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. 

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