The Express made their way all the way out to Trail for this Friday night bout against the Trail Smoke Eaters, the first in their 2 game interior road trip to here and West Kelowna.
With playoff home ice advantage being on the line for the Express, and the desperate prayer to not play Penticton in the first round for Trail, emotions and tensions were high for both teams early on.
Coquitlam’s Evan Brown was able to score his 4th goal of the season to open the scoring for the game but Trail quickly responded as Mathieu Cobetto-Roy ripped home his 12th of the year with assists from both Evan Bushy and Brady Hunter on the play to keep both sides even after 1 period.
Midway through the second period Mirko Buttazzoni tickled the twine once again to give Coquitlam the lead with just half the game remaining, but that was as close as they would come before their game began to unwind. Just under 4 minutes after Buttazzoni gave the Express the lead the Smoke Eaters tied it right back up with Josh Schenk’s unassisted 12th of the season to bring the game back to a tie. Starting goalie Adam Manji left the game after conceding that goal finishing the night 25/27 with a .925 save percentage in 34:10 of play.
With Coqutilam’s starter now out of the net, the Smoke Eaters saw their opportunity and capitalized on it, scoring 3 unanswered goals in the third period within 7 minutes and 8 seconds, starting with Schenk’s 2nd goal of the game and eventual game winner, followed by Marshall and Mann combining for 2 goals just 2 minutes apart to set the Trail Smoke Eaters above the Express by a score of 5-2 after 60.
The Express get back on the road for the next game in West Kelowna on Saturday March 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 .