Express storm Centennials ahead of showdown in Penticton

The Coquitlam Express surrendered the first goal 1:10 into its BC Hockey League game against the Merritt Centennials, then proceeded to outscore the host team 9-1 in the remaining 48:50.

The 9-2 victory was Coquitlam’s 43rd of the season and keeps the team four points ahead of the Penticton Vees for top spot in the overall league standings. Penticton has played one more game, though.

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The two teams meet Friday at the South Okanagan Events Centre

Against the Centennials, the Express launched a balanced attack that resulted in eight different players scoring goals. Only Greg Lapointe scored twice, while Danny Pearson, Connor Gregga, Cooper Connell, Adam Trotman, Wyatt Head, Will Margel and Joshua Wildauer added singles.

Coquitlam led 5-1 after the first period and 7-2 after 40 minutes.

Jack Watson made 27 saves in Coquitlam’s net, while his teammates pumped 39 shots at Merritt goalies Ryan Winter and Tanner Marshall, who took over the crease after the Express scored four times in less than eight minutes in the first period.

Fridays game in Penticton will be only the second meeting this season between the two top teams battling for home ice advantage throughout the BCHL playoffs. On Nov. 20, the Express beat the Vees, 7-2, in Coquitlam. 

That win put the Express atop the league standings by a single point, a position the team hasn’t relinquished since.

After a game in Trail against the Smoke Eaters on Saturday, Coquitlam plays its final home game of the regular season Sunday, 7:15 p.m. at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex, against the Surrey Eagles.

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