by Jacob Lazare |
Chilliwack needed three goals in 5 rounds of the shootout to defeat the Express by a 4-3 score Friday night. Click here for boxscore.
It was Chilliwack’s second straight win over the Express in less than a week.
The Express did get a boost with the return to the lineup of Noah De La Durantaye after missing 17 games and nearly two months of action.
Coquitlam was looking for a better defensive effort after dropping a 6-1 set back in the Coliseum last Saturday. Certainly the quality chances for the Chiefs weren’t as notable for the Chiefs on this night.
But one thing that continues to be a trend for Chilliwack is striking first. Friday it was Clark Nelson burying the rebound of a Nathan Kelly shot from the boards and sliding it past Clay Stevenson.
Cooper Connell has had a number of great chances this season in Chilliwack but has struggled to finish.
Early on he was unable to convert a Will Margel pass on a one timer chance. Connell did find the back of the net late in the period snapping a shot past Mathieu Caron’s glove to tie the game at one.
The tie only lasted 44 seconds as Brett Rylance took a pass in stride and cut to the net tucking the puck through the pads of Clay Stevenson to make it a 2-1 game heading to the second period.
Chilliwack’s powerplay has been deadly against the Express in the previous three meetings. The trend continued early in the second period. Tommy Lyons tipped a Cooper Moore shot for a 3-1 Chilliwack lead. At the time Chilliwack was 7 for their last 14 on the powerplay against the Express.
Christian MacDougall was given some extra opportunities for the Express Friday night. He found himself on the ice for a mid period powerplay. He paid off the coaches confidence by snapping home a Will Margel pass in the slot to make it a 3-2 Chilliwack lead.
That goal appeared to help spark the Express who started to play some of their best hockey of the night.
The third period saw special teams provide some vital moments in the game. Early on the Express killed off a penalty that carried over from the second period to keep the deficit at just one.
Just past the 6 minute mark Xavier Henry dropped Adam Trotman with a hit that left the Express forward woozy and he didn’t return to the game. The hit sparked a scrum after the fact. When the dust settled Henry was given a 5 minute major and given an automatic game misconduct for the blow the head penalty. Henry could be facing a suspension after receiving the major. De La Durantaye was given a roughing penalty for his involvement in the scrum.
After two minutes of uneventful four on four hockey the Express had three minutes of powerplay time. They had lots of time with possession in the Chilliwack zone. They tried a number of times to set up Greg Lapointe for one timers, but the passes more often that not ended up in a spot that wouldn’t allow Lapointe to unload a one timer.
With just over two minutes to go Greg Lapointe fired it at the net and Connor Gregga tipped it over the glove of Caron to tie the game at 3.
In overtime the best chance for either side was a breakaway for Nikita Nesterenko who tried to slide it through Stevenson’s pads, but the Chilliwack native got enough of it to steer the shot wide and then the net eventually came off its supports.
This game ended up being the 4th time in the last 5 meetings that would go to a shootout.
After the first round went goalless things began to get interesting. Trevor Adams opened round two for Chilliwack. He snapped a shot glove side on Stevenson. The puck appeared to hit both posts and never go in the net, but Adams was awarded a goal.
Christian MacDougall pulled the Express even with his shot in round two.
Nikita Nesterenko and Will Margel traded goals in round 3. Margel’s goal was his fourth shootout goal in four attempts against Caron.
Brett Willits and Connor Gregga were unable to score in round 4.
Brett Rylance opened round 5 by snapping the puck past Stevenson’s glove putting the pressure on Greg Lapointe.
This time the Express leading goal scorer wasn’t able to find the twine as his shot was gloved down by Caron to seal the win for Chilliwack.
The Express return home Sunday afternoon to kick off a four game home stand.