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The offence falters on the road as the Express fall 2-1 in Chilliwack

Coquitlam and Chilliwack always find ways to make hockey games entertaining. It’s a great side effect of a long and storied rivalry that got another good chapter tonight.

The Express finally found defeat with their Moms in attendance as they drop a 2-1 decision on the road. This continues the trend of late where Chilliwack returns the favour from the previous game with a scoreline exactly the same, just the opposite end result.

The Chiefs made up for lost time from last night’s game and scored twice in the first 20 minutes. Stone Rolston found a point shot from Jack Sparkes whistling towards him in front of the goal and proceeded to tip it home past Ethan Simcoe to open the scoring. A few minutes later the Express were working hard in their own end holding the Chiefs to the outside of the zone before Mateo Mrsic pulled out a wicked spin move from below the goal line and passed one mid-spin out in front of the goal where Matt Argentina was waiting to bang it home.

Both goals were of the zero-chance variety for Ethan Simcoe who overall cannot be faulted for this game. He stopped 23 of 25 enroute to the 2-1 defeat and kept his team within shouting distance, not surrendering anything through the second and third.

In the second period the Express found their lone goal of the game off the stick of Cole Melady. Oliver Gabrielson wound up and fired a shot from the left point that Melady tipped home from the left side to surprise Vladimir Nikitin. The Seaforth Ontario product now has nine on the year while Gabrielson picks up his fourth assist in an Express jersey.

The third period was a back-and-forth affair with neither side able to establish much offensive presence. The speed and physicality took precedent as blocked shots were aplenty for both teams. Several players are going to find themselves with some fresh bruises after this one.

The Express’ special teams continued to excel in some places, and falter in others. The penalty kill went 5/5 tonight, shutting down the BCHL’s fifth best powerplay. On the flipside the powerplay went 0/3 and drops to being the worst in the league at 16.8%.

Coquitlam went into tonight’s game a player short due to the looming trade deadline this afternoon. Earlier in the day, Matheson Mason and Ben Feenan were traded to the Blackfalds Bulldogs in exchange for David Brandes and futures. Brandes is a tough as nails defenceman who had a brief stint with the Vernon Vipers before spending the last season and a half with the Bulldogs in the AJHL.

No other moves came out of the woodwork as the deadline passed so the Express roster is as it stands for the rest of the season. It’s time to buckle in and make the push for the playoffs as the second half of the season is officially in full swing.

The Express couldn’t find the offence tonight, but they played another tightly contested game with a top team in the Coastal Conference. Yet again they prove that the position in the standings is oh so deceptive. With bodies still waiting to get healthy and more reinforcements on the way, this Express roster is looking solid heading forward.



3rd – CHWK – Matt Argentina – 1G

2nd – CHWK – Mateo Mrsic – 1A

1st – CHWK – Vladimir Nikitin – 25 Saves on 26 Shots


– Ian Wilson