The Coquitlam Express are ready to take on the Surrey Eagles in a matinee contest for these two clubs’ fifth meeting this season. The season series is tied up at two wins each, with the Express winning the most recent game in overtime back on April 14. Puck drop for today’s tilt is 1:00 PM.
The prior two games between these two teams have gone into overtime, which isn’t surprising considering that four of the Express’ last five games have gone to OT. These two clubs have been evenly matched to this point in the pod season. With that being said, the Express haven’t exactly done themselves any favours by giving the Eagles an astonishing 21 power play attempts in their four meetings. The Eagles converted on five of their attempts and, ultimately, it helped them control the pace for the majority of these games.
Penalties have been a huge concern for the Express in this pod season, as they are now the most penalized team in the BCHL with 88 PIMS to their name. Despite playing large portions of every game down a man, they are currently leading their division by a point over the second-place Eagles and have a chance to extend that to a three-point margin this afternoon. Sure, three points doesn’t sound like a lot, but in this season, it absolutely is. After this weekend, the Express will be at the halfway point of this campaign with the Eagles and Powell River Kings each having a game in hand. The importance of a win today cannot be stressed enough.
The Express have been playing well and are currently on a two-game win streak. To keep the train rolling, they’ll need to keep their big guns firing – Ryan Tattle and Keeton Oakley have been on a tear lately, with five points each in their last three games. Depth scoring will need to stay hot as well – Tyler Schleppe and Sam Marit, both second-line fixtures, are now up to eight points each on the season. Additionally, strong goaltending will need to continue – Dylan Kruss has been leading the way in that department and is 4-0-1 in his last five starts!
Players to watch for the Eagles are Holden Katzalay and Christian Fitzgerald who have combined for 11 points in four games against the Express. They are the Eagles bread and butter on the man advantage, manning the tops of the circles on their respective off-wings – they look for heavy one-timers with screens in front. These two players have scored 50% of the Eagles’ power play goals this season.
With that midway point looming, this game is extremely important, so expect a battle out there!
Get off the tracks – a train is coming through!