Well, the Express aren't going to score between 8-10 goals every night. They suffered their first exhibition loss in three games Wednesday night in Langley by a 5-4 score.
It was a fairly even first period for the first 19 minutes. Thomas Wardle made his second start of the pre-season and made his best save of the opening frame on a re-direction. Connor Gregga at the other end couldn't convert a rebound opportunity.
Adam Nobles opened the scoring for Langley in the final minute of the first period. That was followed 23 seconds later on a goal from Jonathan Stein beating an Express defender to the net and tipping the feed past Wardle for a 2-0 Langley lead after the first period.
The visitors picked up their game in the middle frame. Adam Trotman continued his hot pre-season snapping home a set up from Gregory Lapointe in the slot to get the Express on the board. Trotman has scored in all three exhibition games with four goals total.
That goal sparked a run of play for the Express, but they were unable to get the equalizer.
Jonathan Stein added his second of the night on the powerplay for a 3-1 Langley lead. Then in the final minute Thomas Wardle made a key save on a two on one break for Ryley Wallack to keep the Express deficit at just two after forty minutes.
Langley opened the third period with a powerplay. They added to their lead in the opening minute on Joey Musa's goal which bounced off the skate of an Express defender and in the net.
The three goal deficit didn't dissuade the Express. Cooper Connell who has had a strong camp so far powered out of the corner and snapped a wrist shot over the shoulder of Kristian Lyon to cut the Langley lead to 4-2.
Just over two minutes later the Express cut the Langley lead to one. Christian MacDougall dangled his way to the Langley net only to get knocked down laying face down in the crease. When he got up, he found a pass coming his way from Kabir Gill to tip home making it 4-3.
Connell completed the comeback three minutes later snapping a shot past the glove of Lyon to tie the game at 4.
The tie however, didn't even last a minute. A cross ice Express pass was picked off in the neutral zone. That allowed Brian Scoville to speed the other way and he blew past an Express defender sliding a backhand under Wardle to put the Rivermen back in the lead at 5-4.
Langley held on the rest of the night. Including surviving a late Express powerplay in the final 5 minutes.
The shots finished 35-30 in favour of the Express. They will play their final exhibition game on Saturday in Delta vs. Nanaimo.
The Express are back in Langley next Friday to open the regular season.
Coming off an 8 goal performance in their exhibition opener Sunday vs. Wenatchee, the Express followed up in their second exhibition game by hitting double digits in a 10-4 win over the Surrey Eagles.
Not only was this game filled with offence, it also had a few moments where the tempers were short.
The first period was scoreless. But it had it's moments. Ryan Tattle snapped a shot off the post from the left wing. Christian MacDougall had a quick shot through the screen of an Eagles defender.
With the Express shorthanded, Tyler Schleppe was hauled down on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot. On the free pass he went to the forehand, but couldn't stuff the puck past Eagles starter Cal Schell.
Then in the final minute of the period Christian MacDougall was trying to get himself free out of the corner, and was tangled up with Cade Alami and the two dropped the gloves bringing an end to their respective nights.
The second period saw the Eagles get into penalty trouble only to see the Express take advantage.
Adam Trotman converted a cross ice pass from Gregory Lapointe on a 5 on 3 advantage to open the scoring on Trotman's 3rd goal of the pre-season.
Three minutes later Ryan Tattle got his big night going by cutting into the slot and snapping home a quick shot for a 2-0 Express lead.
Midway through the period Gregory Lapointe scored the Express second powerplay goal of the period for a 3-0 lead. The shots were 13-3 in favour of the Express by the midway mark of the second period.
By this point in the game, the Express were taking full advantage of the international size ice to allow their skating and quick puck movement to really push the pace of the game that Surrey had trouble keeping up with.
Princeton committed defenceman Nick Carabin scored the Express third powerplay goal of the frame for a 4-0 lead after 40 minutes. The Express dominated the shots on goal in that period with a 22-9 advantage over the Eagles.
Clay Stevenson got the call and went the distance for the Express in the cage. He was beaten for the first time early in the third period when Holden Katzalay rammed home a loose puck for a powerplay goal.
The lead was quickly back up to four for the Express just 17 seconds later when Luke Burke jammed in a loose puck at the side of the Eagles net.
Forward Christian Lowe was one of the smallest players in the game. But he left his mark throughout the night by blocking a couple of shots in the first two periods. And delivering a hit to help get the puck out of the zone.
He was rewarded in the third period by converting on a breakaway to open up the Express lead to 6-1.
Connor Gregga tallied his first of the pre-season 40 seconds later taking a pass from Ryan Tattle snapping the 7th Express goal of the night that brought an end to Cal Schell's evening after 7 goals on 35 shots.
At this point the puck was finding Ryan Tattle all over the ice. He fired a shot over the net moments later on a breakaway. Then he intercepted a pass up the middle and scored his second of the game for 8-1 Express lead.
Now with the score 8-2, Tattle completed the Gordie Howe hat-trick after mixing it up with Jimmy Darby.
Captain Drew Cooper set up Josh Wildauer at the side of the Eagles net for a 9-2 Express lead.
Then a minute later Connor Gregga scored his second of the night to hit double digits. The Express have scored 18 goals in their first two pre-season games.
Surrey finally rounded out the scoring with two goals 89 seconds apart to make it a 10-4 final.
The Express peppered the Surrey net with 43 shots. Clay Stevenson faced 31 Eagles shots on the night. The powerplay was deadly all night finishing 4 for 7. Surrey went 2 for 4.
Exhibition continues on Wednesday night when the Express visit the Langley Rivermen.
It was a goal filled affair as the Express opened their 2019 exhibition in Delta coming away with a 8-5 win over the Wenatchee Wild.
The hosts showed some early rust that Wenatchee, playing their third game of the pre-season already took advantage of.
An attempted reverse behind the Express net went awry and the puck bounced right in front of the net and was snapped home by Matt Dorsey for a 1-0 Wild lead just 35 seconds into the game.
35 seconds later it was 2-0 when former Express Dallas Farrell acquired by Wenatchee via Surrey came down the right wing and fired a shot over the shoulder of Thomas Wardle.
Once the initial shock wore off, the Express began to find their game. Austin Fraser used his speed to get in on the forecheck behind the Wild net then set up Tyler Schleppe to cut the lead to 2-1 at 3:24 on the first Express shot of the game. Schleppe was acquired in the off-season as the future considerations in the Sam Kozlowski trade to Prince George a year ago. That goal would be the start of a strong game at both ends for the former Spruce King.
Four minutes later Ryan Tattle set up defenceman Noah De La Durante to pull the Express even at 2.
Schleppe picked up his second point of the opening frame setting up Logan Kurki whose off-speed shot handcuffed Wild starter Michael Brown.
The Express were whistled for four penalties in the first period. In the final minute they were down two men and Tyler Young powered the puck to the net to make it a 3-3 tie after a high scoring first period.
With the Express still shorthanded to open the second period, Luke Burke who was delivering hits all game made a good play to force a turnover at the Express blueline that allowed Adam Trotman to walk in on a breakaway and score for a 4-3 Express lead. Burke officially didn't get an assist on the play. But his hard work made the play happen. Trotman spent last season with the Newmarket Hurricanes of the OJHL.
The Wild made it a 4-4 game on a wrist shot from Jack Bayless that eluded Wardle. From this point going forward the Express young goaltender who played Midget last year with Notre Dame in Saskatchewan began to settle down. He finished the game with 25 saves on the afternoon while going the distance.
As the second period went on the Express slowly began to take over the game. Ryan Tattle picked his second assist of the contest laying a pillowy soft saucer pass on the tape of Trotman for his 2nd of the game and a 5-4 Expess lead. Then in the final minute Gregory Lapointe scored for a 6-4 Express lead set up by Connor Gregga and Kabir Gill.
2003 born Wild goaltender Michael Brown was finished after 40 minutes following 6 goals on 25 shots. Veteran Daniel Chenard acquired from Chilliwack in the off-season played the final 20.
Nico Chmelevski from the slot scored for the Wild to make it 6-5 with just under 8 minutes to play.
But the Express were never rattled and they sealed the game with a pair of powerplay goals from Gregory Lapointe with a quick snap shot from the slot. And Tyler Schleppe burying his second of the game on a feed into the slot to round out the scoring.
The shots finished 32-30 in favour of the Express. The powerplays saw the Express go 2 for 3 while Wenatchee went 1 for 4.
The exhibition continues for the Express Tuesday night in Surrey.