Express take Alberni Bulldogs 4-3

Playing three games in three days caught up with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs as they lost 4-3 against the Coquitlam Express on Sunday afternoon.

Bulldogs forward Lars Hepso

Bulldogs forward Lars Hepso

Playing three games in three days caught up with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs as they lost 4-3 against the Coquitlam Express on Sunday afternoon.

“After playing three games in three nights we didn’t come out and play the way we wanted to,” Bulldogs assistant coach Adam Heyduk said. “We were holding onto the puck too long and making other mental errors.”

Coquitlam led 1-0 after one period when scoring opened up in the second period.

Bulldogs forward Lars Hepso evened the score with a penalty shot at 7:41. Coquitlam’s Mitch Nardi answered with power play goal at 11:17 then added another to make it 3-1. Bulldogs forward Justin Morello closed it to 3-2 before Coquitlam defenceman Clinton Atkinson answered just 40 seconds later to make it 4-2.

Each team took three penalties back-to-back in the second with Coquitlam capitalizing on one of them.

Bulldogs forward Dylan Nowakowski scored the only goal of the third period to make it 4-3 but that’s as close as they would come.

The third period also saw separate five-minute majors and misconducts given to Bulldogs Josh Mitchell and Coquitlam’s Taylor Love for blows to the head incidents.

The Express took fewer penalties than the last game against the Bulldogs, Coquitlam coach Jon Calvano said. “We stayed out of the penalty box and were able to roll over all of our lines.”

Express goalie Khaleed Devji faced 36 shots while the Bulldog’s Max Fenkell faced 25. Each team was 1-4 on the power play.

Coquitlam is 3-2 after the win while the Bulldogs are 3-1, after notching wins against Victoria and Cowichan on Friday and Saturday.

The Express was a different team from the one the Dogs faced a week ago. “They made adjustments on entry plays and made hard rim passes to their D on the other side,” Heyduk said.

The Dogs came out with renewed energy in the third, and they got back to basics by putting the puck on net and finishing checks. The result was 10 shots to Coquitlam’s six with one goal but it was too little too late.

“We battled back and if we had five more minutes the result would have been different but we just ran out of time,” Heyduk said.

The Dogs will be studying game film on Monday before facing the Nanaimo Clippers at the AV Multiplex on Tuesday.

The Bulldogs were 6-4 against the Clippers last year.

Nanaimo has a new general manager and other new personnel behind the bench this year. But they also have a new goalie and four new defencemen as well.

“They’re a completely different team behind the bench and in front of it.”

reporter@albernivalleynews.com