The Express had a relatively light workload last week, with only two games over the weekend in scenic Kalamazoo. On the cusp of not making the playoffs with only a few weeks left in the season, every point counts!
After a week which saw the Express’ lackluster play get them bumped right out of the running for the postseason and landing them in 10th place, Chicago needed to bounce back with a good showing last weekend. That they did my friends. That they did.
After a January in which the Express finished 4-6-1-1 (ouch), Chicago needed to get off on the right foot (Skate? Ha – ok, I’m not funny) in February in order to keep pace with the North Division. The Express spent last week on the road again with two games in Trenton, and one in Elmira
After a four day break to lick their wounds after the Florida roadtrip, the Express headed to Cincinnati to take on the division rival Cyclones for back-to-back games last weekend.
After ringing in New Year’s weekend with a sparkling 1-1-1 record (hey, at least it’s symmetrical), the Chicago Express played back-to-back games at the Sears Centre vs. the Reading Royals on Friday and Saturday. The Express hoped to get on track (See what I did there? Track? Yeah, get used to these horrible puns) against the Atlantic Division affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins. That’s an odd couple. The Express faced the Royals twice in Pennsylvania in late November and won both contests.
Reading Royals 9, Chicago Express 2
These are the type of games I thank whatever deity who cares to listen that I was not in attendance for it. Ick. Just gross.
Friday night’s starter, Allen York had just been returned to the Express from the Springfield Falcons (Columbus’ AHL affiliate) – I’m sure he was wishing he were back there after a period and a half.
The Royals started their barrage with a goal from Ryan Button just 2:56 into the game, with an assist from recently departed Express member Yannick Tifu. I miss saying his name. TIFUUUUU. Just 59 seconds later, Casey Haines potted a shorthanded tally to put Reading up 2-0.
Melrose Park native Joe Cucci got the Express within a goal at 5:21 of the first off a Kyle Ostrow deflection – it was Cucci’s first professional goal. 59 seconds after the Express goal (I sense a pattern…) Reading struck right back with a goal from Ryan Cruthers. The first period would end with a 3-1 Royals lead.
The floodgates opened in the second for the Royals with goals by Matt Schepke, and a pair by Dale Mitchell. I’m not exactly sure what the Express were doing in the middle frame except hanging York out to dry.
In the interest in mercy, Paul Dainton started in net for the beginning of the third period, and proceeded to give up three additional goals to the Royals on a mere six shots. Schepke and Cruthers both scored their second goals of the game, and Yannick Riendeau (more than one Yannick on a team? Huh?) scored on the powerplay with 3:35 left in the game. Chad Painchaud (or as I like to call him, “Hot Bread”) did score his 9th goal with the Express in the period, but it was too little too late.
Feeling left out of the box score, Devin DiDiomete was booked for a double roughing minor and a 10 minute misconduct in the middle of the period, Scott Wietecha had a fight with Todd Griffin, and Chaz Johnson got a 2, 5 and a game misconduct for boarding.
Despite getting skunked, somehow the Express outshot the Royals 35-34. Reading goaltender Mark Owuya apparently ate his Wheaties that morning.
Let’s pretend this game never happened.