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BCHL

Express Hold off Spruce Kings, Win 6 Straight

Alex DiPaolo celebrates his goal – Photo courtesy of Damon James

The Coquitlam Express posted their 6th straight win by defeating the Prince George Spruce Kings 3-1 Sunday afternoon. The 6 game winning streak is the longest since a 6 game run in February 2012. Click here for boxscore

Forward Alex DiPaolo is the early candidate for the Cy Young award for the Express. He scored his 5th of the season to open the scoring after Regan Kimens’ pass off a won face-off bounced to the net where DiPaolo was there to bury it. All 5 of DiPaolo’s points have all been goals so far this season.

Chase Danol’s really found his scoring touch during this Express run. He scored for a 5th straight game by snapping his second shorthanded goal of the season from the off wing past the blocker of Bradley Cooper for a 2-0 Express lead.

Sunday’s game marked the first game back in Coquitlam for Sam Kozlowski. He was traded to the Spruce Kings just prior to the regular season. He played 110 games in an Express uniform over most of the previous two seasons.

Chase Danol scored for a 5th straight game – Photo courtesy of Damon James

His return came with mixed emotions. He let a wrist shot go from the right point that was tipped by Chong Min Lee to cut the Express lead to 2-1. But on the play Kozlowski was knocked to the ice and was immediately favouring his right knee. Thankfully Kozlowski returned before the end of the 2nd period.

Late in the middle frame two separate Spruce Kings infractions led to two minutes of 5 on 3 time for the Express. The first unit had good puck control creating chances and hustle to retrieve the puck back. Then late in the two man advantage with the second unit on the ice Pito Walton tees up a Drew Cooper one timer that found the back of the net for his first BCHL goal for a 3-1 Express lead.

Sunday was the second straight outing that the powerplay had struck twice. The penalty killing remains air tight killing off all 4 Spruce Kings powerplays. The Express have killed off 15 straight opposition powerplays dating back to last Sunday’s meeting with Salmon Arm.

Kolby Matthews made 9 saves in the third period to finish with 22 while posting his 4th straight win. In front of him the Express played a tidy game with strong effort to pursue the puck and spend time controlling the play in the Spruce Kings end of the ice and lock the game down.

The victory combined with Chilliwack’s 6-0 loss in Victoria Sunday has the Express tied for first place in the Mainland division with Chilliwack with 14 points after the first month of the BCHL season.

The Express return to action Wednesday vs. Surrey.