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Express battle Capitals to a draw
Three-on-three hockey and even a penalty shot couldn’t separate the Coquitlam Express and Cowichan Valley Capital Saturday night.
The Express and Capitals fought to a 4-4 overtime tie in front of 1,300 fans at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex.
“It doesn’t happen very often, that’s for sure, especially with the three-on-three,” Express coach Barry Wolff said of Coquitlam’s first tie of the year.
“For whatever reason, I thought Cowichan outplayed us in overtime. At least they got more shots, I don’t know if they were quality. We definitely had the chance to win it with the penalty shot.”
Adam Rockwood was awarded the penalty shot with less than two minutes remaining in the second overtime.
“He had him beat but he couldn’t get it upstairs. He had to go upstairs with it and he kind of caught a bunch of snow,” said Wolff.
Cowichan’s Jarrett Brown opened the scoring with a shorthanded marker in the first period. Goals by Ryan Rosenthal and Joey Santucci gave the Express the lead but Mason Malkowich pulled the Capital even despite being outshot 19-8 in the period.
“Their guy played real well in net,” Wolff said of Cowichan goalie Robin Gusse, who turned aside 40 shots.
“We did dominate most of the game but they got a couple of chances and scored.”
The Capitals jumped ahead 4-2 in the second before Jace Hennig brought the Express back within one. Rosenthal’s second of the game tied things up five minutes into the third period.
“We battled back and tied it up but we just couldn’t pull it out,” said Wolff, who was impressed with his team’s ability to battle back.
“It’s just the character in the room and the mentality that we need to play 60 minutes. The game’s never over until that final whistle.”
Gordie Defiel made 32 saves in the Coquitlam net and Wolff singled out the play of Rockwood, who finished the night with his league-leading 41st assist of the year.
“I thought Rockwood played one of his best games of the year. He’s just so patient with the puck. He’s starting to figure out the defensive part of the game which is huge for him in his development,” said the coach.
The Express currently sit in third spot in the Mainland Division with 40 points in 38 games, eight back of Prince George. They make their way over the Coquihalla over the weekend, facing off against the West Kelowna Warriors Friday before taking on the Vernon Vipers Saturday.
“It’s going to be two tough games, West Kelowna is good and Vernon obviously is making the Royal Bank Cup run so they’ll be two tough games for us. We just have to play our game and make sure we’re strong defensively,” said Wolff.