by Eddie Gregory I
Kolby Matthews has had some of best games of the season in Langley. Saturday night was no different, but like the previous two games, Matthews and the Express ended up on the losing end. This time 1-0 on Saturday night. Click here for boxscore
Matthews counterpart on the other end Braedon Fleming posted his 3rd shutout against the Express this season. Langley finished the season with a 7-1 record against the Express this season.
Saturday’s game was no different than plenty of other Express games in recent weeks that was a tight checking, playoff style contest.
It didn’t take long to become clear that both goaltenders were going to be difficult to beat.
Kolby Matthews in particular made first period saves on William Stromp on a a 2 on 0 break, then a snapshot save followed by a wraparound save both on Langley forward Bronson Sharp. Matthews then capped off a 10 save first period with two more great saves off Bronson Sharp.
Fleming at the other end turned aside all 8 first period Express shots.
It was more of the same in the second period with the goaltenders going toe to toe.
Alex DiPaolo was hooked as he cut to the net but was still able to get a backhand shot away that was stopped by Fleming. The hook resulted in an Express powerplay. On the advantage the Express struggled to set up the quality chances they wanted.
Then in the dying seconds of the powerplay the puck was flipped back to the Express line where Bronson Sharp was able to get away from Pito Walton then drop a pass back to Jake Livingstone who was stopped by Matthews with another great save, but Livingstone buried the rebound for a shorthanded goal to open the scoring. It was Langley’s BCHL leading 11th shorthanded goal of the season.
Kolby Matthews continued to hold firm into the third period keeping the Express within striking distance. But at the other end the Express weren’t able to generate many top end chances on Braedon Fleming. With 8 minutes left in the 3rd period Alex DiPaolo was set up on a backdoor pass, but couldn’t lift the puck over the shoulder of Fleming who hustled to his right to make the save.
Late in the third period Matthews made another sparking save on Bronson Sharp who saw more than enough of the Express goaltender at his best Saturday night.
The Express got one final shot for the equalizer late in the third period when Ryan Helliwell was called for tripping Regan Kimens with just over two minutes to play.
On the powerplay the Express decided against pulling Matthews for a two man advantage. Fleming capped off his shutout with a one timer save on Connor Gregga with 30 seconds left and then shutting the door on Christian Sanda on the rebound.
Fleming finished with 19 saves for the shutout. Matthews made 32 saves in the losing cause. He’s unfortunate to not pick up a win in 3 games in Langley this season where he was fantastic in every single game and allowing only 3 goals on Langley’s home ice. Langley has pulled within two points of the Express for 3rd place in the Mainland division with 8 games remaining on the schedule for the Express.
The Express hit the road for a pair of Interior division games this week in Salmon Arm and Merritt Tuesday and Wednesday.