by Eddie Gregory I
Clay Stevenson made 18 saves for his second shutout of the season and former Surrey Eagle Ty Westgard scored twice and added an assist in his return to the South Surrey Arena in a 7-0 Express win over the Eagles to end the regular season.
This game marked the first time that Ty Westgard and Aaron White returned to the South Surrey Arena since being acquired by the Express at the trade deadline. Those two along with another former Surrey Eagle Chase Danol all were in the starting lineup thanks to Head Coach Jason Fortier.
The bench boss wanted to see his team start with purpose in the regular season finale. He got exactly that from his group which was rewarded 90 seconds into the game by Regan Kimens who opened the scoring on his 20th of the season.
That was the only goal in the first period. The other notable moment of the opening 20 minutes was the media timeout where the Eagles acknowledged the 160 games that Ty Westgard dressed in an Eagles uniform.
All night long the Express played with a little extra jump in their step, they picked up their physical play for one of their more impressive outings in recent weeks. That allowed them to remain in control of the game.
PIto Walton jumped into the rush and beat Cayden Bailey with a backhand for his 8th of the season and a 2-0 Express lead just shy of the 5 minute mark of the second period.
Then Alex DiPaolo found himself walking in from centre ice on a breakaway and ripped a shot over Bailey’s shoulder for a 3-0 Express lead.
From this point, the former Eagles started to get in on the fun. Chase Danol picked up a loose puck in the slot after a won Christian Sanda face-off and snapped home his 22nd of the season for a 4-0 lead 1:20 after DiPaolo’s goal.
Ty Westgard picked up an assist on Walton’s goal in the second period. He started to fill the net early in the 3rd period, taking a pass out from behind the net and tucked in his first of the night to open up a 5-0 Express lead.
By this point the Express were dominating the Eagles in puck possession, and the third period was owned by the visitors.
Christian Sanda finished off the prettiest goal of the night sliding home a Chase Danol backhand pass after Jared Power turned from the boards to dish to Danol coming late.
Westgard then added his 2nd of the night less than a minute later to complete a three point night in his return to Surrey.
The Express finished with a season best 53 shots on goal and posted a season low of 18 shots allowed.
The Eagles capped off a classy night despite being on the wrong end of the score by naming Chase Danol the second star and giving Ty Westgard first star honours.
The win officially secured third place in the Mainland division for the Express and they will face the Prince George Spruce Kings in the first round of the playoff starting next Friday in Prince George. The teams last met in the playoffs in 2014.