by Jacob Lazare |
The Coquitlam Express finished the regular season with a franchise best record of 47-9-1-1. Before looking ahead to the 2020 BCHL Playoffs, we can look back on the historic season and celebrate the efforts that have brought us to this point.
Ron Boileau Trophy – Regular Season Champions: COQUITLAM EXPRESS
The franchise best record of 47-9-1-1 was also a league best record in the this season. The Express finished with 96 points, 6 ahead of the 2nd place Penticton Vees. 96 points is the highest total in the BCHL since the Vees finished with 101 in the 2015/16 season. The Express also took the Mainland Division title, finishing 33 points ahead of the 2nd place Chilliwack Chiefs in the Mainland.
Top Goaltender: CLAY STEVENSON
Clay Stevenson’s campaign began with the worst news one can imagine. His mother passed away just days before the season was set to begin. But the tragedy did not slow Clay down, it motivated him to play at a level even he couldn’t have imagined. Clay finished the season with more shutouts than he had losses. His stat line read: 30-2-1 with 4 shutouts, a 1.77 GAA, and a sparkling .936 SV%. He finished tied for the league lead in wins despite playing 6 fewer games than Jordan Naylor of the Clippers. His GAA and SV% both ranked first in the BCHL, and rank him 2nd all time in single season SV% and GAA in BCHL history. He finished in a tie for 3rd in the league with his 4 shutouts. Due to an admissions issue at Dartmouth College where Clay is committed to play next season, he is unable to join the Express on their playoff run this season, but his contributions will not be forgotten after taking home some regular season hardware.
Joe Tenant Memorial Trophy – Coach of the Year: JASON FORTIER
When Jason took over the Coquitlam Express in November of 2017, the team was dead last in the BCHL and mired in an extended losing streak. Last season saw some major steps taken by the Express, nearly doubling their win total to 28 from 15 in 2017/18. This year, Fortier’s 3rd (2nd full) at the helm saw the team put the proverbial cherry on top. The team set franchise records in: wins, points, home wins, consecutive wins, and goals against. The Express led the league with an 89.5% penalty kill and finished second in the BCHL with a 24.4% powerplay. Most impressively, the Express managed to set these impressive statistical marks without being healthy all year. They played 27 consecutive games with an affiliate player in the lineup throughout 2020, and saw key contributors miss extended time this season including Massimo Rizzo, Noah De La Durantaye, Steven Bellini, Christian MacDougall, Danny Pearson, and Ethan O’Rourke.
Wally Forslund Trophy – Best Goaltending Duo (GAA): CLAY STEVENSON & JACK WATSON
While goals against average is a team stat as a whole, both Clay Stevenson and Jack Watson led the way for the Express en route to a league low goals against total of 127. Thomas Wardle and Joe Howe each played in a handful of games for the Express as well, but Stevenson’s 35 appearances, and Watson’s 17, qualify them for the Wally Forslund Trophy. Clay surrendered only 61 goals in over 2000 minutes played. Watson was no slouch himself. He ended the season with 41 goals against, good for a very respectable 2.51 GAA, which ranks him 7th in the BCHL among goalies with at least 15 appearances.
3 Express Players Named to BCHL All Star Teams
In addition to the league awards, 3 Express players found themselves named to the BCHL All Star Teams.
Clay Stevenson was named a 1st Team All Star. Drew Cooper and Greg Lapointe were named 2nd Team All Stars. Lapointe was also named to the All Rookie Team.
A fantastic regular has drawn to a close in Coquitlam. The sights are now set on the franchise’s 3rd Fred Page Cup. You can purchase playoff tickets now by clicking here.