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Coquitlam Express hoping to find momentum heading into the BCHL playoffs

The Coquitlam Express are battling to hold on to sixth place in the Coastal conference standings
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The Coquitlam Express will host the Victoria Grizzlies Saturday and Sunday, March 30 and 31, at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex to close out their BC Hockey League (BCHL) regular season schedule.

The Coquitlam Express have ample reason to fill the net this weekend.

Not only are the Express hoping to build some momentum heading into the first round of the BC Hockey League (BCHL) playoffs after winning only once since Feb. 24, Saturday’s home game against the Victoria Grizzlies is the team’s third annual Score for Cancer night.

Money raised from ticket proceeds and a special 50/50 draw with a minimum $1,000 guaranteed jackpot will go to the Canadian Cancer Society.

The initiative was started two seasons ago by former Express captain Ryan Tattle who collected pledges for each point he scored in honour of his mom’s own battle with cancer. The effort raised more than $124,000 and to date the team has amassed over $145,000 in donations.

Tattle, who now attends the University of Connecticut, will be at Saturday’s game and Express general manager Tali Campbell said he hopes the presence of the Port Moody player will provide the team’s current roster with a boost.

“It gives us an extra push to continue this initiative on,” Campbell said. “It always gives us that motivational piece.”

The Express could use it.

Coquitlam has scored just 13 goals in the eight games it’s played in March and the team is clinging to sixth place in the Coastal Conference standings, just three points ahead of the Langley Rivermen. Both teams have two games remaining and how they fare could determine their opponents in the first round of the playoffs, that begin the following weekend.

Potential foes, the Chilliwack Chiefs and Alberni Valley Bulldogs, are also in a dogfight of their own, for second place in the conference standings.

Campbell said which opponent the Express ends up facing isn’t as important as getting the team back on a winning track.

“It’s critical for us to find momentum,” he said. “We have to try to correct the ship before it’s too late.”

Campbell said some moves he made at the trade deadline to acquire more veteran scoring on offence and additional depth on defence haven’t worked out as well as he’d anticipated.

“We pushed the envelope,” he said. “But it’s been a bit of a disappointment all around.”

The Grizzlies, which will also play the Express on Sunday afternoon at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex, are currently in fourth place in the Coastal conference, one point ahead of the Nanaimo Clippers.

Victoria defeated Coquitlam in their two previous meetings this season.

Saturday’s Score for Cancer game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. while Sunday’s regular season finale starts at 3 p.m.