Rookie goalie Eric Young made 27 saves in his BC Hockey League debut and Nate Crema scored the game winner in the third period to lead the Coquitlam Express to a 3-2 victory over the Surrey Eagles, Saturday at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex.
It was just the second loss of the season for the high-flying Eagles, who lead the BCHL’s Coastal division standings with 32 points in 18 games.
Young got the start when the scheduled starter, regular back-up goalie Ethan Simcoe, took ill. He showed some early jitters as he spotted the Eagles a two-goal lead before the first period was eight minutes old. But he settled in, shutting down Surrey shooters the rest of the way with 10 saves in the second period and 11 in the final frame, including several as the visitors pressed to tie the score in the game’s dying moments with goaltender Colton Jugnauth on the bench for the extra attacker.
Jake Manfre got Coquitlam on the scoreboard with his eighth goal of the season, and third in two nights, 11:22 into the second period. Michael Rubin then tied it on a power play less than five minutes later.
Crema was credited with the Express’ third goal nine minutes into the third period as the puck slid across the Eagles’ crease and just eked over the goal line behind Jugnauth.
When the final whistle blew Coquitlam celebrated its ninth victory of the season by mobbing Young, who won’t celebrate his 18th birthday until Dec. 30.
The win keeps the Express in fifth place in the Coastal division, two points ahead of the Chilliwack Chiefs, which beat Powell River 5-4 on Saturday.
Coquitlam will wrap up its three-game home stand next Friday, Nov. 24, when the Langley Rivermen visit Poirier at 7 p.m.