by Ian Jacques Coast Reporter Two third period goals propelled Powell River Kings to a 3-2 BC Hockey League (BCHL) exhibition win over Coquitlam Express before approximately 200 hockey fans Sunday afternoon, September 11, in Gibsons.
Coquitlam opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game when Justin Georgsen fired a high shot from just inside the blue line that beat Kings goalie Jamie Phillips by gliding over his shoulder.
Powell River tied the game 13 minutes later as Brandon Tidy scored his first of two goals of the day and the teams skated off tied 1-1 after the first.
Coquitlam came out hard in the second and saw John Siemer snap a wicked wrist shot top shelf behind Phillips at the 6:41 mark and Coquitlam led by one after two.
Express ventured into penalty problems in the third and it cost them as Tidy tied the game 2-2 at the five-minute mark and Brenden Forbes scored the game winner on the powerplay with seven minutes to go.
The final seven minutes produced tough play with a parade to the penalty box.
“It was a better third period,” said Chad van Dieman, Kings associate head coach and assistant general manager. “The first was okay, the start of the second was pretty bad for about the first eight or nine minutes. But the guys really responded in the third. It’s good to see that our guys kept their composure and the powerplay gave us the chance. We’re happy to come out with the win.”
With the win, Kings finished the preseason with a 4-0 record while Express dropped to 1-2.
“I think in a 60-minute game we played pretty good for 50,” said Jon Calvano, Express head coach. “In the third period we became undisciplined and took some penalties which caused us some problems. For 45 to 50 minutes I thought we played well. We’re playing physical. We were hard on the forecheck, our goaltender played quite well and made some good saves out there. But it’s exhibition and that’s what it’s about—there’s no two points. It’s a chance to test ourselves against some of the best teams in the league.”
Express open their season at home Friday, September 23 against Penticton Vees while the Kings open at home the same night against Nanaimo Clippers.
Being an exhibition game held in Gibsons and Area Community Centre, the town put on quite a show to entertain ticket holders. The town seldom sees BCHL action, and the first Junior A exhibition game in the community centre was held in 2009 to a sold-out arena.
This year the game was highlighted by a minor hockey mini game from the Tyke division and a performance from Sunshine Coast Figure Skating Club.
At the start of the game, after the singing of the National Anthem, lower Sunshine Coast first responders, including RCMP, paramedics and firefighters, made their way onto the ice where a moment of silence was observed in remembrance of the victims of 9/11. Bob Stevens, Gibsons fire chief, performed the ceremonial puck drop between the two team captains.