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Express Defeat Grizzlies, Hold onto Top Spot in BCHL

by Eddie Gregory  |

Joe Howe picked up his first win in an Express uniform and it came at the expense of his former team the Victoria Grizzlies by a 6-3 score. Click here for boxscore 

Howe’s former mates weren’t kind early on. Jake Veilliux snapped home a shot from the point off a won face-off to open the scoring for Victoria.

The powerplay pulled the Express even 13 minutes into the frame. Connor Gregga came out of the box after serving a penalty and went right to the net. When he got there, a Will Margel pass was on his tape for Gregga to tap home to tie the game.

Both teams played a fast paced opening period. The second period saw the Express lay their foot on the gas. 31 seconds into the period Danny Pearson tipped home a Massimo Rizzo shot for Pearson’s 2nd goal in as many games. Pearson has two goals and two assists since his return to the lineup. Steven Bellini made his return after missing the previous 11 games. He picked up the second assist on the Pearson goal.

Joe Howe planted the flag of his new alliance to the Express in the second period. He stared down and denied Andrew Amousse on a second period breakaway to keep the Express in a 2-1 lead.

Drew Cooper has been such a vital cog on the Express blueline all season long. Most notably being the most reliable blue liner all season. He had his share of strong plays defensively Saturday. Throughout the year he’s quietly racked up his share of points. Saturday he scored for a third straight game taking a pass from Tyler Schleppe and snapping a shot past Blake Wood who barely moved on the 3-1 Express goal.

Then it was another AP contribution. Gabriel Parent on a 2 on 1 snapped home his first BCHL goal over the glove of Howe for a 4-1 Express lead through two periods. The Express have 3 goals from affiliate players in their last 5 games.

It was a back and forth third period. James Davenport 1:40 into the third period blasted a shot past Howe to cut the lead to 4-2.

Wyatt Head had numerous clean looks in the third period. He ripped a shot bar down at 6:38 for his 3rd Express goal for a 5-2 Express lead.

Henri Schriefels at the edge of the Express crease tipped home a Cody Monds pass to cut the lead down to two.

Then with exactly one minute to go in the third period Josh Wildauer tipped a Drew Cooper shot to round out the scoring. The Express captain had his second consecutive 1 goal and 2 assist performance.

The win put the Express back into a four point lead on the Penticton Vees for 1st place in the overall standings. Penticton had the night off. They will play Sunday afternoon vs. West Kelowna. The Express have 6 games left in their season. The Vees have 5.

Saturday was the second to last home game for the Express. They will hit the road this week with visits to Merritt Tuesday, then in Penticton and Trail Friday and Saturday.