The Chiefs and the Express are set to go toe-to-toe again at the Train Station tonight. The contest in Coquitlam kicks off a home and home this weekend with Chilliwack. Two new key additions will make their debut this evening as the Express continue to tinker with their roster and find their fire heading down the stretch.
The Express look to rebound following the catastrophic game from Sunday afternoon against the Eagles. 9-2 went the final as Coquitlam got shelled 6-0 in the first period and were left scratching their heads throughout. That game signaled the low point for the slow star to 2024 and it makes sense that something was going to change this week.
Those changes come in the form of Patrick Reilly and Jacob Bonkowski.
Reilly is a 19-year-old defender from Avon, New Jersey whom the Express saw very recently. The former Trail Smoke Eater was second star in the Express’ game against the Smokies back on February second after notching 2 assists while contributing a solid defensive presence. Coquitlam gets him for futures and adds another solid piece to their blueline.
Jacob Bonkowski is a local boy from Richmond who had a breakout year with the Surrey Eagles last season. Now in his senior season with the BCHL, he still has much left to give to a team hoping to contend for the Fred Page Cup. “Mr. Friday Night” as coined by Eagles’ broadcaster Joey Pitt, has seen several big moments and clutch plays so far in his playing career. The 116 points in 157 games speaks for itself but just wait till you get to see him work out on the ice.
This team has several great pieces and guys that go out there to work their tails off every night. Something just hasn’t clicked so far in 2024 but from seeing some of the efforts, the Express are so close to catching fire once again. “This week we wanted to showcase to our group we believed in them,” said Tali Campbell. “And that all we needed was to add 1-2 guys to really help bolster our current lineup and that’s what we’ve done leading into Trade Deadline so far.”
On the side of the Chiefs, they have also brought in new bodies as the season progresses. They added Parker Murray near the beginning of this solid stretch of play that elevated the Chiefs to third in the Coastal Conference. Other recent additions include All Star Willyam Gendron from the Clippers, UMass commit Jordan Geike out of the USHL and goaltender Frank Murphy from the NCDC. All of this combined with the incredible play of Vladimir Nikitin of late has resulted in the Chiefs being an entirely revitalized team.
This season the Express have held the advantage coming away with a 3-1 record in the head-to-head matchup. Most recently though Chilliwack was at the Poirier for the School Day Game and handed Coquitlam a 4-1 loss. The Express will need to contain the physicality and emotion from the Chiefs that always pops up in these contests.
Come on down to the Train Station for the 7pm PST puck drop and see what should be another exciting faceoff between the Chiefs and Express! It’s also Sports Night for the Express so several local teams, professional and amateur, will be represented at the Poirier.
If you can’t make it out there will be the broadcast as always on FloHockey.
– Ian Wilson