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Coquitlam Express clinch playoff spot despite fourth loss in five games

The Coquitlam Express lost 6-2 to the Penticton Vees Saturday at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex
Coquitlam Express goalie Adam Manji faced 39 shots in the team's 6-2 loss to the Penticton Vees Saturday.

The Coquitlam Express are in the BC Hockey League playoffs.

The team celebrated with a 6-2 loss to the Penticton Vees, Saturday at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex.

It was the fourth loss in five games for the Express.

The Vees, atop the league standings with 73 points in 46 games, scored twice in the first period, once in the second and added three more in the third en route to its 34th win of the season against just seven losses in regulation time.

After Penticton opened a 3-0 lead by the game’s midway point, the Express came to life with a pair of goals by David Brandes and Luke Vardy. 

Brandes’ goal was his first since joining the team from the Blackfald Bulldogs.

But the spark fizzled in the third period. Vees forward scored twice, completing a hat trick after he’d opened the game’s scoring late in the first.

Thomas Pichette completed the scoring with an empty netter.

Adam Manji faced 39 shots in Coquitlam’s net, while the Express fired 27 at Vees’ keeper Andrew Ness.

Coquitlam actually clinched its position in the post season on Friday, despite a 5-2 loss to the Nanaimo Clippers.

With eight games left to play in the regular season, the Express are 17 points ahead and out of reach of the Powell River Kings, which occupy last place in the BCHL’s Coastal division.

Coquitlam next plays March 6, when it hosts the divisions top team, the Surrey Eagles, 7 p.m. at Poirier.