Stevenson stops 49 shots to extend Express win streak

Clay Stevenson made 49 saves to lead the Coquitlam Express to its 16th straight victory Saturday, 5-4 over the Vernon Vipers in Vernon.

It was the veteran goalie’s 26th win in 28 games this season.

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After spotting the Vipers a 1-0 lead midway through the first period, the Express went up 3-1 after Christian MacDougall tied it three seconds before the intermission break and Cooper Connell and Greg Lapointe scored in the first 2:17 of the second period.

Vernon fought back to get back on even terms, 3-3, before the end of the frame during which the Vipers outshot the visitors 19-9.

Tyler Schleppe put Coquitlam back in front, deflecting Adam Trotman’s shot past Vernon goalie Reilly Hebst with just over six minutes left in the third period.

Again, the Vipers tied it, as Landon Fuller scored his second of the game with 2:45 remaining in regulation.

But 55 seconds later, Ethan O’Rourke netted the winner, and Stevenson ensured the victory by turning away everything the Vipers threw at the Express net with an extra attacker on the ice.

The win was the second of a three-game road trip after the Express defeated the West Kelowna Warriors, 4-3, on Friday.

Trotman scored twice for the visitors and Lapointe and Massimo Rizzo added singles, while Stevenson stopped 30 of the 33 shots he faced.

Coquitlam will try to extend its win streak to 17 games against the Silverbacks in Salmon Arm this afternoon.

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