News and Announcements

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With the PNWJLL league statistics updated, the Saanich Express have found themselves taking the next step on the run of the league ladder, with a confirmation they have finished in 2nd place in the 2018 season.

Currently tied with the Bears from the Westshore, the missing game is a default/forfeit by the Nanaimo Timbermen on Sunday June 17th which gives the Express a two point lead over the Westshore Bears. Regardless of the Bears outcome tonight vs. the Cowichan Thunder, your Saanich Express will finish in 2nd place and will have home floor advantage over the Westshore Bears.

The rounds will be as follows: First Round (2 out of 3), Final Round (3 out of 5)
The Thunder will face the Ravens next weekend (July 14th – @ Cowichan & July 15th @ Campbell River) and game #3 if necessary on July 21st
The Express will face the Bears next Thursday (July 12th @ 8pm at the Q Centre Arena), games #2 and #3 (
if needed will be Express home games once an arena can be found) as Pearkes Arena in Saanich now has both floor surfaces covered in ice and the Archie Browning Arena is hosting the Canadian National Ball Hockey Championships.

Once an arena can be found, the schedule will be updated. Congratulations to the Saanich Express! Now… All Aboard the Express Train!!!

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To say there is not love lost between these two franchises would be an understatement. The rivalry between Westshore and Saanich has been a tremendous one throughout the past 15 years. Although the Cowichan Thunder sits atop of the standings; it was this game tonight that was drawing such overwhelming attention as playoff implications weren’t much of a factor as we know that the Thunder will face the Ravens and the Bears will face the Express, but seedings between Westshore and Saanich are still up in the air. The winner tonight could very well be the 2nd place finisher.

The Bears would start Senft in net while the visiting Express countered with Nolan Tytgat. Both goalies were tested in the first minute with each one standing up to the test but at 18:11 of the period, Peninsula Warriors product Mason Lo buries a low shot between the legs of Senft assisted by Riley Condon and Bryan Toth. At 17:57 Express’ John Etzel takes a major penalty for cross-checking and James Thompson of the Bears takes exception and gains himself an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, then a 10 minute misconduct and then finally a game misconduct but the home team gets the power play as Tytgat gets a slashing penalty from the crease and the Bears capitalize with two power play goals. Saanich then returns the favour with Mason Lo scoring his 2nd of the night assisted by fellow Peninsula product and midget teammate Jace Francis and tie the game. The Express take the lead on a shorthanded goal by Brayden Flynn, assisted by Lo and John Etzel but the home team would come back with another of their own. The Bears would take the lead 4-3 at 9:57 of the period but the Express didn’t stop at the station and scored 4 more unanswered goals by Jace Francis, John Etzel (x2), and Nic Hoekstra with assists going to Walker (x2), Condon (x2), Snow and Lo to finish the period with the Express leading 7-4 after 20 minutes of play.

With the Bears shorthanded to start the 2nd period, Saanich took full advantage on the power play with Etzel blazing one past the new Bears ’keeper (Damien Spaven) assisted by Brayden Flynn. The next 6 minutes has some good end to end action with a few penalties to boot but some good lacrosse. Then the Bears would score at 13:45 to make the score 8-5 and it appeared as though momentum was in the home teams favour but then the wheels fell off the bus for the Bears and Jace Francis would find the top right corner of the Westshore net assisted by Robbie Walker and Riley Condon. Then Zack Dhillon would score two goals 3 minutes apart; one on a breakaway and the other one shorthanded as he split the defense and drove to the net and beautifully buries a behind-the-back goal to make the score 11-5 for the visiting Express, the lone Express assist on one of the Dhillon goals was by goaltender Nolan Tytgat.

The third period was a quiet one with only a handful of penalties and only 2 goals, one each by the Bears and Express. The Express’ goal by Zack Dhillon who was wearing the “C” tonight in place of absent Captain Dan Barrodale who was away at work. Your Saanich Express have been firing on all cylinders and on a good “team” roll the past 2 weeks and as mentioned earlier, with this 12-6 win has taken over 2nd place in the PNWJLL standings.

The freight train has now earned a well deserved rest over this long weekend before they are back in the rink for practice to prepare for their first round playoff match-up with the Westshore Bears. Playoff dates and games per round are still undetermined at this time but the Express will announce this to their fans once it has been determined.

Okay fans of lacrosse and those still sitting on the tracks in disbelief that the Express are for real; let’s get on the Express Train and cheer on your home team when playoffs are announced. The road to Provincials had begun and the Express need everyone’s support! All Aboard!!!

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Whether you were a paying spectator or you just walked in for free; you certainly got your monies worth!
The Express visited the Thunder a week ago and just did not give the effort they have been accustomed to give throughout the season, so making up for last weeks game was a priority. The Express tied the Bears last Friday and then defeated the Ravens on Sunday to solidify a playoff position no lower than third but are certainly not accepting that placement as they looked to sneak up the standings and overtake the Westshore Bears for second.

Apollo Kimmie started in goal for the Thunder and Max Lavoie for the Express in this match up. The Thunder open the scoring scoring 2 power play goals on a roughing major to Robbie Walker. The Express bounce back with their first of the period at 15:48 on an unassisted goal by John Etzel. The home team then reply back with 2 more markers of their own and have a 4-1 lead with over half the period left to play. Is this a sign of what was last week?… Not tonight!!! With 1:40 left in the first, Brayden Flynn scores on a nice pick and roll with Bryan Toth and then with a man advantage :39 seconds later, Zack Dhillon makes a bid for power play time and fires in a cannon assisted by John Etzel and Riley Condon to bring the score to Cowichan (4) and Saanich (3) to close out the first period.

The 2nd period started with both teams working and running hard, not willing to give up the first goal of the stanza. After a couple of penalties to each team, the visiting Express tied the game on a power play goal by Riley Condon, assisted by midget call-up Mason Lo (Peninsula Warriors). Cowichan retakes the lead on the PP marker of their own but then gets in to penalty trouble which opened the door to an Express power play that was just looking for a reason to explode, and that they did. John Etzel steals a ball with the Thunder trying to clear their zone and fires one to tie the game at five. Then at 8:51 he buries another, assisted by Zack Dhillon and Brayden Flynn. Cowichan then ties the game at 6’s but the Express then take control of play and Zack Dhillon scores 3 goals over a four minute span (getting the natural hat trick) with assists on those goals coming by way of Riley Condon, Max Lavoie and Bryan Toth. The Thunder score a pretty goal with :01 second left in the 2nd period to close the gap but the Express outscore the home team 6-3 in the frame and take a 9-7 lead in to the final intermission.

Noticing momentum had changed, the Thunder start Kain Stewart in net in hopes of swinging the tides. With the Thunder in the box serving a double major (5 + 5 & Matches to boot), the Express spent very little time to score the next goal on the PP. At 19:18, Jorden Tytgat scores a goal (faster than the previous jellyfish shot) with the assist coming from this seasons unsung hero Noah Ackinclose making the score 10-7. The Thunder score the next 3 minutes later to claw back. Brayden Flynn then scores for the visitors, assisted by Zack Dhillon but the home team just wouldn’t quit. They score 2 more goals in six minutes to bring the game within one (11-10). The Express coaching staff noticing that their defensive stalwart was fatigued and moving slowly, they pulled Lavoie from the game to give him a break and inserted 5th year goalie Nolan Tytgat; hoping that coming in cold, but fresh would give the team a spark for the final 9 minutes of the game. That proved to be the “TSN Turning Point” as the Express then went to the cage immediately and Etzel scores on an assist from Matt Caseley. Etzel then buries the Thunder with two more goals at 7:13 and 3:34 with an assist coming from Brayden Flynn and securing the victory, giving the Thunder their first loss of the season.

The Express prove yet again that with a plethora of injuries and players hurting, the team rises to the occasion. What is also impressive is the play of each and every call-up that has played this season for the Express, and last nights game was no exception. Mason Lo and Jack Bowie played like 3rd year Juniors, not being intimidated by the step-up in caliber and looked like they were weren’t out of place at all. That bodes well for the midget players coming from the Peninsula as well as the Saanich players who played weeks earlier against Oceanside. The Saanich Express are thrilled with the talent that comes to play whenever given the chance.

This game was a HUGE victory and a tremendous confidence booster for your Saanich Express. With the win, it puts the Express in to 2nd place in the standings with one game left to play against the Westshore Bears. The Bears have 3 games left (Express, Timbermen and Thunder). With a crucial game on Thursday evening at the Q Center Arena, the winner could shore up 2nd place in the standings.

Next Game: Thursday, June 28th @ 8pm at the Q Center Arena with the Westshore Bears hosting your Saanich Express. Fans… jump in the boxcar and ride the rails to Juan de Fuca to cheer on your Saanich Express! All Aboard!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43nYG_HQxE8

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The Campbell River Ravens and Saanich Express faced off on Sunday for the Express’ last regular season home game of the 2018 PNWJLL season yesterday. The Ravens were a few bodies short for the contest but you wouldn’t have known it by the intensity they showed from the opening whistle. The Ravens took the play to the Express while the home team appeared to be lackadaisical and uninterested for the first few minutes of the first period.

The Ravens opened the scoring 2:15 in to the period and followed that goal up with two more at 16:28 and 8:25 to take a 3-0 lead. Making an effort to right the train on the rails, Saanich’s Brayden Flynn buries a goal at 5:10 assisted by Josh King and Zack Dhillon. With the Express on the board, the Ravens scored their 4th of the game just 6 seconds after the next face-off to take momentum away from the home club. Not dropping their heads, the home club rallied back with Bryan Toth (returning from injury) dragging a Ravens defender to him on a two on one and feeding Carter Wood on the left side for a one fake goal down low for his first Junior goal. That motivated the troops and sparked defensive players to transition the ball up the floor quickly for the remainder of the period. Rookie defender Andre Snow takes a loose ball coast to coast and buries a shot top shelf where Mom hides the cookies to make the score 4-3 and close the gap heading into the first intermission. That was also his first Junior lacrosse goal of his career.

With all wheels turning now for the Express, the home club dominated the second period and completely exhausted the visitors for 20 minutes. Goaltender Nolan Tytgat was outstanding in the period making all 14 saves and shutting out the visiting Campbell River squad. The first half of the period was a stalemate with neither team scoring and each team taking their share of minor penalties that appeared to be handed out like the Dickie Dee ice cream truck driver does on a hot summer day. At the 9:34 mark of the second period, Andre Snow again transitions the ball up the floor on a three on two but no defender slides and he walks down the middle to bury his second of the game. The Ravens get in to penalty trouble in the last 5 minutes of the second period and the Express make them pay! A power play marker by Brayden Flynn, assisted by Dan Barrodale puts the home team up by one and then shortly after that, Will Hale buries the 6th Express goal of the game assisted by Jorden Tytgat and Brayden Flynn. Your hometown Express now head in to intermission with a 6-4 lead.

The third period and game was decided early as Saanich opened the scoring 90 seconds in to the period with Robbie Walker walking around a picked off defender and cutting across the crease for this first of the game, assisted by Brayden Flynn. At 14:28 and on the power play because of a back-checking call, the Express scored their first of 2 goals. Jorden Tytgat fires one at the net like a jellyfish swimming through the water which caught the Ravens goaltender off guard; that goal was assisted nicely by Riley Condon and John Etzel. Two minutes later, Etzel buries a lazer from the top assisted by Brayden Flynn and Will Hale to put the game out of reach. The Ravens would get 2 more goals late in the game to draw the score closer but it wasn’t enough as your Saanich Express defeat the Ravens 9-6.

The Express advertised “Tacky Tourist & Fan Appreciation Day” on Sunday. Names of the winning contestants were not forwarded but the first place contestant won a skim board, a lacrosse book “Underhand” and a Saanich Express woven key chain. Second place won a Saanich Express dry-fit t-shirt and a key chain and third prize was a lacrosse book and a key chain. After the game, the Saanich players were judged and the unanimous favourite was Matt Caseley and Matt won himself a skim board as well, compliments of the Saanich Express.

Next up for the Express… a visit to Kerry Park Arena on Tuesday June 26th to face Cowichan and then Thursday June 28th to the Q Centre Arena to close the season versus the Westshore Bears. Let’s step off the platform and climb aboard the “Crazy Train!”

Rivalry Games Always Prove Exciting

Posted by Saanich Express at Jun 23, 2018 3:27PM PDT ( 0 Comments )
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The Westshore Bears visited the Saanich Express at the “Railyard” Archie Browning Arena last evening to play the third game between the two franchises this season. What has proven to be a great rivalry over the years did not disappoint; previous matches between the two clubs have produced some intense action packed lacrosse games. Previous contests had the Express defeating the Bears 11-8 and tying 10-10.

The two teams began play with end to end action, pushing the pace for the first half of the game, which reminded fans of what good ole’ lacrosse was meant to be played like. The bear opened the scoring at 12:29 of the period but the Express reciprocated with a nice overhand shot from the 24’ dotted line by Robbie Walker, assisted by Jorden Tytget and Josh King. The locomotive followed that up with a goal 3 minutes later by two transition specialists on a 2 on 1. Matt Caseley unselfishly moved the ball to Jonny Harmsworth putting the home team up 2-1. Westshore tied it up a minute later and not 10 seconds after that, the Express’ Jorden Tytgat buried their 3 and go ahead goal on a great face-off win by Riley Condon and feed from John Etzel. The Bears scored at 5:29 on an individual effort to tie the game at 3 and head in to the first intermission.

The second period had an explosion of opportunities and each team tallied 6 each for 12 goals in the period. The Express started the scoring with a power play marker from Brayden Flynn, assisted by Condon and Walker. The Bears tied the game shortly thereafter and then took a penalty to which your freight train scored another PP goal, this time by Zach Dhillon, assisted by Condon and Etzel. Dhillon then scored again assisted by the same duo but the Bears wouldn’t quit, matching the score yet again. Then the Express unloaded some box cars and hammered in 4 straight goals to the Bears’ 1 and appeared to take control of the period; goals were scored by Dhillon, Flynn, Walker and Etzel with assists coming from the sticks of Condon (3) and Etzel. But the home team just couldn’t lock their checks for the last half of the period and allowed 3 more from the Bears to tie the period with 6 goals each and the game up at 9 goals even.

The third period was a highly spirited affair as the marginal checks and stickwork was kept to a minimum but that didn’t take away from the atmosphere. A couple of scuffles and bad use of a stick gave the Express the drive to take the lead and keep it. With goals by Flynn, Etzel and 2 by Hale with assists going to Etzel, Flynn, Hale and Davey; the game appeared to be in hand for the home team. Then the “you know what” hit the fan and the game and players appeared to lose their cool for a bit causing a change in momentum from Saanich to Westshore. A few missed assignments and slow play created opportunity after opportunity for the visitors as they eventually would tie the game up at 3:23 of the third period. Each team had more than enough changes to take the lead and win the game but Bears goalie Damien Spaven and the Express’ Max Lavoie took over and directed each shot away from their goals to finish the game tied at 14 goals a piece.

Next game for the Express is their last home game of the regular season tomorrow afternoon at 2:30pm as they host the Campbell River Ravens. This is “FAN APPRECIATION DAY” and “TACKY TOURIST DAY” as all fans, parents and players dressing up as a Tacky Tourist will be eligible for some team prizes. A secret judge will vote on all fans in attendance and during the 2nd intermission, will be awarded prizes based on appearance and participation. Players will be judged after the game by their peers.

Come one, come all… as your Express Train get geared up for the end of season sprint to the playoffs. ALL ABOARD!

(https://youtu.be/ZDZtbBZuqb0)