Joshua Wildauer scored a pair of goals and seven other players added singles, as the Coquitlam Express thumped the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, 9-4, Tuesday in Port Alberni.
The win increases Coquitlam’s cushion atop the BC Hockey League standings to six points over the Penticton Vees. Each team has played 51 games.
After spotting the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead after less than five minutes of the game had been played, the Express scored the next five before Alberni’s Austin Spiridakis to make it 5-2 midway through the second period.
Coquitlam replied with a goal by former Bulldog Bradley Ong,, then outscored the home team 3-2 in the final frame.
Wildauer added an assist to his pair of goals, while Cooper Connell had a goal and three assists, and Drew Cooper pitched in with three points.
Jack Watson stopped 30 shots to earn the win, while the Express fired 41 shots at Alberni goalie, Luke Pearson.
Coquitlam returns home to host the Victoria Grizzlies on Saturday, 7 p.m., at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex.
Changes coming for league and schedule
The BCHL’s 18 teams will be divided into two conferences beginning next season, and those teams will be playing four fewer games.
The realignment from three divisions is being necessitated by the addition of the new Cranbrook Bucks, the league’s executive director, Steven Cocker, said in a press release. “The new format makes the most sense geographically and is a logical step for the future of the BCHL.”
The Express will play in the Coastal conference, along with Alberni Valley, Chilliwack, Cowichan Valley, Langley, Nanaimo, Powell River, Surrey and Victoria. The other nine teams will be in the Interior conference.
The schedule reduction from 58 to 54 games will improved player safety, Cocker said, giving them more time to practice and recover between games.
Training camps will also open in September, and the regular season will begin later in the month.