Joshua Wildauer scored on the power play with less than two seconds remaining in regulation time to give the Coquitlam Express a 4-3 comeback win over the Nanaimo Clippers, Sunday at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex.
It was the second straight heartstopping victoy for the Express on the weekend to extend their season-long winning streak on home ice to 17 games. On Friday, the team needed a shootout to prevail 3-2 over the visiting Chilliwack Chiefs.
Sunday, the Express played from behind all game until it mattered most.
Nanaimo’s Travis Walton opened the scoring just 2:23 into the first period when he beat Coquitlam goalie Jack Walton unassisted.
Ethan O’Rourke tied it almost 13 minutes later, blasting a shot off the post and behind Clippers goalie Jordan Naylor to finish a rush that started deep in Coquitlam’s end.
That goal unleashed a rain of teddy bears and stuffed toys onto the ice for the Express’ annual donation to Share family and community services.
Steven Agriogianis put Nanaimo in front again midway through the second period, but 50 seconds later the home team was even again when Adam Trotman scored his sixth goal of the season.
Another goal by the Clippers gave the visitors a 3-2 lead heading into the third period.
Coquitlam tied it for the third time, 8:47 into the third period, when Bradley Ong banged home a rebound off a long wrist shot from the point by Will Margel.
That set the stage for Wildauer’s late heroics after he drew the penalty on a trip by Nanaimo’s Jack O’Brien with 1:05 left in the third period.
The win gives the Express 52 points in 31 games, best in the BC Hockey League, and five more than the second place Penticton Vees, which has played one more game.
Coquitlam wraps up its eight-game home stand with a game Friday, 7 p.m., against the Trail Smoke Eaters, and on Sunday they host the Wenatchee Wild at 7:15 p.m.