by Eddie Gregory I
Regan Kimens scored at 3:54 of the first overtime to lift the Coquitlam Express to a 4-3 overtime victory over Kimens’ former team the Chilliwack Chiefs. Click here for boxscore
The result ensured that all 6 games have been won by the home team in the season series. Each time has won three times on their comfortable confines.
This was the tightest of the six games between the teams, which felt more like a playoff game. Clay Stevenson had one of his better outings in recent weeks to post the victory in the Express crease.
Friday marked the Express debuts for Ty Westgard and Aaron White who were acquired from Surrey on Wednesday. Dallas Farrell also returned to the lineup after missing the previous 5 games.
Penalties were the name of the game for the Express in the first period. Chilliwack struck on their first powerplay on a cross ice pass by Ethan Bowen to set up Cole Donhauser for the 1-0 Chilliwack lead.
Clay Stevenson ensured the deficit was just one shutting the door the rest of the period including a number of challenging saves on deflections.
The Express were whistled for two other penalties in the opening period, but the penalty killing rose to the occasion to keep the Express only down 1-0 after being outshot 15-4.
Dallas Farrell pulled the Express even late on their first powerplay in the second period. Alex DiPaolo from the left wing fired a wrist shot that produced a rebound for Farrell to bury his 9th goal of the season.
2:02 later now with the Express shorthanded, a clearing attempt into the Chilliwack end was pressured up ice by Josh Wildauer who stole the puck off Chiefs goaltender Daniel Chenard and was beat on a wraparound by Wildauer for the first Express lead of the night.
The second period was a more wide open period with the teams at times trading chances at both ends of the ice.
Pito Walton extended the Express lead to 3-1 taking pass from Alex DiPaolo then ripping a snapshot for his 4th of the season.
The pesky Chiefs cut the lead to one before the second period was through on a goal from Brett Rylance cutting into a slot then snapping a shot over the shoulder of Clay Stevenson with 1:45 remaining in the second period.
Chilliwack opened the third period with a powerplay with Christian Sanda in the box for kneeing. Jacques Boquot even the game at 3 just 30 seconds into the third period taking a cross ice pass from Skyler Brind’Amour then cutting to the net and sliding home a backhand.
Now in a tie game the teams settled into a tight and somewhat nerve racking third period with neither team wanting to be the one to blink.
Alex DiPaolo came close to giving the Express the lead with a shot off the post with 3 minutes to play.
Then with just under 90 seconds left Clay Stevenson made his best save of the game off Ethan Bowen from the slot. Stevenson finished with 31 saves.
Ty Westgard may have been able to play the role of hero for the Express if a pass from Dallas Farrell into the slot in the final minute wasn’t behind one of the newest members of the Express.
Friday was the second straight game for the Express to head to overtime. They played much better in the overtime compared to the previous game Wednesday vs. Merritt. The Express managed to get more puck possession which is so vital in overtime, and that lead to more chances in the extra session for the Express.
Late in the overtime a shot from the boards by Kimens was stopped by Daniel Chenard. Then the Chiefs Harrison Blaisdell took the rebound behind his net to slow things down for the Chiefs, only to bel pressured by his former teammate Regan Kimens who stole the puck off Blaisdell then scored the overtime winner lifting the puck over the pad of Chenard to give the Express the 4-3 overtime victory.
The win gives the Express a 2-0-1 record picking up 5 out of 6 points so far on their 6 game home stand. It will resume Sunday afternoon when the Express host Alberni Valley.