Coquitlam Express defensemen Tait Ross scored a pair of goals, including the game winner, to lead his team to a 4-1 victory over the Chilliwack Chiefs, Friday at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex.
Ross, a Coquitlam native who was acquired from the Prince George Spruce Kings at last December’s BC Hockey League trade deadline, fired a bullet over the shoulder of Chiefs goalie Austin McNicholas at 14:06 of the first period to give the Express a 2-1 lead after Chilliwack’s Abram Wiebe and Coquitlam’s Cameron More had traded goals earlier.
Following a scoreless middle period, Ross connected for his second goal of the game after just 2:46 had been played in the third period. Tyler Kopff then iced the win midway through the frame with his 14th goal of the season.
Adam Manji stopped 25 shots in the Express net to earn his 11th victory of the season, while his teammates fired 38 at McNicholas.
The win moved the Express back into third place in the BCHL’s Coastal division, one point ahead of the Victoria Grizzles, which lost to Cowichan Valley 3-1 on Friday.
Before the game, the Express honoured one of the team’s former stars, Kyle Turris, with a ceremony to retire his #19 jersey.
Turris led the Express to a Royal Bank Cup national Junior A championship in 2006 when the franchise was playing in Burnaby as it awaited renovations to its Coquitlam arena, then was named the top Junior A player in Canada the following season when he scored 121 points.
That summer Turris was drafted third overall by the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes and went on to play 13 seasons with the Coyotes, Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators and Edmonton Oilers. He retired last year and moved his family back to Metro Vancouver.
The Express will try to close the gap on second-place Surrey Eagles when the teams meet Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. at the South Surrey Arena. The Eagles are currently 10 points ahead of Coquitlam and have played one less game.