|Photo courtesy of Todd Pederson.|
The 2014 Fred Page Cup champions improved to 2-0 at the Crescent Point Energy Western Canada cup with a 2-1 win over the MJHL champion Winnipeg Blues.
Coquitlam started fast, then had to battle hard in the end to earn the victory.
The Express were flying in the opening 20 minutes getting plenty of pucks on Winnipeg goaltender Byron Spriggs. They were also able to create many second chance opportunities for themselves off rebounds.
One of the best chances for the Express early was a 2 on 1 for Ryan Rosenthal and Corey Mackin, the captain laid a pass across the crease to Mackin and some how the puck stayed out of the net.
The chances kept coming, Joey Santucci rang a shot off the post on a pass to the side of the net, Adam Rockwood also had a great chance off a rebound but neither opportunity was converted.
Ryan Rosenthal opened the scoring 14 minutes in as he came down the right wing with speed and fired a wrist shot that got through the arm and body of Spriggs for Rosenthal's 3rd goal of this Western Canada Cup.
The Express did convert one of the many rebound opportunities they had in the final minute when Brendan Lamont scored on the rebound of a Zach Hodder shot for a 2-0 Express lead.
Coquitlam outshot the Blues 15-6 in the first period.
Winnipeg pulled within one midway through the second period on the power play with Clay Tait setting up Warren Callis on a two on one down low at 10:16.
The third period saw the Express lock it down in an effort to protect their 1 goal lead.
Players were sacrificing their bodies blocking shots, and diving to get the puck out of the defensive zone to keep the Express in the lead the rest of the way.
Gordie Defiel who was named the Express player of the game continued his very strong play with a 32 save performance. And like he has especially since the start of the Fred Page Cup final he is at his best in the third period with the game on the line. Tonight vs. Winnipeg was a great example of that. He turned aside all 15 Blues shots in the final 20 minutes.
Coquitlam now sits atop of the standings at the Western Canada Cup at 2-0 with each team having played one game.
Winnipeg is now in a 3 way tie with Yorkton and Dauphin at 1-1. Spruce Grove is 0-2.
The Express don't play Tuesday and return to action Wednesday vs. the Yorkton Terriers (SJHL) at 5PM Pacific time.