First place on the line against Prince George
First place in the B.C. Hockey League’s Mainland Division is on the line when the Prince George Spruce Kings visit the Poirier Sports and Leisure Complex on Saturday.
The Coquitlam Express, who currently sit one point up on their northern opponents with a 8-3-1 record, are tied for second in the league and have only lost one game this month.
But with only six points separating the top team in the division with the basement dwelling Surrey Eagles, coach Jon Calvano said his squad has to fight for every win.
“I think last year, teams didn’t take us too seriously,” he said. “They thought it was a bit of a fluke. I don’t think this year we are going to be able to surprise anybody. It is no secret who our key players are. We have to be ready, knowing that every team is coming to beat us.”
Goaltender Daniel Urbani snagged a hat trick last weekend during a two-game road trip to the interior.
The rookie netminder, who was yanked in his first start this season, turned away 39 shots against the Trail Smoke Eaters on Friday night.
“That last game was his first full start and to get a shutout is pretty amazing for a 17-year-old kid,” Calvano said. “It is good to see a local kid getting his first full game.”
The Express coach was also happy with his team’s balanced offence, which does not rely on a small handful of players for the bulk of the club’s scoring.
Coquitlam players Alexander Kerfoot, Justin Georgeson, John Siemer and Adam Rockwood all scored in the 4-0 win over Trail.
On Saturday, the Express struggled early against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, surrendering two goals before Coquitlam could get on the board.
“I wasn’t happy with our start,” Calvano said. “We struggled with out execution, but we battled back from being down 2-0 and we got the road win. That is tough.”
A late Salmon Arm goal was not enough to spur the home team’s offence, and Coquitlam won the game 4-3.
Brady Shaw scored two goals to earn first star honours, while Coquitlam’s John Siemer, who tallied two assists, was named third star of the game.
Goaltender Cole Huggins, who committed to NCAA’s Minnesota State University Mavericks for the 2013/2014 season, stopped 34 of 37 shots he faced.
The Prince George Spruce Kings will be facing off against the Coquitlam Express at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Complex on Friday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m.