by Eddie Gregory |
3 months and a day was how long the Express had gone between losses. In between was a franchise record 17 game winning streak which came to an abrupt end with a 6-1 loss to the Chilliwack Chiefs.
It didn’t take long to see that it wasn’t going to be the Express night. A neutral zone turnover allowed the Chiefs to quickly transition back into the Express zone and Brett Rylance snapped a shot over the glove of Jack Watson to open the scoring.
Five minutes later Peter Reynolds pounced on a James Bohn turnover behind the net and Reynolds snapped a pass to Nikita Nesterenko who buried the feed for a 2-0 Chilliwack lead. That goal would be the start of a big night for both Nesterenko and Reynolds.
Midway through the first period Mathieu Caron came to his right to deny Connor Gregga to keep the Express off the board.
A fast zone entry into the Express zone with the Chiefs on the powerplay and then a quick give and go saw Peter Reynolds bury his first of the night for a 3-0 Chilliwack lead.
Despite allowing three goals in the first period, Jack Watson made a number of notable saves in the first period to keep the deficit at just three after facing 16 first period Chillwack shots.
The quality chances for Chilliwack carried over into the second period and Watson continued to stand tall to keep the Chiefs at bay. His best save of the period denied Joey Larson on a breakaway.
The best chance for the Express in the middle frame was a Greg Lapointe shot on a powerplay that clanked off the crossbar and stayed out. The powerplay finished 0 for 5 on the night.
The Chiefs certainly made a concerted effort to be a little extra physical to test the Express mettle. Christian MacDougall was certainly very much engaged going back and forth in the hostilities with the Chiefs.
He started the third period in the box giving and Chilliwack opened the period on the powerplay.
Jack Watson did all he could in the opening seconds on a scramble to fight to keep the puck out of the net. But the Chiefs maintained possession of the puck and Tommy Lyons was set up in the slot where he extended the Chiefs lead to 4-0.
Just under two minutes later a stray pass in the offensive zone allowed Reynolds to go the other way on a breakaway where he scored his second of the night with a shot over the right shoulder of Watson to make it 5-0.
Wyatt Head made his Express debut Saturday night after being acquired from West Kelowna. He made a few notable plays in the defensive zone to help break up Chilliwack scoring chances.
Head midway through the third picked up his first Express point with a wrist shot that was tipped home by AP Nolan Wall who scored his first BCHL goal to break up Mathieu Caron’s shutout bid. That would be the only puck of the 37 Express shots to get past Caron.
With just over three minutes left in the third period Peter Reynolds completed his first BCHL hat-trick poking a loose puck under Watson. Reynolds finished with 3 goals and 2 assists for 5 points. Nikita Nesterenko had a four point night with one goal and three assists.
The loss prevented the Express from setting a franchise record with their 37th win of the season. All 6 of the Express losses have come on the road this season.
The Express have little time to dwell on Saturday’s setback as they return home Sunday afternoon to play host to the Langley Rivermen.