by Eddie Gregory
10am is never an ideal start time for any team. So I’m sure neither the Express and Salmon Arm Silverbacks were thrilled about their BCHL Showcase Festival start time Saturday. But it’s a lot easier to handle when you win the game. And that much more so when you do it in convincing fashion as the Express did by a 7-1 score. Click here for boxscore
The Express were looking to bounce back after their first showcase game Thursday night in Chilliwack where they let a 1-0 third period lead result in a 4-1 loss.
They rolled into Penticton and right from the get go they showed they were ready to respond. Cooper Connell got things rolling scoring on a wraparound for a 1-0 lead 5 minutes into the game.
That sparked a offensive deluge in the first period for the Express. Tyler Schleppe extended the Express lead with a steal at his own blueline and rushing the puck up the ice and deciding to keep on a two on one break and snap a shot that went in off the pad of Dylan Kruss for a 2-0 Express lead.
Massimo Rizzo played in his second game of the season at the South Okanagan Events Centre for the first time since last summer’s trade. In his debut, Rizzo set up Connor Gregga for his first of the year. Saturday Gregga returned the favour, feeding Rizzo in the slot who snapped it home for a 3-0 Express lead. The goal coming just 18 seconds after Schleppe’s goal. The goal capped a run of three goals in a span of 2:47. Dylan Kruss was given the hook after three goals on seven shots.
Thomas Wardle made his third start of the season in the Express crease. He saw his team jump out to a 3-0 lead before he saw his first Silverbacks shot. He wasn’t busy often on Saturday. But made some of his best saves in the first period. First off he stopped Holden Knights as he rushed hard to the net from the right wing.
Then late in the frame he stared down a Simon Tassy breakaway.
As the game wore on Salmon Arm got more and more frustrated which led to Express powerplays. Seconds after a Express five on three had expired, Greg Lapointe walked in from the right circle and snapped a shot in off the post past Ethan Langenegger who replaced Dylan Kruss in the Salmon Arm net.
Drew Cooper extended the Express lead to 5-0 whipping a shot home from the right wing shortly after another Express power play came to an end. The Express already have 10 goals this season from defenceman. That’s well ahead of last year’s pace at this point where the blueline tallied 23 goals all of last season.
Connor Gregga early in the third period took a cross ice backhand pass from Noah De La Durantaye and ripped home a powerplay goal for a 6-0 Express lead. It marked the 4th time in 10 games this season that the Express have scored multiple powerplay goals in a game.
One of the few things that didn’t go the Express way was Thomas Wardle losing his shutout bid after Daniel Rybarik scored on a breakaway at 8:26.
But the Express were quick to restore their six goal lead with Tyler Schleppe from behind the net teeing up Ryan Tattle in the slot whose shot bounced in for his second of the season.
The shots finished 37-19 in favour of the Express. They finished their first 10 games with a 8-2 record on the season.
Next week the Express stay on the road for visits in Surrey and Langley Friday and Saturday.