Express halt Viper streak to start their own

Vernon Viper goalie Austin Smith makes the save on a sprawling Adam Rockwood in Coquitlam’s 4-2 win Sunday afternoon. - Dan Ebenal/The Tri-City News
Vernon Viper goalie Austin Smith makes the save on a sprawling Adam Rockwood in Coquitlam’s 4-2 win Sunday afternoon.
— image credit: Dan Ebenal/The Tri-City News

The Vernon Vipers came into Coquitlam riding a six-game unbeaten streak. But a three-goal third period helped the Express snap that streak with a 4-2 win Sunday afternoon.

“We played within ourselves, kept our checks in front of us and just played well,” said Express coach Barry Wolff. “It’s a big confidence boost for us. It shows that we can beat anybody in this league when we want to play together.”

Vernon held a 2-1 lead heading into the third period but Express captain Ryan Rosenthal got the comeback rolling, notching his 20th of the year on the power play in the opening minute of the period.

“We were on the power play and [Marc] Biega got a shot through. He’s really good at finding those seams,” said Rosenthal. “I got a stick on it and changed the direction of the puck. The goalie still got his foot on it but then he was out of position and I just tapped it in.”

Biega and Ben Israel also scored for the Express with Canon Pieper capping off the comeback into an empty net.

“It shows that we don’t let ourselves get down when we fall behind. We really rally and come together as a team and fight back,” said Rosenthal.

Gordie Defiel made 17 saves for the Express, who outshot the Vipers 28-19.

The win moves Coquitlam to within six points of the Prince George Spruce Kings for second place in the Mainland Division.

The Express opened the weekend with a 6-3 win over the Spruce Kings Friday night.

“We kept it simple, we drove wide and got pucks to the net,” said Wolff.

Coquitlam was coming off a 6-0 shutout to the Kings Wednesday night and Adam Rockwood snapped the shutout streak six minutes into Friday night’s game.

Bo Pieper supplied a goal and two assists, while Canon Pieper, Joey Santucci and Jace Hennig each netted a goal and an assist. Biega provided the other Coquitlam goal. Defiel turned aside 22 shots as the Express outshot Prince George 35-25.

The Express will now look to string together three consecutive wins for the first time since the beginning of October.

“We’ve been struggling with consistency all year. It’s a mental part of the game that we just don’t have right now,” said Wolff. “Hopefully, we can start stringing them together. It’s frustrating, no question.”

The Express get back in action Friday when they host the Nanaimo Clippers at 7 p.m.

“The unfortunate part is we don’t play until Friday so hopefully we don’t lose this momentum,” said Wolff, who would like to be in action every night.



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