Express return from Vancouver Island getaway with two wins

The Coquitlam Express went to Vancouver Island for the weekend, and all they came back with is a two-game winning streak.

The Express spotted the Alberni Valley Bulldogs the first three goals in their BC Hockey League game Sunday afternoon in Port Alberni, then stormed with five straight of their own to win their second game in two days, 5-3.

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Saturday, Coquitlam snapped its six-game skid by shutting out the Nanaimo Clippers 3-0.

In Port Alberni, Danny Pearson started the Express comeback with his ninth goal of the season 5:11 into the second period. Ten minutes later, Regan Kimens scored the first of his three goals in the game, the first hat trick by a Coquitlam player this season.

Kimens’ second goal of the game 11 minutes into the third period tied the game, then he scored the winner with 68 seconds left to play in regulation time.

Looking for a way to tie it and send the game to overtime, Port Alberni coach Matt Hughes called a timeout to rally his troops then pulled goalie John Hawthorne from the net for an extra attacker. But with 23 seconds remaining on the clock, Joshua Wildauer snuffed out the hopes of the home side when he deposited the puck into the empty Bulldogs’ net.

Despite having played the night before, the Express fired 49 shots at Hawthorne while Kolby Matthews faced 27 shots in Coquitlam’s net.

Saturday in Nanaimo, Express goalie Clay Stevenson stopped all 21 shots the Clippers sent his way to earn the shutout and lead his team to its first win in seven games.

Connor Gregga’s goal in the first period stood as the winner, while Danny Pearson and Chase Danol added goals in the third frame. Danol’s was into an empty net after the home team.

The shutout loss was an especially bitter pill for the Clippers to swallow as the game was their annual teddy bear toss in which the crowd is invited to throw stuffed animals onto the ice for donation to a local children’s charity after the home team scores its first goal. They did unload their stuffies onto the ice when the game ended.

The Express will try to keep their winning ways on the rails Friday night at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex, when they host the Trail Smoke Eaters at 7 p.m.

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