For the defending BCHL champs, things aren’t going the way they’d like lately but there is considerable evidence to suggest things will turn around.
Yes, there has been six consecutive setbacks but four of those were by just one goal so it’s not as if they’ve been getting blown out of the rink. They also have been lethal on the man advantage, leading the BCHL with 20 power-play goals and a 31.3 per cent success rate.
Second-year head coach Barry Wolff says morale remains high with his group despite the recent returns.
“The thing about it is we’re getting better every day,” said Wolff, who has had prior BCHL stops as an assistant coach with the Langley Chiefs and a head coach with the Quesnel Milionaires. “The guys see we’re getting closer.”
That’s a crucial point when the bounces have been going against you. The team’s veterans make sure the entire group continues to focus on the positives.
“It’s our leadership group,” said Wolff. “(Corey) Mackin, (Joey) Santucci, Cody (Boyd), (Brendan) Lamont. They knew what it took to win last year and they’re trying to install it in the group.”
The fun part right now for the Express is when they can get their power play units out on the ice. Mackin leads the BCHL with five goals on the man advantage and also has six assists there. Wolff credits his players’ decision-making on the ice for the power-play success.
“The guys are just being heads up; and when you’re having success, you get the bounces too. Mackin… has taken control of the first unit and making the right play at the right time. And we’ve got (Daniel) Fritz with the big shot on the back end.”
While the thought-process is going well for all involved on the power-play, it’s the opposite on the penalty kill where nothing is going right at the moment. Coquitlam’s 70 per cent PK is lowest in the BCHL and certainly an area of attention for Wolff and his staff at practice.
But when you’re trying to snap a skid as the Express are, no area of the game goes neglected.
“We’re still working on everything,” said Wolff. “Every day has its own theme.”