The Coquitlam Express gave their fans exactly what they wanted in their home opener on Friday night. The home team was able to skate away with a 3-2 win in the first meeting of the season between the teams. Darren Hogg received his first ever start in the BCHL for the Rivermen, while reigning player of the week Cole Huggins was in between the pipes for the Express.
In the first period the Express started the scoring early on the power play as John Siemer capitalized on a play great passing play in front. The Rivermen responded a shift later as Viktor Dombrovskiy bagged his first career BCHL goal off a scramble in front of the net. The young Rivermen defenseman drove the net hard and found a loose puck off an Austin Azurdia shot and put it behind Cole Huggins who let in his first goal in three games. After both teams traded power plays back and forth it was the Express taking the lead once again on the power play courtesy of Malcolm Mckinney. Hogg faced a lot of rubber in the frame steering away 18 shots and overall was great in the opening frame. It was a penalty riddled period to say the least as 16 penalty minutes were handed out.
The second period had a lot more flow between the teams as the whistle was put away. Trevor Cope continued his torrid start scoring in his third straight game off a great wrist shot down the right-wing. The Michigan native has been nothing short of impressive since the start of the Showcase and currently leads the team in goals and points. Cope’s marker was the only one in the stanza as the game was tied heading into the third.
Early in the third period, the Rivermen had a two-man advantage but could not put the puck in the net and really turned the momentum into the Express favour. At the 5:25 mark of the period, Brady Shaw scored the go ahead tally due to a very tired group of skaters on the Rivermen side. Alex Kerfoot was able to pick the pocket of a Rivermen defender and set up Shaw alone in front who made no mistake. The Rivermen looked to tie the game on a couple of more power plays, but came up short in defeat.
The Express out shot the Rivermen 42-31 and won the special teams battle going 2/5 on the night. The Rivermen finished 0/6.
In the end I would have to say special teams was the difference in the game. If I had to pick a turning point in the game I would say it would have to of been the Express denying the Rivermen on the five on three advantage in the third period. I can guarantee you that the coaching staff and players are not happy with the effort and will correct the mistakes in time for the home opener next Saturday night.