NHL prospect Massimo Rizzo scored his first goal as a member of the Coquitlam Express, and he set up another, to lead his team to a 7-1 victory over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in their BC Hockey League game, Saturday in Penticton.
Rizzo, a seventh-round pick by the Carolina Hurricanes in last June’s NHL entry draft, was acquired by the Express the next day, to complete an earlier deal that had sent Alex DiPaolo to the Penticton Vees. He missed the team’s training camp and several early-season games as he recovered from a lingering back injury, but set up Connor Gregga for his first point in his debut Friday, against the Chilliwack Chiefs.
Saturday, Gregga returned the favour, as Rizzo’s goal capped a trio of scores by the Express in less than two minutes early in the first period. Cooper Connell opened the scoring 4:47 in, tucking a wraparound past Silverback’s goalie Dylan Kruss. Then, a minute-and-a-half later, Tyler Schleppe stole the puck at his own blueline, broke in two-on-one against Kruss, then fired a keeper off the goalie’s pad into the net.
That was it for the Salmon Arm starter, who allowed three goals on just seven shots, as he was pulled for back-up Ethan Langenegger.
Goals by Greg Lapointe and Drew Cooper in the second period extended Coquitlam’s advantage to 5-0.
Gregga scored his second of the season on a powerplay 2:08 into the third period to make it 6-0, before Daniel Rybarik got one back for the Silverbacks. Adam Trotman scored unassisted to round out the scoring.
Thomas Wardle stopped 18 shots in Coquitlam’s net to post his second win of the season. The Express fired 37 shots at Kruss and Langenegger.
Next up for Coquitlam will be a game against the Surrey Eagles, Friday at the South Surrey Arena.