Vees 30-24.

Next weekend the Express will hit the road in Victoria, Nanaimo and Alberni Valley. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


Highlights of Langley's 7-5 win over the Express Tuesday.


The Express had three two goal leads, but lost by two goals by a 7-5 score in Langley. The loss extends the Express season high losing streak to four games. Click here for boxscore

The opening three minutes was a good indication of what was to come on this night. A turnover in the Express zone led to a good chance for Daneel Lategan that was stopped by Clay Stevenson. Moments later the Express got their attack going.

Connor Gregga in the high slot re-directed a pass from the boards by Cole Edgerton beating Braedon Fleming for a 1-0 Express lead.

That was followed just 37 seconds later by Josh Wildauer banging home a loose puck at the side of the Rivermen net for a 2-0 Express lead before the game was 3 minutes old. Heading into this game Head Coach Jason Fortier had the blender out mixing up his top three lines hoping for a change in results. Early on the changes appeared to be paying off.

But despite the early lead, there were signs that this wasn't going to be an easy night for the Express.

Numerous defensive breakdowns led to quality chances for Langley including breakaways for Trevor Ayre and William Stromp that was stopped by Clay Stevenson to preserve the two goal lead for the time being.

Midway through the first the Rivermen got on the board on a goal from Chase Pletzke beating Stevenson with a wrist shot over his glove.

Alex DiPaolo restored the Express two goal lead late in the opening period after being sprung following two good passes from Danny Pearson and Dallas Farrell and DiPaolo snapping a shot past the stick of Fleming.

But the two goal lead masked some of the quality chances Langley had in the opening period after they outshot the Express 19-13. The Express also lost the services of captain Troy Robillard who went down with injury and he didn't return.

In the second period Ethan Leyh sparked a Rivermen comeback by first scoring a powerplay goal with a wrist shot from the off wing at 2:13. The Express have now allowed a powerplay goal in 4 straight games giving up 9 goals while a man down in that time.

Leyh scored his second of the night just over three minutes later with a backhand following a shot from CJ Walker from the right wing to tie the game at three.

Danny Pearson returned to the lineup after missing the previous three games with injury. The rookie forward has had a solid season so far. He took another step on the right direction Tuesday. He assisted on DiPaolo's first period goal.

In the second period he cut in from the right wing snapping a shot past Fleming to give the Express a 4-3 lead. Then just 24 seconds later he re-directed a Pito Walton point shot for his second of the night and a 5-3 Express lead.

That goal chased Braedon Fleming after 5 goals on 15 shots and Rivermen newcomer Shayne Battler recently acquired from the NOJHL made his Rivermen debut.

With their second two goal lead of the game the Express appeared to settle their game down carrying their lead into the third period.

5 minutes into the third with the Express on the powerplay the roof caved in on. A turnover allowed William Stromp to score on a breakaway for a shorthanded goal to pull Langley within one.

Then exactly a minute later another defensive breakdown resulted in a stretch pass to spring Ethan Leyh who completed his hat-trick with shot between the pads of Stevenson for two Langley shorthanded goals on the same penalty and the game was tied at 5 as the Rivermen erased their second two goal deficit of the night.

The Express never recovered from the two shorthanded goals allowed. Devin Leduc gave Langley their first lead as he beat Cooper Connell back to the net and buried a William Stromp rebound for a 6-5 Langley lead at 12:30.

At the other end the Express had very few quality chances to test Battler who was perfect in his 32 minutes on 14 Express shots.

Trevor Ayre iced the game with an empty net goal in the final minute to round out the scoring.

Langley finished with 49 shots which was a new season high for shots allowed by the Express this season.

The Express will look to get back in the win column when they return home to play host to the Penticton Vees. 

Sunday, November 18, 2018


Surrey snapped their 8 game losing streak with a  6-2 win over the Express Sunday. Click here for boxscore

For the Express it was their 3rd straight loss.

In the opening period the Express looked like a determined team to get back into the win column. They were getting their defense active in the attack which help lead to some pressure for the Express and chances in the Surrey zone.

Pito Walton came close to opening the scoring snapping a screen shot that surprised Cayden Bailey but hit the cross bar.

Surrey opened the scoring just shy of the 8 minute mark on Jeremy Smith's point shot was deflected past Kolby Matthews for a powerplay goal. That would prove to be a theme on the day for the Eagles Sunday.

Alex DiPaolo pulled the Express even in the second period showing good hands in front of the net taking a Dallas Farrell pass and tucking it past Bailey to even the game at one.

But the tie only lasted 47 seconds seconds as with Juliano Santalucia in the box for a blow to the head ,Jeremy Smith flipped a behind the back pass on the tape of Cody Schiavon who beat Kolby Matthews with a one timer for the second powerplay goal of the game for the Eagles.

One trademark of this Express team in recent weeks has been finding ways to keep clawing back. They got a lucky bounce go their way to even the game at two. Hunter Alden was able to have a pass from below the goal line in the Surrey zone bounce in for Alden's first Express goal.

In the final seconds of the second period Brandon Santa Juana found a loose puck in the Express crease to stash Surrey's 3rd powerplay goal of the night for a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.

The Express fortunes didn't change in the third period. Sam Feldman and Matthew McKim scored Surrey's 3rd and 4th powerplay goals of the game and then Justyn Gurney hit the empty net to seal the 6-2 for Surrey. The Eagles finished 4 for 9 on the powerplay.

For the Eagles it was their second win of the season and just their 3rd regulation win of the season.

Up next for the Express they play visit Langley on Tuesday night. 

Saturday, November 17, 2018


The Coquitlam Express played host to the Victoria Grizzlies, and for those who came to the game hoping to see Alex Newhook who is expected to be a first round NHL draft pick to be a factor in the game, those people weren't disappointed.

Newhook finished with two assists as part of a 6-3 Grizzlies win. Click here for boxscore

The Express knew entering the game they were facing one of the more dynamic offensive teams in the BCHL. And they had to find a way as much as they could to force the play to Victoria to play in their own zone.

There were some good moments from the Express in the first period controlling the play in the Victoria end.

But the visitors had the only goal of the opening period. 14 minutes into the game a long stretch pass found Henri Schreifels who snapped a shot past Clay Stevenson for a 1-0 Victoria lead.

Plenty of attention heading into the game was focused on Alex Newhook along with linemate Alex Campbell who is a C prospect for this years NHL draft and New York Rangers pick Riley Hughes. They showed some flashes in the first period. Then in the second period they began to leave their mark on the game.

With Dallas Farrell in the box for goaltender interference, the Grizzlies quickly got control of the puck off the face-off and Newhook found Hughes in the slot who quickly scored for 2-0 Grizzlies lead just 9 seconds into the powerplay.

Penalties were problematic for the Express with four consecutive infractions called on the Express late in the first period and into the second period.

Now with Jordan Schulting in the box for the Express, Newhook danced into the Express zone and slid a pass to the side of the Express net where Alex Campbell chipped it in for a 3-0 Victoria lead. The Grizzlies were 2 for 5 on the powerplay.

Campell's electrifying speed was on display all night. He then raced into the Express zone where his backhand was stopped by Clay Stevenson but the rebound was just sitting in the crease for Hughes to poke home for his second of the night and a 4-0 Victoria lead.

The crowd was energized when Cooper Connell off a face-off helped set up Juliano Santalucia's first BCHL goal who out waited Grizzlies goaltender Kurtis Chapman then beat him on a backhand and it was 4-1 Victoria after 40 minutes.

As we've seen numerous times during the season the Express kept fighting and found a way to claw back into it.

Chase Danol powered his way out of the corner just shy of the 5 minute mark of the third period to make it a 4-2 game with a snap shot short side.

Then with just under 8 minutes to play Josh Wildauer poked home a rebound to cut the Express deficit to one.

The comeback hopes however were dashed with 5:17 to play. Marty Westhaver took advantage of a bobbled pass back to the Victoria blueline and Westhaver beat Stevenson on a breakaway to make it a 5-3 game.

An empty net goal that dribbled into the net that was credited to Ryan Nolan with 8 seconds to play to make it 6-3.

Victoria finished outshooting the Express 46-27.

The Express play host to the Surrey Eagles on Sunday afternoon. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


I spoke with former Express goaltender Mark Dekanich who announced his retirement following a lengthy professional hockey career. He was a member of the Express for two seasons in their second and third seasons in the BCHL in 02-03 and 03-04. He then went on to a 4 year career at Colgate University where he would be drafted by Nashville in the 5th round in 2006. His lengthy pro career took him to numerous spots around the world. Now he's on to the next chapter of his life.

Saturday, November 10, 2018


Highlights of the Express 2-1 shootout win over the Trail Smoke Eaters Friday.

Highlights produced by Eddie Gregory. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018


Hear from Jason Fortier, Captain Troy Robillard and forward Josh Wildauer on the Express recent play leading into a two game road trip this weekend.

Video produced by Eddie Gregory. 

Saturday, November 3, 2018


Highlights of the Express 4-1 win over Vernon Friday.

Highlights produced by Eddie Gregory. 


The Express showed a short memory to quickly move on from their loss Wednesday vs. Langley and got right back in the win column by a 4-1 score over the Vernon Vipers Friday. Click here for boxscore

Both teams tried to establish physical dominance along the boards at either end in the opening minutes of the game. But once the Express got free their speed helped lead to scoring chances.

Pito Walton's mobility helped create chances in the opening period. Eventually it led to the games first goal.

He carried it deep in the Vernon zone and found Regan Kimens at the edge of the crease and he tipped it past Aidan Porter to open the scoring.

It was the first time in 6 games that the Express had scored first.

Vernon had three minutes of powerplay time in the opening half of the second period. That was when they got some of their best scoring chances on Express goaltender Clay Stevenson. His best save of the night was a trio of saves on a Viper powerplay where Stevenson made the original save on Jack Judson's point shot, he followed that up with two more good saves on the subsequent rebounds.

As the game creeped towards the midway mark of the contest, the game slowly started to tilt in the Express favour.

Alex DiPaolo intercepted a Vipers pass and quickly dished to Christian Sanda who best Porter with a wrist shot over his shoulder. Sanda's goal was his 10th of the season which surpassed his total in 55 games last season.

Moments later with the Express on a powerplay a bobble by Drew Cooper at the Vipers blueline allowed Jagger Williamson to walk in on a partial breakaway. As Cooper hustled back to impede the chance, the Vipers captain was awarded a penalty shot.

On the free pass Clay Stevenson shutdown Williamson who tried to beat him five hole.

Early in the third seconds after an Express powerplay expired Connor Gregga buried a rebound at the side of the Viper net for a 3-0 Express lead. For Gregga, it was his second goal in as many games.

At this point, the only thing left to decide was if Clay Stevenson would post his first BCHL shutout.

Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be. Jagger Williamson tipped a long slap shot from the Vipers end of the ice by Mitch Andres. Stevenson made the save, but couldn't control the rebound which was put home by Josh Latta for the only Viper goal of the night. Stevenson finished with 31 saves for his 7th win of the season and his 6th in a row to improve his record to 7-1.

Josh Wildauer put the icing on the cake midway through the third period chipping the puck over the shoulder of Porter for a powerplay goal.

Tempers got a little short in the final minutes of the game. Josh Wildauer capped off a Gordie Howe hat-trick following a fight with Carver Watson.

The win improved the Express to 9-2-1 on home ice. And they still remain three points back of the Chilliwack Chiefs for top spot in the overall BCHL standings.

They will hit the road next weekend for games in Trail and Wenatchee.