The power of Parent Weekend was felt at all levels last night as the Express channeled all the energy into a fantastic 4-1 win over the Powell River Kings. The season series improves to 2-0 in Coquitlam’s favor while the Kings were left scratching their heads with the loss streak increasing to 5 games. Wednesday was a game the Express looked to forgive, but not forget as they learned from their shortcomings, challenged players to come out the gates renewed, and they all answered the bell.
Three minutes was all it took for the party to get started, as Jake Manfre started cooking on the powerplay. The pride of Smithtown New York blasted a one timer home from the right faceoff circle into practically an open cage off a crisp feed from Michael Rubin. The net front presence cannot be understated on the play as Owen Crudale had no idea where the puck was when it launched off Manfre’s stick. Jake hit his signature celebration on the way by the bench, but the feasting had only begun. The Express continued to control the flow of play through the first, exit plays from their zone were executed well and the speed we are accustomed to was on full display. On the flip side the Kings were left slowing things down and left us all reminded of a classic moment in NHL history where Philadelphia refused to move the puck against the Tampa Bay 1-3-1 defence. The Kings held the puck behind their goal for stretches of 20-30 seconds at a time before initiating the breakout and fans let them hear about it. To their credit once the puck got moving the wait was worth it as the breakout led to some strong opportunities.
The second period saw an early answer from the Kings as Alex Sandhu got a quick wrister from the left wing to sneak between the glove and pad of Adam Manji. It would be the only goal Adam gave up as the Burnaby Brick Wall got one more save than his jersey number on the night, and for a guy who wears #34, that’s pretty good. 2nd star honour for the AIC commit as he came through with key saves to keep Powell River at bay. Noah Dziver had another great game, scoring his 2nd goal in as many games when he tipped home a point blast from Sam Frandina. Dziver also had plenty of moments dictating the pace including a great split of the defence to set up a drop feed that nearly led to another goal before it was tipped away by the backchecking Kings. And then the Co Captain, in his first game wearing the C, Luke Vardy blasted home a one timer from the left circle at 19:27 to extend the lead to 3-1.
Coquitlam was trailing in the shot department after 40 minutes but not in the game management department. The third period got off to a roaring start with Jake Manfre netting his second of the night on a crease crashing scrum that finally crossed the goal line. That now ties Manfre for the team lead in goals with Joe Odyniec, they both have 7. The Express kept things tidy down the stretch and had chances to improve the lead further but the Kings played to the final whistle and the scoreline stood at 4-1.
The coaching staff was impressed with the player’s ability to take the lessons learned from Wednesday and turn them into positives for the game at hand. A sign of a strong team and players that want to improve is certainly to grow from adversity and get back on the right track. They did it at the Showcase and they do it again with the win versus Powell River.
FORTIS BC ENERGY PLAYER – COQ – Sam Frandina
MARINER BREWING 3 STARS
3rd – COQ – Noah Dziver – 1G (GWG)
2nd – COQ – Adam Manji – 35 Saves on 36 Shots
1st – COQ – Jake Manfre – 2G
Up next is the game this evening versus the Surrey Eagles! Don’t forget to grab your tickets and support the boys as they take on one of the best teams the BCHL has to offer at present. Or tune in as always and listen along with yours truly on FloHockey.