Column: Coquitlam Express a dangerous opponent

The Coquitlam Express came out of left field to win the BCHL title last year, and Jacob Bestebroer believes it could happen again.

The Chilliwack Chiefs escaped Coquitlam with a 5-4 overtime win over the Express in one of the most exciting games of the season Wednesday night.

Don’t let Coquitlam’s record, which now stands at 8-11-0-3 fool you. They are a good team and an exciting team to watch. They can score goals in bunches and right now they are playing a style where they are really only concerned about scoring more goals than the other team.

That’s a refreshing change approach given the soccer style (choke the game into a defensive struggle and eke out a 2-1 win) that so many teams play these days. Coquitlam will tighten up a bit defensively as the season goes on and will be a dangerous team in the playoffs.

They are not that unlike last season when they went 27-26-2-3 then won the BCHL championship..

The Chiefs did something I’ve never seen them do before in Wednesday’s game, scoring three shorthanded goals. While they have done that before I’ve never seen them do it on three consecutive opposition power plays.

That’s what they did in the second period, giving themselves a 4-0 lead. After the fourth goal I thought, ‘With the way this Express team can score, four goals may not be enough to win.’ I didn’t foresee the Chiefs needing overtime to get the two points but no lead is safe against that team.

No BCHL team is better than the Express on face-offs and they were absolutely dominant in that area Wednesday.

They are so confident in their face-off abilities that often instead of doing the standard dump and chase thing they’ll softly dump the puck in on the opposition goaltender to force a face-off, and run a set play after they win it.

The Express make three more visits to Prospera Centre this season; Nov.  22, Dec. 12 and Feb. 28. I’m setting the over under on total goals in each of those games at 9.5.

Last Saturday’s home game, a 7-1 win over the arch rival Langley Rivermen sure has people talking.

A great crowd topping 3,000 was the biggest in close to two years and created a great atmosphere. Things got a little heated in the third period and it had people thinking back to the days of the old coliseum when games like that were the norm.

The anti fighting rules that have come into the game since those days prevented it from really getting out of hand. There was only one fight in this game.

Under the old rules that game would have taken an additional ninety minutes to play.

The Chiefs continue to battle the injury bug. Defenseman Mark Esposito, who was getting close to being ready after missing a month with a hand injury, is going to be out for a while longer after aggravating the injury.

Forward Brandon Potomak returned last weekend after missing a month with a hand injury but left after the first period of Saturday’s game and may be out a while depending on x-ray results which were not known by Thursday morning.

 

jb@chilliwackchiefs.net

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