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Express Cruise to Victory in Merritt

by Eddie Gregory |

For a second consecutive Tuesday night on the road the Express put 9 on the board. This time by a score of 9-2 over the Merritt Centennials. Click here for boxscore 

This game quite frankly was never going to be close on paper. The league leading Express entered the game 60 points up on the Merritt Centennials who sit dead last in the BCHL.

Early on however the gap between the teams didn’t seem so wide. Daniel Tkac opened the scoring just 1:10 into the game snapping a shot past Jack Watson.

It took a little while for the Express to settle in and turn the game in their favour. When they did they never looked back.

Greg Lapointe pulled the Express even finishing off a 2 on 1 with Cooper Connell. Shortly thereafter the Express thought they had taken the lead. Noah De La Durantaye finished off a rush chance. But the goal was waved off after contact in the crease with Merritt goaltender Ryan Winter.

The 2-1 goal did eventually come when Will Margel scored just 5 seconds into a powerplay.

After Josh Wildauer had opened up a 3-1 Express lead, one of the wildest sequences i’ve ever seen occurred.

Merritt lobbed the puck into the Express zone. The puck took a crazy bounce from the high slot and went flying up in the air. Jack Watson went down to block the dump in. Then the bounce caught him off guard, but luckily the puck clanged off the crossbar and stayed out. Quickly the Express went the other way and Wyatt Head scored off the rush for a 4-1 Express lead. AP’s KT Walters and Christian Lowe picked up the assists. The goal chased Ryan Winter after four goals on ten shots.

Cooper Connell greeted Tanner Marshall into the game by scoring his 16th of the season for a 5-1 lead after 1.

Danny Pearson scored for a third straight game burying the rebound of a Adam Trotman shot that hit the post for a 6-1 Express advantage. Pearson has 3 goals and 4 assists for 7 points in his 5 games since returning from injury.

The one downside for the Express was Tyler Schleppe delivering a big hit in the second period that was ruled to be a major for a blow to the head. He has received the automatic two game suspension according to the Junior A Supplement.

Rylan Van Unen scored a nice end to end rush for a shorthanded goal to interrupt the Express run of offence.

But late in the period the lead was back to 5 on a powerplay goal by Adam Trotman deflecting a Wyatt Head point shot.

In the third Greg Lapointe added his second of the game and Connor Gregga rounded out the scoring.

13 skaters in total picked up points for the Express. 11 players had multi point nights. That includes AP’s KT Walters and Christian Lowe who each had two assists.

Jack Watson finished with 27 saves.

The win opened up a four point lead for the Express over Penticton for first overall in the BCHL. And now the stage is set for the two teams to meet for the second time this season Friday night in Penticton.

For the Express the focus is simple, a regulation win will clinch first overall and the Ron Boileau trophy for the Express for the first time in team history.