Unanswered goals by Arlo Merritt and Shane Lavelle in the third period proved the difference as the Coquitlam Express defeated the Cowichan Valley Capitals 5-3 in their BC Hockey League game, Saturday at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex.
The win was the fourth in five games for the Express while the loss mired the Capitals even further into the basement of the Coastal division standings, eight points behind Coquitlam.
David Jacobs gave the visitors the lead, 1-0, 7:54 into the first period, but Christian MacDougall tied it at 13:22 when he went hard to the Cowichan net and shovelled the puck past Capitals’ keeper McCoy Bidewell.
Coquitlam regained the lead early in the second period on a power play goal by Jayden Sison, then extended their advantage to 3-1 when Tyler Kopff scored his third of the season just 95 seconds later.
But the feisty Capitals battled back with a pair of power play goals — by Jacobs and Griffin Wilson — to send the teams into the dressing room for the second intermission on even terms.
Merritt put the Express back in front at 12:39 of the third period when he ripped a one-timer past Bidewell with Cowichan’s Owen Simpson in the penalty box for holding. Lavelle then sealed Coquitlam’s sixth win of the season by depositing the puck into the empty net with just four seconds left in regulation time.
Connor Mackenzie stopped 32 shots in the Express net, while Coquitlam fired 39 shots at Bidewell.
Coquitlam is scheduled to host the Surrey Eagles next Friday, 7 p.m. at Poirier. But Express general manager Tali Campbell said more schedule adjustments may be necessary because of ongoing transportation issues caused by flooding and mudslides triggered by last weekend’s massive rainstorm that are preventing teams from travelling into and out of the Interior.
Meanwhile, Express fans have been getting their first looks this weekend at the team's special 20th anniversary jersey that had previously only been worn at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack in October.
That's because much of the team's equipment, including its road uniforms and skate sharpener, is still stranded in Kamloops where the Express was encamped for two nights after mudslides and damage from last week's storm cut off all highway access. Most players were able to get back down to the Lower Mainland by air last Tuesday while Campbell and a few other players arrived the next day on another flight.