The Coquitlam Express got some steam Friday and with a 2-1 win Saturday night they kicked it into second gear now with a 2-0 series lead.
The Rivermen couldn’t be upset with the way they played in game one, at least for the most part, and so the objective was to have another solid start and gain momentum. There was no chance to do so to start game two, however, as early undisciplined penalties cost the Riv with the Express striking less than three minutes in as Zach Hodder got his second of the playoffs on the power play. Captain Ryan Rosenthal earned his sixth of the post-season in the final minute of the period, one-timing a Bo Pieper pass.
Despite some good chances, the Rivermen couldn’t solve Gordie Defiel through two periods.
Former Rivermen Mark Whiteley got crunched between Gage Torrel and Evan Anderson behind the Coquitlam goal early in the third on what seemed to be an awkward play and nothing more. Whiteley was shaken up and did not return to the game. While no initial penalty was called, an officials conference all of a sudden handed Anderson a five minute major for a blow to the head and a game misconduct. The Riv penalty killers were faced with a tall task but lived up to it, killing off the major and followed it up soon after with their lone goal of the game. Kevan Kistoff snapped home his second of the playoffs after Tyson Witala made a nice backhand feed from the slot.
The Rivermen continued to press late in the game and put out the extra attacker but could not find the equalizer.
Once again the Rivermen power play was shut down by the Express. Defiel made 36 saves and while he was solid between the pipes, the Rivermen once again routinely shot from the outside and gave him sight on nearly every puck.
Not to be lost in the shuffle is the play of Brock Crossthwaite who turned aside 33 shots and did his part.
Just as in game one, game two’s loss wasn’t for lack of effort on the Rivermen’s part but rather the Express making good on more of their opportunities.
The Rivermen will get a chance to return the favour when the series shifts to Coquitlam for game three Monday night.
Innovative Fitness Langley 3 Stars
1 – Ryan Rosenthal (1G, 1A)
2 – Gordie Defiel (W, 36 saves)
3 – Kevan Kilistoff (1G, was once again the most consistent Rivermen forward)