The Express made their way to Surrey for Rodeo Night at the South Surrey Arena to finish off their home & home series against the newly appointed Mainland Cup winners, the Surrey Eagles. The first half of the home & home series went Coquitlam’s way in a 2-1 nail biter where Adam Manji stood tall on his head, willing the Express across the finish line in 60 minutes for a regulation win.
From the moment the puck dropped you could tell this game was going to be a rowdy one. An interference penalty on Coquitlam’s Colten Alexander led to the first goal of the night for Ryden Evers and the Eagles just 7:17 into the first, but the Express took no time snapping back with a goal just 12 seconds later by Tyler Kopff to tie the game. Quickly the Express gained steam and Evan Brown tallied his 3rd goal of the season to give them a 2-1 lead over the Eagles after one.
Similar to the first, the Eagles scored 7 minutes deep into the period with Ethan Riesterer combining with Tate Taylor and Cole Galata to even the score at 2 with over 13 minutes remaining. The score would stay stalemated at 2 until only 3 minutes and 41 seconds into the third period where Blake Setter would score not only his 3rd goal of the season but also the Express’ 3rd of the night to give them the lead once again. With over half the period gone, and almost half a game without a goal, it felt all but lost for the Eagles until Conner Schneider scored with 7 minutes remaining in the final frame to not only tie it up but to also send this game to overtime.
With nothing being settled in the extra frame the Express and Eagles were forced into a shootout.
Mirko Buttazoni was unable to find the back of the net on the Express’ first attempt, unlike Jake Bongo for the Eagles. With their backs feeling up against the wall Evan Brown found a way to put home his attempt evening the shootout score at 1-1 until Surrey once again took the lead, scoring on both their first and second shootout attempts. Ray Hamlin, with Coquitlams chances on his stick, had a similar result to Mirko Buttazoni as the Eagles locked up the W against the Express 4-3 in a shootout.
The Express take to the road for the next 2 weeks making stops in Trail on the 10th, West Kelowna on the 11th and then their final regular season away game comes against Langley on March 17th. The Coquitlam Express will return to the Train Station on March 18th to take on the Victoria Grizzlies, which could very well be their first playoff round matchup.
Be sure to skip the line at the box office and purchase your tickets for March 18th’s game online at https://www.coquitlamexpress.ca/tickets .