Saturday, February 29, 2020


Highlights of the Express game 1 5-1 win over Langley in the Mainland division semi final Friday.

Highlights produced by Eddie Gregory.


It was a heated opener of the Express and Rivermen Mainland division semi final. At the end of the night the BCHL's top team prevailed by a 5-1 score to take a 1-0 series lead. Click here for boxscore

Seemingly more often than not when the Express and Rivermen meet the tempers flare up. But Friday went to another level.

The Express went with a new look with Ethan O'Rourke centering Massimo Rizzo and Ryan Tattle. That line gave the Express a good mix of speed and sandpaper. For the most part it was Tattle on that line bringing the sandpaper and he was trying to hit everything he possibly could.

The energy translated to a quick start for the Express. Late in the first period that line had a notable shift of pushing the pace in the Rivermen zone. Massimo Rizzo brought the sandpaper by laying out Brendan Budy with a big hit along the boards. Tattle meanwhile fed the puck back to Joey Berkopec who opened the scoring with a wrist shot over the glove of Jonathan Mor. That capped off an opening period that saw the Express outshoot Langley 15-4.

The waters began to simmer between the teams in the second period. Massimo Rizzo was whistled for a double minor for high sticking. With the second penalty to Rizzo in effect, a Tanner Versluis tripping penalty took Langley off the poweprlay. That would become a consistent theme on this night.

One theme that carried over from the regular season into game 1 is the Express making Langley pay for undisciplined penalties. With Colten Kovich in the box for roughing after the whistle, Rizzo found the scoresheet in the manner he's known for. He ripped a wrist shot past a screened Mor for a 2-0 Express lead.

Langley took themselves off the powerplay for a second time in the middle frame on a Sean Bunting cross checking penalty. On the ensuing Express powerplay Will Margel tapped home a Danny Pearson pass at the edge of the crease for a 3-0 Express lead after two periods.

Things really got wild as the third period went on in game 1. There were too many scrums and roughing situations to all list in this space.

Christian MacDougall made his return to the lineup in game 1. He was right in the middle of a lot of things on this night. His agitating style had Langley players barking at him all night. And the gritty Express forward was eating it all up. Ryan Tattle was also in the mix of a lot of things on this night in addition to using his speed playing alongside Rizzo and O'Rourke.

There was only one fight on this night that saw Tyler Schleppe and Ryan Helliwell drop the gloves with just over 8 minutes to play.

Nick Carabin burying the rebound of his own wraparound just as an Express powerplay came to an end made it 4-0 Express. His goal snapped a 43 game goalless drought for Carabin. His last goal came all the way back on October 23rd vs. Langley.

Massimo Rizzo buried his second powerplay goal and picked up his 4th point of the night midway through the period to open a 5-0 Express lead. Rizzo's two powerplay goals surpasses his regular season total of one with the extra man this season. The Express finished 3 for 9 on the powerplay.

As the third period ticked down while the tempers kept on being riled up, Jack Watson was hoping his playoff debut would result in a shutout. Unfortunately he was denied it when Sean Bunting scored with 55 seconds to play. But that would be the lone blemish on Watson who opened the playoffs with 23 saves.

These teams will have a day off between games 1 and 2 to cool down before the series resumes Sunday night in Coquitlam. 

Monday, February 24, 2020


EXPRESS – 47-9-1-1, 96 PTS., 1st in Mainland division, 1st overall in BCHLRIVERMEN – 23-31-2-1-1, 50PTS., 4th in Mainland division, 13th overall in BCHL 
6-2-0-0 - Express
Sep. 7 @ LA 5-2 Express
Sep. 20 @ LA 6-1 Rivermen
Oct. 12 @ LA 4-1 Express 
Oct. 18 @ LA 2-0 Rivermen
Oct. 23 @ CQ 4-1 Express
Oct. 27 @ CQ 3-1 Express
Jan. 12 @ CQ 8-1 Express
Jan. 31 @ CQ 5-0 Express 
Express – 8-1-1-1, 18 points
Rivermen – 3-7-0-0, 6 points
227 GF, 1st
127 GA, 1st
Diff. +100, 1st
162 GF, 14th
204 GA, 13th
Diff. -42, 13th
PP – 24.4% - 2nd - 66PPG for - 1st
PK – 89.5% - 1st - 29 PPGA - 1st
PP – 16.4% - 16th – 45 PPG for - 10th
PK – 77.8% - 13th - 73 PPGA - 17th
CQ PP – 13/54 – 24.07%
LA PK – 41/54 – 75.93%
LA PP – 7/50 – 14%
CQ PK – 43/50 – 86%
Express – 3-1 OT – 5-1 SO
Rivermen – 3-2 OT – 3-2 SO
Greg Lapointe – 56GP, 29G, 31 A, 60PTS
Josh Wilduaer – 51GP, 22G, 35A, 57PTS
Massimo Rizzo – 42GP 19G, 25A, 44PTS
Adam Trotman – 58GP, 16G, 28A, 44PTS
Connor Gregga – 55GP, 14G, 30A, 44PTS
Brendan Budy – 50GP, 19G, 30A, 49PTS
Jake Livingstone – 52GP, 11G, 38A, 49PTS
Joseph Musa – 56GP, 14G, 21A, 35PTS
Tristan Fraser – 56GP, 13G, 21A, 34PTS
Kalen Szeto – 56GP, 10G, 24A, 34PTS
Jack Watson – 13-4-0, 2.51 GAA, .911 Sv.%, 1SO
Joe Howe – 10-16-0, 3.72 GAA, .896 Sv.%, 1SO
Braedon Fleming – 18-21-2, 3.37 GAA, .879 sv.%, 1SO
Jonathan Mor – 3-6-0, 3.56 GAA, .889 Sv.%, 0SO
Massimo Rizzo – 4G, 7A, 11PTS
Connor Gregga – 3G, 8A, 11PTS
Greg Lapointe – 5G, 4A, 9PTS
Adam Trotman – 3G, 4A, 7PTS
Drew Cooper – 2G, 4A, 6PTS
Ethan O'Rourke – 3G, 1A, 4PTS
Josh Wildauer – 1G, 3A, 4PTS
Jake Livingston – 2G, 2A, 4PTS
Kalen Szeto – 2G, 2A, 4PTS
Tristan Fraser – 2G, 2A, 4PTS
Brendan Budy – 0G, 4A, 4PTS
Tanner Versluis – 2G, 1A, 3PTS
Joseph Musa – 0G, 3A, 3PTS
Will Dow-Kenny – 1G, 1A, 2PTS
Both Jack Watson and Joe Howe didn't play vs. Langley in 19-20Braedon Fleming – 8GP, 2-5-0, 3.18 GAA, .870 Sv.%
Jonathan Mor – 2GP, 0-1, 5.95 GAA, .826 Sv.%

Wednesday, February 19, 2020


The Surrey Eagles picked up a huge road win by a 3-1 score over the Express in their pursuit of home ice in the first round of the playoffs. Click here for boxscore

The game was the final regular season home game for the Express. They finished the year with a franchise best home record of 26-3 on the season.

Ryan Tattle made his return to the lineup after missing 4 plus months of action with a broken leg. He played the whole night with plenty of pent up energy. He took the opening face-off to start the game and got a rise from the Express bench after winning it. And had some of the better Express chances on the night.

Joe Howe for the Express and Thomas Scarfone for the Eagles held firm keeping the game scoreless after 1 period with 14 saves for Scarfone and 8 saves for Joe Howe.

The deadlock was broken early in the second with Wyatt Schlatt in the slot beating Howe with a shot past his glove.

Howe bounced back with a number of key stops in the second period to keep the Express deficit at one.

At the other end the Express got pucks to the Surrey goal, but the top notch chances weren't always there.

Steven Bellini pulled the Express even in the opening minute of the third period with a delayed penalty in effect snapping a shot home for his 8th of the season.

The game remained tied for only 56 seconds as Carter King finished off a two on one with a shot past the stick of Joe Howe.

The best chance for the Express to pull even was a Greg Lapointe penalty shot. He went to his backhand without much speed and Scarfone kept it out. The Surrey netminder finished with 29 saves in the Eagles crease.

Carter King would add his second of the night in the dying seconds into an empty net to round out the scoring.

The win for Surrey combined with Chilliwack's loss to Salmon Arm Wednesday pulls the teams even in points with both teams having one game left in their season. Both vs. Langley. Surrey has two more wins than Chilliwack. The winner will have home ice advantage in their upcoming series.

For the Express they will play their final two games of the regular season up in Prince George.

They will begin the playoffs next Friday vs. Langley.

Sunday, February 16, 2020


Massimo Rizzo scored twice and added an assist as the Express picked up their 45th win of the season by a 5-2 score Saturday in Trail.

The win extended the Express winning streak to four and was the 7th win in the last 8 games.

9 minutes into the first Rizzo and James Bohn teamed up to set up affiliate player KT Walters who buried his first BCHL goal to open the scoring. Just under two minutes later Michael Colella chipped a puck over Jack Watson to pull Trail onto even terms after one period.

Watson finished with 32 saves in the Express crease. Some of his best work came in the second period. He reached out with the blocker to take away what appeared to be a tap in for Owen Ozar on a chance off the rush.

A few minutes later Watson would get the better of Ozar again when he cut past an Express defender then cut to the net and Watson held out Ozar's backhand.

Saturday was the first time the Express would face BCHL scoring leader Kent Johnson live in the flesh. The Port Moody native had his moments of trying to create cute plays through the night. But the Express all night long kept him in check to prevent him from hitting the scoresheet.

At one end Johnson found the puck near the front of the Express net. Johnson tried to be fancy and shoot the puck between his legs. The chance didn't materialize in much. Massimo Rizzo followed the play the other way and swatted at the puck from below the goal line and banked it in off Logan Terness to give the Express a 2-1 lead.

In the third Watson stood tall as Trail pushed to pull even with 17 shots. But the Express did a good job to help support their goaltender.

Adam Trotman was leaned on heavily this weekend for his defensive prowess. He then teamed up with Brad Ong midway through the third on a give and go to give the Express a 3-1 lead.

Four minutes later Connor Gregga found a trailing Danny Pearson who snapped a shot inside the post to open the Express lead to 4-1.

Walker Erickson with a backhand shaved the Express lead to 4-2 with 2:28 to play.

But Rizzo capped off his three point night by hitting the empty net in the final seconds of the game.

The Express will come home for their final home game of the regular season Wednesday night vs. Surrey.

And their first round playoff opponent has been determined when Langley defeated the Prince George Spruce Kings in overtime Sunday setting up a first round match up with the Rivermen. 

Saturday, February 15, 2020


Graphic by Jacob Lazare
For the first time in Express history they will finish with the top record in the BCHL after a 3-2 win over the Penticton Vees at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

The Express did it by securing the win while Penticton was making a hard charge to try and catch the Express. The Vees had won 10 in a row and 14 of their last 15 coming into the game.

The first meeting of the season between the teams saw some fireworks that were sparked in part by the 7-2 decision in favour of the Express. Friday's game was more reserved with much more at stake.

The first period was dead even between the two teams. The shots finished 13 apiece. And the teams traded goals. Adam Trotman at the edge of the goal crease converted a Josh Wildauer pass for a powerplay goal to open the scoring for the Express. That was followed 1:41 later by Lukas Sillinger tying the game for Penticton finishing off a give and go with David Silye and snapping his 20th of the season past the glove of Clay Stevenson.

Pentiction began to pepper the Express net in the second period. But the backbone of the Express Clay Stevenson was there to calm the waters. He was beaten once in the second period on a one timer by Jay O'Brien to give the Vees their lone lead of the night.

From then on Stevenson shut the door with 22 saves in the middle frame. His best sequence coming with 4 saves in about a 30 second span.

The powerplay pulled the Express on even terms with Cooper Connell at the side of the net burying his 17th of the season past Yaniv Perets.

Entering the third tied at two, the Express on the road simplified and locked the game down. Hoping to find the goal they need for the regulation win necessary for finishing first overall.

That goal came three minutes into the period thanks to a great pass by Noah De La Durantaye to spring Greg Lapointe on a breakaway and he slid home a backhand past Perets for his team leading 28th of the season and a 3-2 Express lead. Lapointe finished with 1 goal and 2 assists.

Then the Express locked the game down and slowed the pace down to slowly allow the clock to begin to tick down.

They did push for some insurance. Most notably Cooper Connell was down right robbed on a two on one by a marvellous glove save by Yanniv Perets. Then Lapointe was stoned by Perets on a another breakaway.

At the other end Clay Stevenson was less busy. But his best save of the final frame came on a re-direction off the rush by Stephen Holtz and Stevenson got his pad down on that one.

The final minute came with the Vees making one final push, but the hard work the Express had put in all season to get to this point rose to the occasion as the Express held on for the win to clinch the Ron Boileau trophy for the first time in the 19 season history of the Express.

Friday's game was Clay Stevenson's last game in an Express uniform. And he went out in style by getting the win to clinch the best record in the league. He also surpassed Kevin Jebson by becoming the first goalie in Express history to win 30 games in a season.

Stevenson's season will truly go down not only as the best in Express history by a goaltender. He had an all time best season for a BCHL netminder. His 1.77 GAA and .936 save percentage are the second lowest marks in league history.

Graphic by Jacob Lazare
He did not suffer a loss in regulation time after October 18th in Langley. And he was undefeated on home ice.

The Express will travel to Trail Saturday night to face Kent Johnson and the Smoke Eaters. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020


For a second consecutive Tuesday night on the road the Express put 9 on the board. This time by a score of 9-2 over the Merritt Centennials. Click here for boxscore

This game quite frankly was never going to be close on paper. The league leading Express entered the game 60 points up on the Merritt Centennials who sit dead last in the BCHL.

Early on however the gap between the teams didn't seem so wide. Daniel Tkac opened the scoring just 1:10 into the game snapping a shot past Jack Watson.

It took a little while for the Express to settle in and turn the game in their favour. When they did they never looked back.

Greg Lapointe pulled the Express even finishing off a 2 on 1 with Cooper Connell. Shortly thereafter the Express thought they had taken the lead. Noah De La Durantaye finished off a rush chance. But the goal was waved off after contact in the crease with Merritt goaltender Ryan Winter.

The 2-1 goal did eventually come when Will Margel scored just 5 seconds into a powerplay.

After Josh Wildauer had opened up a 3-1 Express lead, one of the wildest sequences i've ever seen occurred.

Merritt lobbed the puck into the Express zone. The puck took a crazy bounce from the high slot and went flying up in the air. Jack Watson went down to block the dump in. Then the bounce caught him off guard, but luckily the puck clanged off the crossbar and stayed out. Quickly the Express went the other way and Wyatt Head scored off the rush for a 4-1 Express lead. AP's KT Walters and Christian Lowe picked up the assists. The goal chased Ryan Winter after four goals on ten shots.

Cooper Connell greeted Tanner Marshall into the game by scoring his 16th of the season for a 5-1 lead after 1.

Danny Pearson scored for a third straight game burying the rebound of a Adam Trotman shot that hit the post for a 6-1 Express advantage. Pearson has 3 goals and 4 assists for 7 points in his 5 games since returning from injury.

The one downside for the Express was Tyler Schleppe delivering a big hit in the second period that was ruled to be a major for a blow to the head. He has received the automatic two game suspension according to the Junior A Supplement.

Rylan Van Unen scored a nice end to end rush for a shorthanded goal to interrupt the Express run of offence.

But late in the period the lead was back to 5 on a powerplay goal by Adam Trotman deflecting a Wyatt Head point shot.

In the third Greg Lapointe added his second of the game and Connor Gregga rounded out the scoring.

13 skaters in total picked up points for the Express. 11 players had multi point nights. That includes AP's KT Walters and Christian Lowe who each had two assists.

Jack Watson finished with 27 saves.

The win opened up a four point lead for the Express over Penticton for first overall in the BCHL. And now the stage is set for the two teams to meet for the second time this season Friday night in Penticton.

For the Express the focus is simple, a regulation win will clinch first overall and the Ron Boileau trophy for the Express for the first time in team history. 

Sunday, February 9, 2020


Joe Howe picked up his first win in an Express uniform and it came at the expense of his former team the Victoria Grizzlies by a 6-3 score. Click here for boxscore

Howe's former mates weren't kind early on. Jake Veilliux snapped home a shot from the point off a won face-off to open the scoring for Victoria.

The powerplay pulled the Express even 13 minutes into the frame. Connor Gregga came out of the box after serving a penalty and went right to the net. When he got there, a Will Margel pass was on his tape for Gregga to tap home to tie the game.

Both teams played a fast paced opening period. The second period saw the Express lay their foot on the gas. 31 seconds into the period Danny Pearson tipped home a Massimo Rizzo shot for Pearson's 2nd goal in as many games. Pearson has two goals and two assists since his return to the lineup. Steven Bellini made his return after missing the previous 11 games. He picked up the second assist on the Pearson goal.

Joe Howe planted the flag of his new alliance to the Express in the second period. He stared down and denied Andrew Amousse on a second period breakaway to keep the Express in a 2-1 lead.

Drew Cooper has been such a vital cog on the Express blueline all season long. Most notably being the most reliable blue liner all season. He had his share of strong plays defensively Saturday. Throughout the year he's quietly racked up his share of points. Saturday he scored for a third straight game taking a pass from Tyler Schleppe and snapping a shot past Blake Wood who barely moved on the 3-1 Express goal.

Then it was another AP contribution. Gabriel Parent on a 2 on 1 snapped home his first BCHL goal over the glove of Howe for a 4-1 Express lead through two periods. The Express have 3 goals from affiliate players in their last 5 games.

It was a back and forth third period. James Davenport 1:40 into the third period blasted a shot past Howe to cut the lead to 4-2.

Wyatt Head had numerous clean looks in the third period. He ripped a shot bar down at 6:38 for his 3rd Express goal for a 5-2 Express lead.

Henri Schriefels at the edge of the Express crease tipped home a Cody Monds pass to cut the lead down to two.

Then with exactly one minute to go in the third period Josh Wildauer tipped a Drew Cooper shot to round out the scoring. The Express captain had his second consecutive 1 goal and 2 assist performance.

The win put the Express back into a four point lead on the Penticton Vees for 1st place in the overall standings. Penticton had the night off. They will play Sunday afternoon vs. West Kelowna. The Express have 6 games left in their season. The Vees have 5.

Saturday was the second to last home game for the Express. They will hit the road this week with visits to Merritt Tuesday, then in Penticton and Trail Friday and Saturday.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020


Photo courtesy of Kaicee Trott
8 different players found the back of the net as the Express scored a season high for goals in a game as they dropped the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 9-4. Click here for boxscore

The game was made up after the original date in November was postponed due to arena issues that shutdown the Weyerhauser Arena for nearly two weeks.

Alberni Valley got the early jump on the Express thanks to a stretch pass that connected with Stephen Castagna and he beat Jack Watson on a breakaway to open the scoring.

AP Ryan Strange pulled the Express even midway through the period burying the rebound of a Drew Cooper point shot to bury his first BCHL goal.

That goal sparked the Express to find their legs as the first period went along.

Tuesday was a career night for Cooper Connell. He got his night going sliding a backhand past Luke Pearson to give the Express a 2-1 lead heading to the second period.

Photo courtesy of Kaicee Trott
Early in the second period Alberni Valley had the 2-2 goal waved off after it was ruled to be swatted in with a high stick.

It was at this point the Express never looked back.

Nick Carabin showed good vision to find open ice and dance into the slot then dish a feed to Danny Pearson who snapped home a one timer for his first goal since returning to the lineup opening up a 3-1 Express lead.

Massimo Rizzo and Josh Wildauer finished off great feeds exactly a minute apart to break the game open for the Express and a 5-1 lead by the midway mark of the period.

The scoring run for the Express was interrupted on a goal by Austin Spiridakis finishing off a two on one break.

The lead was back to four for the Express when former Alberni Valley Bulldog Brag Ong roofed home his 12th of the season.

In the third Connell helped finish off another high end passing play that saw Josh Wildauer finish on the business end with his second of the night and a 7-2 Express lead.

5 minutes Greg Lapointe took a stick in the face and a penalty was on the way to the Bulldogs. In the meantime Drew Cooper blasted home 9th of the season. Lapointe would get his revenge shortly there after. Cooper Connell picked up his third assist of the night and finished with a four point night.

Photo courtesy of Kaicee Trott
After Jackson Munro cut the lead to 8-3, Lapointe returned and found the puck on his stick and took out his frustration from the high stick by ripping his 25th of the season post and in for the 9th Express goal of the night.

Grayson Valente would wire a slap shot past Jack Watson to round out the scoring. It would snap a run of 34 straight successful kills for the Express penalty killing. Jack Watson would finish with 30 saves to pick up his 10th win of the season.

The Express return home Saturday when the Victoria Grizzlies come to town.

Saturday, February 1, 2020


Graphic by Jacob Lazare.
Clay Stevenson made 29 saves for his 4th shutout of the season and his 6th in his regular season career as the Express blanked Langley 5-0. Click here for boxscore

For Stevenson, his 6th career regular season shutout passes Cole Huggins for the most all time in Express history. His 4th shutout this season ties Matthew Gordon for most in a single season. It was also his 29th win of the season which tied Kevin Jebson for most wins in a season by a goaltender in Express history.

Langley came out hitting trying to set an early tone. Most notably Massimo Rizzo was on the receiving end of a double team hit in the neutral zone. But it would be long until Langley wasn't able to keep up with the Carolina Hurricanes pick.

Joey Berkopec opened the scoring for the Express just past the 5 minute mark snapping a shot over the glove of Braedon Fleming. For Berkopec it was his first goal in an Express uniform since being acquired from Merritt.

Massimo Rizzo had been very dangerous in the last few games for the Express. But he wasn't getting the pay off by finding the back of the net with the hard work he was putting in to generate chances.

Tonight he broke through. Just past the 11 minute mark he converted a Greg Lapointe pass tipping home his first of the night. The goal chased Fleming after just two goals on four shots.

Greg Lapointe and Danny Pearson both returned to the lineup after missing time with injuries. Lapointe's impact was immediate as he had a number of good chances in the first period.

Jonathan Mor came in the Langley net following the 2-0 goal. Late in the period he had no chance handing a wicked Rizzo wrist shot for a 3-0 Express lead after one.

Danny Pearson had his share of chances during the night in his return to the lineup. He picked up an assist in his return with a shot that wound up in the feet of Mor and was tucked home in the goal crease by Brad Ong. It was the third goal in the last two games for Ong.

Stevenson only had to make 6 saves in the second period. But he got some help in the period to keep Langley off the board when a loose puck in the crease that Stevenson couldn't find right away was cleared just as Stevenson found the puck and was in the process of covering it.

In the third, not only did Stevenson had to fight off Langley shooters. He had to endure a few collisions in the crease. The second one he had Sean Bunting hit on top of the Express goaltender as Noah De La Durantaye hustled back to get into the play and levelled the Langley forward.

The contact didn't deter the Express goaltender in his pursuit of his 4th shutout of the season.

Rizzo meanwhile had his share of chances in the second period to get his 3rd of the night. Then when he was not trying to finish off the hat-trick he was able to cap it off. On a two on one with Nick Carabin, Rizzo's pass for the Express defenceman ended up going in off a Langley defenceman for Rizzo's second hat-trick of the season.

Friday's game was loaded with penalties. The Express were 0 for 9 on the powerplay. But they were a perfect 8 for 8 on the penalty kill. Friday's effort will move the Express back into the top spot in the overall BCHL penalty killing rankings.

Saturday will see the Express hit the road for their lone visit of the season to Wenatchee.