Monday, December 30, 2019


Highlights from Saturday's 5-4 Express shootout win in Chilliwack to match a franchise record with their 13th straight win.

Highlights produced by Eddie Gregory. 

Sunday, December 29, 2019


The Coquitlam Express matched the 2006 National championship team with their 13th straight win with a 5-4 come from behind shootout win over the Chilliwack Chiefs in the first of a home and home. Click here for boxscore

In a game where the Express never led in, they got late third period goals to pull even and some highlight reel skill in the shootout to get the win.

Early on Cooper Connell appeared to have the games opening goal on his stick but he couldn't corral it and tap it past Mathieu Caron.

On a Chilliwack powerplay Nikita Nesterenko rushed into the Express zone and had his pass bounce in off an Express defender and slide through Clay Stevenson to open the scoring.

Connell had another great chance on a first period powerplay to find the back of the net, but his one timer was off the mark.

Arlo Merritt took his time closing on from the right wing and snapping a shot over the stick and just inside the post past Clay Stevenson to open a 2-0 Chiefs lead.

Greg Lapointe committed to St. Lawrence University during the Christmas break. He got a big goal late in the period tipping a Josh Wildauer shot over the shoulder of Caron for his 20th of the season and a 2-1 Chiefs lead after one period.

Another Chiefs bounce early in the second saw Trevor Adams get credited with his 9th of the season to put Chilliwack up 3-1.

The second period saw good spirit of the holiday season go out the window when Addison Macey delivered a hit just inside the blueline and next thing you know he's trying to hold off a number of Chiefs players that came to the defence of their teammate.

Massimo Rizzo cut the Chiefs lead back down to one by digging out of the corner and cut to the net and snapped a shot under the bar to make it a 3-2 game.

The third period saw the Express let a number of powerplays slip through their hands to keep Chilliwack in the lead.

Then with 4:26 to go Will Margel slid it back to Steven Bellini who blasted home his 7th of the season to tie the game at 3 briefly.

30 seconds later the Chiefs went back into the lead with a chance off the rush and Xavier Henry's shot went high and off the glass. The rebound bounced to the side of the Express net where despite Clay Stevenson's best efforts at a marvellous save, Kyle Penny's shot slid in the give the Chiefs the 4-3 lead.

Again the Express were presented with another powerplay opportunity with 3 minutes to go, but the Express didn't covert. They did seconds after it expired on a rebound goal by Ethan O'Rourke with a minute to go to send the game to overtime tied at 4.

Chilliwack had their share of possession of the puck in the opening half of overtime. Their best chance was a breakaway opportunity for Nesterenko but was stopped by Stevenson's glove. He finished with 26 saves to extend his personal winning streak to 15 games.

In the final minute of overtime Greg Lapointe was hauled down setting up another Express powerplay. Before the whistle was blown the Express were smart to recognize the situation to set up in their 4 on 3 set up with the clock winding down to make the most of the limited time remaining in overtime. Finally when the play was blown dead and the powerplay kicked in, nothing was decided and it was off to a shootout for a second straight meeting between the teams. The powerplay finished 0 for 5 on the night.

Nikita Nestereko opened the shootout with some soft hands and then quickly snapping it through Clay Stevenson's pads to get things going.

Then in round three it came down to Will Margel who needed to score to keep the game alive for the Express. And in not a big deal style he pulls off the Forsberg move to keep the game going.

Clay Stevenson then needed to shut the door on Kyle Penney which he did to send the game to extra shooters.

In round 4 it was more soft hands this time from Massimo Rizzo deking to his forehand to slide it past Caron to put the Express in the advantage.

Then with the game on the line for the Chiefs, Clay Stevenson shut the door on Peter Reynolds to secure the 13th straight win for the Express. They matched the longest winning streak in team history with the win. The 2006 national championship team won 13 in a row spread over the end of the regular season and into the playoffs that year.

It wasn't the prettiest of wins. But the Express fought hard to stay close all night despite 5 regulars out with various aliments. And losing Addison Macey midway through the third period and found a way to pick up their 32nd win of the season.

The re-match of the home and home goes Sunday night in Coquitlam. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019


Three first period goals in a span of 1:33 was more than enough to carry the Express to their 12th straight win by a 4-1 score over Prince George to head into the Christmas break with a 31-5 record. Click here for boxscore

AP Austin Fraser got the party started for the Express by tipping a Addison Macey shot past Carter Woodside for his first BCHL goal in his 3rd game as a call up.

That was just the start of the fun. Fraser's goal was followed 25 seconds later by Ethan O'Rourke driving to the net and tucking home his 11th of the season. The goal was very similar to his power move against Wenatchee recently and his power game makes him untouchable when he gets going with speed. O'Rourke is riding a 6 game point streak with 7 goals and 4 assists for 11 points.

Then with the Express on the powerplay Cooper Connell capped off the three goal eruption converting a cross ice pass from Greg Lapointe for his 9th of the season.

The chances kept coming for the Express in the second period. But it was the fisticuffs that were the highlights. First it was Christian MacDougall dropping the gloves with Carter Cochrane. That was following a few minutes later with Brad Ong having a go with Cole Leal.

Wednesday's game was the Express first school day game of the year and those were the moments that really got the 1000+ kids in attendance riled up.

Nick Bochen broke Clay Stevenson's shutout with with a wrist shot over his shoulder early in the third. Stevenson finished with 25 saves to extend his personal winning streak to 14 games. He's allowed two goals or less in 13 of those contests.

Cooper Connell capped off his third consecutive two point night taking a Greg Lapointe pass and walking in on a breakaway and roofing a shot over Woodside's glove to cap off the scoring.

The Express were shorthanded 7 times in this game, That includes a pair of occasions where they were short for double minors. But the penalty killing got back to it's high level that has carried them to the BCHL's top penalty killing unit shutting down Prince George each time.

Heading into the Christmas break the Express will carry a 12 game winning streak. One off tying the franchise record of 13. They're 20-0 at home and have won 21 straight home games dating back to last season.

They will return to action on December 28th with a visit to Chilliwack. 

Saturday, December 14, 2019


A new franchise record for regular season consecutive wins was set by the Express with their 11th in a row after a 8-5 win in Prince George Saturday. Click here for boxscore

Heading into the game it would have been understandable if this game slipped through the hands of the Express. Injuries up front and on the blueline meant that 13 forwards and 5 defence were dressed with 4 affiliate players in the lineup.

Early on the patchwork lineup showed. A Jack Watson misplay of the puck behind the net resulted in Thomas Richter opening the scoring at 1:52. That was followed by a pair of Corey Cunningham goals  two and a half minutes apart and Prince George had quickly jumped out to a early 3-0 lead.

From then on Jack Watson settled down and his team did in front of him as well. Greg Lapointe started the comeback for the Express snapping shot past the glove of Jett Alexander for his 19th of the season.

Cooper Connell cut to the net and cut the Prince George lead to 3-2 with a backhand goal before the first period was done.

Prince George native Ethan O'Rourke played a big role (pardon the pun) in helping set Express history at the expense of his former team. Early in the second he tapped home a pass to pull the Express even at 3.

Adam Trotman just past the 5 minute mark gave the Express their first lead of the net speeding in from the left wing and sliding a backhand past Alexander to make it a 4-3 game.

This back and forth game saw Prince George tie things up just a shade under 90 seconds later when Domenic Gorozzo snapped a shot past Watson.

A minute later O'Rourke struck for his second of the night dancing in and roofing a quick shot over Alexander for a 5-4 Express lead through two periods.

O'Rourke capped off his first junior hockey hat-trick potting home a loose puck despite a collision at the Prince George crease that had bumped the net and it's supports to open a 6-4 Express lead.

Now with a two goal lead in hand with just under a full period to play the shorthanded Express just had to dig in as a group and hold this thing to the finish line. Nolan Welsh made it a one goal game just shy of the 8 minute mark.

But this battle tested Express group persevered and Cooper Connell buried his second of the night on a one timer for a powerplay goal with just over six to goal. Then Josh Wildauer sealed the win with an empty net goal with just over two minutes to go.

The 11 game winning streak breaks the regular season franchise record set during the 06-07 season. The all time Express winning streak record is 13 games during 05-06 season split over the end of the regular season and into the playoffs. Overall the Express have won 18 of their last 19 games.

And by improving to 30-5 before the Christmas break, the Express have joined a special group of teams with 30 wins before Christmas.

The Express will wrap up their pre-Christmas portion of the schedule Wednesday afternoon at high noon when they will host Prince George in the first school day game of the season.

Friday, December 13, 2019


The Coquitlam Express have matched a regular season franchise record with their 10th straight win with a 4-2 decision in Prince George. The streak matches the Express regular season record set during the 06-07 season when the team was located in Burnaby. Click here for boxscore

Steven Bellini opened the scoring for the Express just under 4 minutes into the game blasting home a slapshot assisted by Will Margel and Ethan O'Rourke.

That goal sparked a back and forth first period. Mason Waite tied things up for Prince George for a powerplay goal blasting a slapshot past Clay Stevenson to even things at one.

Injuries resulted in the Express dressing three AP's Casey Whintors, Jeremy Hanzel and Nolan Wall. It was Whintors on a two on one who made a great play sliding a pass over to Will Margel to convert giving the Express a brief 2-1 lead.

The briefness of that lead was just 46 seconds as Prince George tied it at two on a rebound goal in close by Nolan Welsh sliding the puck past Clay Stevenson.

The Express elevated their game peppering the Prince George net with 17 shots in the second period. 11 minutes into the frame Preston Brodziak hit Steven Bellini from behind resulting in a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for Brodziak. Bellini meanwhile wouldn't return to the contest putting more of the work load on an already thin defence.

One of those guys taking on more work was captain Drew Cooper. Earlier in the day it was announced that he had committed to Ferris State University. On the ensuing powerplay he blasted home his 7th of the season giving the Express their 3rd lead of the game at 3-2. The powerplay finished 1 for 3.

The third period saw the Express dig in with a short blueline and forward group protecting the one goal lead. They could finally breathe with just over a minute left in the third period when Greg Lapointe found a loose puck in front of the net sliding it past Jett Alexander.

Clay Stevenson shut the door in the final 40 minutes with 13 saves to extend his personal winning streak to 13.

The Express franchise record for consecutive wins is 13 set during the 2005-06 season with that run split over the end of the regular season and into the playoffs.

The weekend set with the Spruce Kings resumes Saturday night up north. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2019


Highlights of the Express 4-2 win over Wenatchee Sunday.

Highlights produced by Eddie Gregory. 

Monday, December 9, 2019


Connor Gregga had a three point night as the Express defeated the Wenatchee Wild 4-2 to extend their home winning streak to 20 and overall winning streak to 9 games Sunday night. Click here for boxscore

Gregga got his night going snapping home his first of two goals on the night from the slot past Daniel Chenard assisted by Ethan O'Rourke and Drew Cooper just past the 7 minute mark.

Wenatchee was ravaged with injuries which forced them to only dress 10 forwards. But it didn't deter their group. They pulled even on a goal off the rush when Ethan Wolthers got a half step on the defence and sped in then dished a feed over to Sam Morton who converted the 2 on 1 with a shot past Jack Watson.

A Wild two man advantage allowed them to take their lone lead of the night when Drew Bavaro blasted a rocket of a one timer over the shoulder of Watson for a 2-1 Wild lead.

Sunday's game forced the Express to raise their pace to a high level to match the energy of the Wild. The Express speed paid dividends for the Express all night. They had a strong finish to the period but weren't unable to come out of the first tied.

The Express kept their up tempo play into the second period. It quickly resulted in a good chance for Gregga in the opening seconds of the second period.

Then the teams began to trade chances up and down the ice. Will Margel found himself on a two on one rush. Margel's shot went high over the net as he tried to beat Chenard over the glove. Seconds later Margel found himself at the side of the net tapping in a Greg Lapointe pass to tie the game at two.

For Margel he has a 8 game point streak with 3 goals and 6 assists.

Ethan O'Rourke has taken on the role of entering the line with Margel and Gregga while Massimo Rizzo is at the World Junior A Challenge. And he's making the most of the opportunity right now.

O'Rourke took a Gregga pass in the neutral zone and powered in from the left wing and holding off a Wild defenceman who had no chance after getting the puck off O'Rourke who tucked it in to give the Express a 3-2 lead. O'Rourke has 3 goals and 2 assists in the last 3 games.

Gregga picked up his third point of the night for some Express insurance early in the third period. He took a great cross ice pass from Brad Ong and was poised roofing a shot over the shoulder of Chenard for a 4-2 Express lead.

From there the Express locked it down as Jack Watson finished with 23 saves for the win.

The win caps off a perfect 8 game home stand for the BCHL's top team.

They will head to Prince George for a pair of games next weekend. The Express can match a franchise record for regular season consecutive wins at 10 set in 06-07 with a win on Friday. The all time Express record for consecutive wins is 13 that was split between the end of the 2005-06 season regular season and into the playoffs. 

Saturday, December 7, 2019


On Coquitlam Comets night, the Express made the alumni in attendance proud by staying undefeated on home ice with a 4-1 win over Trail. Click here for boxscore

This game lacked some marquee names with Massimo Rizzo of the Express and Kent Johnson, Phillipe Lapointe, Owen Ozar and Powell Connor of Trail with Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge.

Chase Dafoe for Trail was among the Smoke Eaters with additional opportunity. He opened the scoring by converting a set up in the slot for a powerplay goal.

The Express used their own powerplay to pull on even terms. Connor Gregga returned to the lineup after attending selection camp for Canada West. He teed up a Will Margel one timer for a 1-1 tie after one period.

Gregga on a a second period powerplay quickly sent a Steven Bellini pass on to the tape of Ethan O'Rourke in front of the net for a tap in and a 2-1 Express lead.

Christian MacDougall was feeling pretty confident heading into the game when I chatted with him in the hall prior to the game. He backed his words up with a strong game personally.

Shortly after O'Rourke's goal MacDougall sped in from the right wing and with one hand on his stick he slid home his second of the season past Logan Terness just under three minutes later.

The Express did a great job Friday really tightening their game up defensively the longer it went along not giving the Smoke Eaters a sniff and sparking hope of a comeback in the third period.

Tyler Schleppe entered the game goalless in his previous 8 games. When the offence isn't there you have to find other ways to contribute. One way to do that is on the penalty kill. In the third period he did a great job to pin the puck deep in the Trial zone to help knock off about 20 seconds of a Christian MacDougall penalty.

Schleppe was then rewarded by teaming up with Brad Ong to dig the puck out of the corner and lifting a backhand past Terness to seal the 4-1 win.

The Express held Trail to just 4 shots in the third period and 11 over the course of the final two periods.

Clay Stevenson made 17 saves for his 20th win of the season. And he extended his personal winning streak to 12 in a row.

The Express extended their winning streak to a season high of 8 games. and they've won 15 of their last 16. The home record improves to 19-0. The overall record now stands at 27-5. They need just one win to match last years total in 58 games.

Wenatchee visits Coquitlam Sunday night to conclude the season high 8 game home stand. 

Monday, December 2, 2019

Sunday, December 1, 2019


The Express needed 59 minutes and 58.2 seconds to keep their undefeated home ice record in tact. They did off the stick of Josh Widlauer's powerplay goal with 1.8 seconds to play to give the Express a 4-3 win over Nanaimo. Click here for boxscore

The teams were without a combined 5 players from their rosters who were off to selection camp for Team Canada West and the World Junior A challenge. The Express were missing Massimo Rizzo and Connor Gregga.

Sunday's game was also the Express annual teddy bear toss. It's hard to quantify of the absence of two forwards and or the anticipation of the teddy bear toss goal and if it helped play a role in some early nerves in the Express game.

A turnover at the Express line allowed Travis Walton to pounce in the puck and snap a shot past the glove of Jack Watson to open the scoring just 2:23 into the contest.

The Express had to dig deep throughout the game to find their rhythm. It started to come as the first period progressed.

Ethan O'Rourke along with Danny Pearson joined Will Margel's line to start the game with Rizzo and Gregga in Calgary. O'Rourke made the most of his opportunity today and he got sent the stuffed animals flying by busting down the wing and snapping a shot past the stick of Jordan Naylor to tie the game at 1.

Cooper Connell came oh so close to giving the Express a 2-1 lead when the puck got behind Naylor and Connell did his best to jam in the bouncing puck lurking in the crease with no luck.

A won battle behind the Express net midway through the second period resulted with the second Clippers lead of the game on a goal from Steve Agriogianis set up by Sean Donaldson.

Again it was Ethan O'Rourke with a key role to help pull the Express even. This time his shot from the right wing was kicked out by Jordan Naylor but Adam Trotman quickly pounced on the rebound to tie the game at two. For Trotman it was his first goal since his two goal effort at the end of October in Nanaimo.

Nanaimo had an answer for an Express tying goal for a third time. Devon Mussio went D to D to Aidan Hansen-Bukata whose seeing eye shot eluded Jack Watson through a screen for a 3-2 Nanaimo lead after two periods.

Sunday's game was Nanaimo's 3rd in as many days with stops in Wenatchee and West Kelowna before coming to Coquitlam.

In the opening seconds of the third period a fall by Steven Bellini allowed Travis Walton to walk in and was denied on a key save by Watson to keep the deficit for the Express at one.

Slowy as the third period went along the tide of the game slowly started to turn in the Express favour. They were spending more time in the offensive zone. Forcing Nanaimo into a number of icing calls. And they were content at times to clear the puck out of their zone by any means necessary while holding on to a one goal lead.

Just shy of the 9 minute mark Brad Ong pulled the Express onto even terms for a third time burying  a rebound set up by Nick Carabin and Will Margel. Margel picked up a pair of helpers for the Express.

Then with just over a minute to play and the Express pressing in the Clippers zone, Josh Wildauer was hauled down behind the net with 1:05 to play for just the second Express powerplay of the game.

The powerplay was patient while waiting for their chance to break the deadlock. It finally came in the dying seconds with Wildauer feeding Steven Bellini at the line and then the puck was back on Wildauer's stick who snapped home the goal that would give the Express their lone lead of the night with 1.8 seconds left on the clock.

The dramatic goal keeps the Express undefeated at home now sitting at 17-0. And it extended their home winning streak to 18 games dating back to game 4 last year vs. Prince George in the first round.

It's now 7 straight wins for the Express and 14 wins in their last 15 games. The Trail Smoke Eaters will visit the Express Friday night in the 7th game of the season high 8 game home stand.