Coming off a nail biter victory over the Chilliwack Chiefs in their home opener, the Coquitlam Express were looking to do everything in their power to remain atop the Mainland Division standings with a win over the Prince George Spruce Kings. Wouldn’t you know it, heading into Sunday afternoon’s game, the Express and the Spruce Kings were tied for first in their division with six points apiece.
The Express came out victorious by a score of 5-1. The shots were 35-13 in favour of the Express. This one was a much different game than the one we saw on Saturday evening, but it was another thrilling victory for the Express nonetheless.
Before the Spruce Kings even managed to get their first shot of the game, they were awarded a penalty shot after Express forward Ryan Tattle hauled down Thomas Richter, who found himself on a breakaway. Clay Stevenson made a nice save to keep it scoreless, and was thanked by Tattle right away.
It was all Express to start this one, as Coquitlam continued its’ hard forechecking style that was most noticeable in the third period of Saturday night’s win over the Chiefs. The Express were leading 14-0 in the shot department after 20 minutes of play, but the game still remained scoreless.
The Express struck first with the opening tally of the game just a little under five minutes into the second period of play. It was a wrist shot from the high slot off the stick of James Bohn, with Coquitlam native Tattle picking up the only assist on Bohn’s first goal in the BCHL.
The Express kept the pressure on, and just three minutes after Bohn’s marker, looked ready to score once again. They had control of the puck in the Spruce Kings zone for a good two minutes, but it was shot down when Brad Ong took a tripping penalty as he tried to set a pick for his teammate.
The Express killed off the penalty, and Ong received a partial breakaway pass from Steven Bellini upon stepping out of the sin bin. Ong angled off the Spruce Kings defender and found a way to get the puck through the legs of Jack McGovern with just one hand on his stick.
With two minutes left to go in the second period, the Express managed to increase its lead to three thanks to a power play goal from Danny Pearson, with Greg Lapointe and Adam Trotman picking up assists on the play.
More Rough Stuff
The Express is a team which is playing well to begin the 2019-20 campaign, and is playing a rather physical brand of hockey. Coquitlam captain Drew Cooper dropped the gloves with Carter Cochrane against PG. Both players landed some heavy blows, but Cooper appeared to be the winner of this tilt.
The Spruce Kings fared better in the second period, getting four quality chances off on Express goaltender Stevenson, who was up to the challenge every time, standing his ground and preserving his team’s three goal lead.
The Spruce Kings were given a good chance to get back in the game when Joseph Borthwick got a five minute major for kneeing. The Express had two glorious opportunities shorthanded and converted on the second opportunity, after Tyler Schleppe broke down the right side with a head of steam and fed Danny Pearson a hard cross-crease pass for a tap in goal right in front.
Addison Macey, playing his first BCHL game, made his presence felt with a thunderous check that crunched Prince George forward Andrew Seaman trying to speed past him along the boards.
— Eddie Gregory (@EddieGregory81) September 23, 2019
The Spruce Kings picked up their first goal of the game 10 minutes into the third, but it was answered shortly after when Cooper Connell scored his first goal of the season with a slick move on a breakaway and roofed the backhander past McGovern.
The Express is now 2-and-0 thus far on its five game homestand, which continues on Wednesday as they Merritt Centennials pay a visit to the Poirier Sport and Leisure Centre.