Sunday, December 7, 2014


Merritt Saturday night dropped a 8-7 goal fest in overtime in Victoria. Sunday they were in another goal fest this time knocking off the Express 8-5 Sunday.

Michael Ederer and Gavin Gould each scored a pair of goals for the Cents to help pace their attack. Jivan Sidhu and Corey Mackin each struck twice for the Express in the losing effort.

Merritt showed little signs of coming off back to back games on the Island right from the start of the game. They had the jump on the Express early and were setting the pace.

Merritt sent a message to the Express early that they were serious about keeping a close eye on BCHL scoring leader Corey Mackin as he was levelled three mintues into the game by Josh Teves. There was nothing wrong with the hit, but it showed that the opposition knew who to focus on when facing the Express and make him earn any free ice he was going to get. Mackin bounced back from the hit, he didn't miss a shift. But that hit shifted the Express focus who spent more time early in the first period trying to get retribution for the hit rather than playing the game.

That lack of focus led to the game's first powerplay and Merritt quickly took advantage as Ederer scored his first of the afternoon just 7 seconds into the powerplay. That goal would be the only strike of the first period as the Express were only able to muster 5 shots in the first period.

Merritt carried over their strong start into the opening minutes of the second period buzzing in the Express end. Gavin Gould scored his first of two on the day for a 2-0 Cents lead.

That goal woke the Express up who began to turn the tide. Jivan Sidhu got Coquitlam on the board as he blasted home a slap shot off the post and in 48 seconds after Gould's goal.

Following that goal the Express had their best run of play Sunday. Building momentum and getting chances in the Cents zone. Corey Mackin found himself free of some pretty tight Merritt checking and snapped home a quick pass from former Centennial Brendan Lamont to even the score at two.

Another story from Sunday was Merritt's ability to have a good response following Express goals.

Jake Clifford and Colin Grannary scored 2:14 apart before the second period was done to give Merritt a 4-2 lead after 40.

Mackin pulled the Express back within one in the opening minute of the third period as he again snapped home a quick Lamont pass for a powerplay goal and the 30th of the season for the BCHL scoring leader.

Again Merritt responded as Ederer scored his second of the game for a 5-3 lead and the goals started really coming fast and furious in the third period.

Noah Turanski diving at a loose puck poked home his 2nd of the season and first since the second game of the season to cut the lead back to one at 5-4 with just over 13 minutes to go.

As much as the Express tried to make it a game, this was Merritt's contest. They put the game away with goals 23 seconds apart by Gavin Gould and John Schiavo for a 3 goal Merritt advantage. Those two goals essentially were the final blows to finish the Express off before the two teams finished the game by trading goals one last time off the sticks of Jivan Sidhu for his second of the game and Cole Chorney to round out the scoring.

It was the second straight game the Express played without forwards Joey Santucci, Colton Kerfoot and Cam Bertsch and their absence looked more prominent Sunday than it did in Wednesday's game vs. Surrey.

Next up for the Express are a pair of road games Friday in Chilliwack and Saturday in West Kelowna

Thursday, December 4, 2014


The Express posted their second consecutive win by knocking off the Surrey Eagles by a 5-3 score Wednesday night.

The win was the fourth straight win for the Express over their mainland division foes.

Coming off a 13 point weekend in Prince George, the top line of Corey Mackin, Brett Supinski and Brendan Lamont were at it again Wednesday.

That trio teamed up for the games opening goal as Lamont dropped it for Mackin who found Supinski going to the net and he tapped the feed into the net for his first of two on the night get the Express rolling.

With the difficult season Surrey has had, they certainly deserve credit for their ability to battle. They gave the Express a solid test right to the very end tonight.

Latrell Charleson evened the score at one as he took a pass from Joe Drapluk and a shot was wired over the shoulder of Chris Tai.

The end of the first period had a wild finish to it. Corey Mackin scored his 5th shorthanded goal of the season to give the Express a 2-1 lead at 19:39. That goal was the BCHL scoring leader's 100th career point in the BCHL. But just as quickly as the Express took the lead Surrey tied it on Joe Drapluk's powerplay goal 10 seconds later to see the score even at two after 20 minutes.

Drapluk was Surrey's most dangerous player Wednesday. He capped off a two goal and one assist performance by scoring his second of the night three minutes into the second period on a two on one down low in the Express zone.

Brett Supinski pulled the Express even five minutes later as he beat Daniel Davidson with a wrist shot over the blocker on the powerplay at 8:36.

Chris Tai turned aside 28 of 31 Surrey shots for his 8th win of the season. His best save came at a key time late in the second period as he came to his right to deny a Darius Davidson one timer. That save proved to be key as the middle period came to an end.

Moments later Owen Stout showed good poise and patience carrying the puck in the Surrey zone and finding Jackson Cressey who showed good poise and patience of his own to out wait Daniel Davidson to slide home his 7th of the season to give the Express a 4-3 lead going to the third period. The line of Stout, Cressey and Daniell Lange really got a boost following that goal creating good energy and chances for the Express in the final period.

It was the secondary scoring that carried the Express over the top and get the win after the big guns had done their thing.

Michael Merulla gave the Express some insurance by scoring his first BCHL goal with just over 6 minutes remaining. Merulla is starting to find his offensive touch in the BCHL with his first goal after picking up three helpers last weekend in Prince George.

The win for the Express handed Surrey their 16th consecutive loss. The Express return to action Sunday afternoon when they host the Merritt Centennials.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


The Alberni Valley Bulldogs extended their winning streak to four games and completed a sweep of a very tough Mainland division road trip with a 4-1 win over the Express Sunday. The loss for the Express was their second in a row after falling 2-1 Saturday in Chilliwack.

If Alberni Valley was fatigued following games Friday in Prince George then playing in Surrey Saturday it didn't show at the start as they got the early jump on the Express. The visitors opened the scoring late in the opening frame when the puck got poked past Corey Mackin working the point on the power play and Dylan Haugen scored on a shorthanded breakaway goal.

Chris Tai may have been on the losing end for the Express, but it wasn't from the lack of a very solid game. His quickness with his legs and agility on the 37 shots he faced resulted in another solid game in the crease to keep his team within striking distance all night. Similar to the effort he put forth the night before.

If there's one theme that stands out from the last two outings from the Express has been the lack of quality scoring chances and setting the tempo. Most notably where that stands out were the inability for the Express to hit double digits in shots in a period in their last two games with the exception of the third period Sunday.

Two minutes into the second the Bulldogs extended their lead when Josh Adkins was able to find a loose puck and jam it under Tai at 2:21.

Shortly thereafter the Express were able to break through for their lone goal as Corey Mackin was able to find some free ice and get behind the Bulldogs defense to score his 25th of the season. But it has been a bit of tough go for the Express top line recently as their time and space has been harder to find with tighter checking from their opposition.

Chris Schultz's power play goal at 15:56 restored Alberni Valley's two goal lead on a bomb of a one timer that Chris Tai had little chance of keeping out.

The Express best chance to get back in the game came late in the second period with a 5 on 3 advantage for 1:15 but nothing came out of it as the Express went 0 for 6 while up a man.

Billy Christopoulos wasn't overly busy Sunday finishing with 24 saves. Possibly his best save came off Brett Supinski midway through the second as Christopoulos got his left pad down on a scramble in front.

Justin Merreck put the game on ice for good with an empty netter in the final seconds. Then before the teams could line up for the face-off Brendan Gulka has his emotions get the best of him as he had words for the Bulldogs bench and the Express forward needed to be restrained by an official as he was led off the ice.

Next weekend the Express hit the road for a pair of games in Prince George.

Friday, November 21, 2014


Express take a page out of the Toronto Maple Leafs book and salute the fans... Oh wait a moment the Leafs don't do that.
Coquitlam picked up their first win in four tries vs. the Chilliwack Chiefs with a 3-1 decision on home ice Friday.

It was the blue line on back that led the charge for the Express Friday with a pair of goals from defencemen and a solid effort from goaltender Chris Tai.

Rookie blueliner Cole Bevan got things started for the Express when he found himself with the puck on his stick in the slot on a pass from Colton Kerfoot and Bevan scored his first BCHL goal to finish off an odd man rush after Tipper Higgins for Chilliwack couldn't convert a 2 on 1 at the other end.
Chris Tai turned aside 33 of 34 Chiefs shots for his 6th win with the Express. His best save may have come in the opening seconds of the second period when he came to his left to deny Higgins who was set up by Craig Puffer.

Daniel Fritz added to the Express attack from the blue line scoring a power play goal with a slap shot of a rolling puck that beat Aiden Pelino at 3:18. Four of Fritz's six goals this season have come on the power play.

Midway through the second period penalties to Cole Bevan and Anthony Gardner 12 seconds apart gave Chilliwack a key must score 5 on 3 advantage. And they did exactly that as Ryan Bowen showed good patience after receiving a pass then making sure to bury it over a sprawled out Chris Tai for Bowen's fourth goal of the season. That would be the only puck to beat Tai in the second period who turned aside the other 11 shots sent his way in the second period.

Cody Boyd's value to the Express as i've said numerous times isn't always measured in points on the scoresheet despite what his recent offensive production will tell you. It's his physical play, and that was very much on display Friday night. He played like a truck with a driver consumed by road rage. And he was taking his anger out on Chilliwack players. A number of guys were on the receiving end of big, body jolting, board rattling hits that left players worse for wear following the hit.

The third period most notably is where the Express penalty killing helped the team earn the two points. They were able to kill off three Chilliwack power plays in the final 12 minutes of the game to keep the Express ahead by a goal until Corey Mackin put the game away with his third shorthanded goal of the season into an empty net with just over two minutes to play. The Express killed off 5 of 6 Chilliwack power plays Friday.

But the story of the game wasn't done there until Chris Tai made a number of other great saves to put the final touches on the Express victory.

The two teams will go at it again Saturday night in Chilliwack.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


November 7 vs. Surrey.

November 9 vs. Chilliwack.

Highlights courtesy of Jorge Parra and Underdog Productions.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Chilliwack survived a scare of blowing a 4-0 lead but in the end prevailed 5-4 in double overtime over the Express snapping their winning streak at 5.

It was an interesting game to say the least with the comeback and the shorthanded goals.

More on those in a moment.

It started with a bang as Jordan Kawaguchi with little resistance was able to dance past the Express defense and score just 44 seconds in to get the visitors off on the right foot.

The remainder of the period was fairly even with Chilliwack holding a 11-9 edge in shots.

Then things got interesting for sure.

Chilliwack was on the receiving end of penalty calls, but they were able to do something I've never seen anywhere.

They scored three straight shorthanded goals on three straight shorthanded situations. Jake Hand on a wrist shot from the left wing followed by Ryan Bowen on a breakaway and Jordan Kawaguchi's second of the game on a two on none scored shorthanded markers in a span of 5:38 to open up a 4-0 Chiefs lead.

One shorthanded goal in a game is tough enough to stomach let alone three in row.

If you're looking for signs how this Express team has grown in recent weeks it's how they responded to it.

Cody Boyd and Jackson Cressey scored to cut the lead in half.

Late in the second period a shot by Brendan Lamont may have either hit the post, or the red metal in the back of the net and the puck came out. The red light came on, but after minimal argument from the Express they play wasn't discussed further and the Express went to the room down two.

Coquitlam did outshoot Chilliwack 16-10 in the second period. Then they raised their game even further in the third looking for the equalizer.

BCHL player of the week Corey Mackin added to his BCHL lead with his 23rd goal and 40th point for a power play marker midway through the frame to cut the lead to one.

Due to injuries up front the Express dressed 7 defenceman giving Nic Coltura a chance to draw back in the lineup. And he certainly earned all the ice time he got. He had a very strong outing for the Express in both ends of the rink. He quickly fired up a pass to Joey Santucci who had a wide open lane to the net catching Chilliwack on a bad change and the captain scored on a backhand to tie the score at 4.

After an uneventful first overtime, the second stanza saw the game decided on a two on one for the Chiefs with Kurt Black finishing off the pass from Jake Larson for the game winner.

The power plays were pretty one sided in the Express favour with the Express finishing 2 for 9 while the Chiefs only had two powerplays and couldn't convert.

Coquitlam now hits the road for games this weekend in Trail and Salmon Arm.


Highlights from the Express 5-4 win over Salmon Arm.

Highlights courtesy of Jorge Parra and Underdog Productions.