“We’re cautiously optimistic”.
Those were the words Coquitlam Express head coach Jason Fortier uttered when talking about what he expected to see from his club this season.
Well now, the Express are wrapping up a storybook regular season and marching into the BCHL playoffs as the first seed team in the entire league after securing the title with a win over the Penticton Vees Friday night.
Goaltender Clay Stevenson became the franchise leader in single season wins with 30, surpassing Kevin Jebson of the 2007-08 team.
At the forefront of the Express’ storybook season is the fact that Stevenson tragically lost his mother in early September, and he has been nothing short of remarkable ever since. The future member of the Dartmouth College Big Green picked up a shutout in his first start of the season — his first game back after his mother committed suicide.
From that point on, the Express’ sense of camaraderie and a sheer will to play hard for one another was on display throughout the remainder of their season. The Express have just one player among the BCHL’s top 20 goal scorers as Greg Lapointe is tied for second most in the league behind Trail’s Kent Johnson.
All season long, the Express have run four lines that could score at any given time, with each line bringing the same tenacity and hustle as the last. Sticking up for one another and putting in a full 60 minute effort for one another are just some of the ways the Express have shown why the team is now the BCHL Regular Season Champions.
The Express secured the Ron Boileau Trophy for the first time in franchise history with Friday night’s 3-2 victory over Penticton. They look to keep this momentum going deep into the playoffs as they continue their quest to capture the Fred Page Cup.
The Express is most likely to meet the Langley Rivermen in the first round of the BCHL playoffs.