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Express Edge Eagles in Chippy Matchup

by Eddie Gregory

In a chippy affair the Express prevailed for a 9th time in 11 games this season with a 2-1 win over the Surrey Eagles. Click here for boxscore

The Express came out flying in the first period and it didn’t take long to get on the board. Connor Gregga intercepted a pass in the neutral zone then attacked the Eagles defence on his own and found some ice in the slot and snapped his 3rd goal in as many games to open the scoring. That goal would be the start of a prominent night for the Express forward.

The visitors responded by opening a 12-1 first period advantage in shots by the 13 minute mark of the period. And were a little unfortunate they weren’t able to extend their lead with some the quality chances they created.

Surrey tested Clay Stevenson in the latter half of the period thanks in part to a 42 second two man advantage, but Stevenson was perfect in the opening frame with 7 first period saves.

The emotions began to flare in the second period. It started when Christian MacDougall was hit from behind into the end boards by Cody Schiavon. The Express rookie didn’t return to the game. The hit went unpenalized which didn’t sit well with the Express.

More on that later. Meanwhile Connor Gregga picked up a loose puck after a Massimo Rizzo chance and Gregga then set up Rizzo who buried his second Express goal for a 2-0 lead at 14:17.

With Addison Macey in the box for the Express, Surrey got on the board on the powerplay when Sean Ramsay took a cross ice pass and slid his second of the season past Clay Stevenson to cut the Express lead to 2-1.

As the second period wound down the tempers drew short and it resulted in the Express coming out of it shorthanded. But the penalty killers rose to the occasion each time to help preserve the lead heading into the third period.

The third period saw the Express pick up their pace looking to extend their lead. But were unable to get the insurance marker past Tommy Scarfone who finished with 30 saves.

During the second period Connor Gregga was assessed a 10 minute misconduct. Unfortunately while sitting in the box serving his penalty he had to endure with some fans who were throwing trash at him  during the third period.

Then when he came out of the box, he came to the defence of Christian MacDougall who was hit earlier in the game by dropping the gloves with Cody Schiavon. The fight and automatic ejection for Gregga did come with the Express on the powerplay. But the main thing was Gregga showing that he wasn’t going to let Schiavon not be held accountable for the hit.

Surrey’s best opportunity for the equalizer in the third came with Clay Stevenson getting whistled for a tripping penalty after a Eagles player went through the goaltender’s crease. Stevenson got help from his best friend while shorthanded as a Holden Katzalay shot rang off the crossbar to keep the Express in the lead. Stevenson would finish with 22 saves to improve to 7-1 on the season.

Saturday night will see the Express face a surging Langley Rivermen team that has rattled off four straight wins.