If you look in the dictionary for the term “character win”, then there may just be a picture of tonight’s contest right next to the definition. The Express came close twice this season to knocking off the early season juggernaut Eagles, and the third close game was the charm. A magical way to end off Parents’ Weekend no less as Coquitlam battled through illness and injury tonight to come away as just the second team this season to beat Surrey.
Surrey was the first team to introduce offence into this equation with Carter Frankiw finding the back of the net off a wicked wrist shot from the right side of the ice. His first BCHL goal got the momentum rolling for the Eagles who stepped it up another notch with a Ryan Comishock powerplay goal. Surrey looked to be firmly in the driver seat after the first 20 minutes with all facets of their game appearing well oiled. They had their legs underneath them and looked great with solid offensive zone time possession and great backchecking to cause all sorts of problems for the Coquitlam breakout. To have the jump they did out the gates after the grueling matchup versus Alberni Valley the night before was impressive.
Coquitlam kept things slow and steady though going into the second. The panic button wasn’t about to be pressed yet as the Express know they’ve had success against Surrey in the past. Jake Manfre would notch his 3rd goal this weekend and later set up Michael Rubin for a massive Canadian Tire Powerplay goal to tie the game at 16:01 into the second frame. Now if you didn’t watch this game, and can guess how the game winning goal was scored, I’d be super impressed, and I would also think you had the same rabbit’s foot hiding on you somewhere as Nate Crema had tonight. Crema won a battle against the near corner in Surrey’s end, centered the puck, and it deflected off the stick of an Eagles defender. Not in a sharp way that immediately spelled danger mind you, this puck took a detour and lollygagged towards the crease in a way that didn’t seem malicious, until it hit the far post and went back across the goal line, with Jugnauth diving at the last second to try and keep it from going across. The referee was right on the goal line and signaled we had a 3-2 game.
That is all it took offensively because on the backend the defence played another solid game from making smart decisions to keeping good puck management. But even more impressive was the play of Eric Young. Originally Ethan Simcoe was thought to start tonight’s game for Parent Weekend with Adam Manji playing the night prior, but then Simcoe was scratched due to illness. Enter the former Kerry Park Islander into the chat. Young is the 3rd goaltender for the Express, but talking to both Patrick Sexton and Jeff Wagner it is quick to see that Young is of a special makeup. First onto the ice and the last to leave it, always helping out teammates and always ready to learn and work hard. To see a player like that get the nod, go out there, and stonewall the best team in the BCHL, is something you see in scripts. Eric made 27 saves tonight in front of numerous friends and family that were able to make the trip to watch when they heard he would be playing, his parents were already in town for Parent Weekend. You could see from the celebration at the end how happy the entire team was for his success and the cheer from the crowd when he was announced during the three stars was incredible. This one was a night to remember.
The Express now have a week off to prepare for next Friday’s home contest against the Langley Rivermen. And following that will have the second half of the home and home Saturday when they travel to George Preston Arena.
FORTIS BC ENERGY PLAYER – Nate Crema
MARINER BREWING 3 STARS
3rd – COQ – Cole Melady – 2A
2nd – COQ – Eric Young – 27 saves on 29 shots
1st – COQ – Jake Manfre – 1G 1A