Express Peewees Win CHL Championship Tournament
Posted by: Steve Esworthy on Mon Feb 22nd 2016 9:21am
The Roanoke Express Peewees traveled to Wake Forest, NC for the 2015-2016 CHL Ryan Sobiech Memorial Tournament. The Express qualified for the CHL Championship Tournament as the #3 seeded team on the strength of their CHL Peewee "A" Central Division Championship and 10-1-1 CHL regular season mark.
The Express opened the CHL Tournament by squaring off in a much-anticipated match-up against overall top seed Greater Greenville (SC) Hockey Association. The Express opened up the scoring early in the first period and road stifling defense to a 3-0 upset of the #1 seed.
The home-standing East Coast Eagles we the next opponent for the boys from Roanoke. The Express fell behind the hard-charging Eagles midway through the first period. The second period saw a ferocious comeback for the Express as they dominated play throughout the period, seized the opportunity created by multiple ECE penalties and took a 2-1 lead into the third period. The Express relinquished the lead midway through period three giving up two goals in just over a minute to fall behind. The Eagles took yet another penalty late in the third period allowing the Express to pull the goalie and attack 6 on 4. Just seconds into the two man advantage and with only 45 seconds left in the game, Charlie Felmlee notched the tying goal on a rebound.
The final round robin game for the Express was an important match-up against the Charlotte Jr. Checkers Black. The Express had dominated the Jr. Checkers in an early season exhibition series, but this was not the same Checkers team. The Checkers were motivated and skated hard from the opening puck drop. The game featured excellent defense and goaltending by both teams. The Express came out on top by a 2-0 count and secured a semif-final berth as the top seed from their pool.
The CHL semi-final saw the Express play a first-time opponent for the third time in three days. The Carolina Stars squared off with the Express on the Olympic-sized ice of the Raleigh Ice Plex. The Express played strong throughout the game taking an early lead and locking up a 4-0 win over the Stars, who were more interested in playing physical than they were in actually mounting an offensive challenge. The Express kept their cool and sailed into the CHL Championship game completely overwhelming their opponents.
The CHL Championship saw a rematch between the Express and the East Coast Eagles. The Eagles were coming off a 5-4 upset of the Wilmington IceHawks in a heated semi-final. The Express ,playing with only three defensemen in the wake of an injury to Daniel Abbott in the semi-final, rode stifling defense and stellar goaltending by Ben Skelton to a 2-0 Championship victory. The Championship game shutout marked the Express' 4th shutout in five CHL Tournament games...an absolutely amazing accomplishment at any level of hockey.
This CHL Championship marks Valley Youth Hockey Association's first such title in many years. This team, their families, and coaches have much to celebrate. Congratulations, Roanoke Express Peewee travel team...Champions of the CHL Peewee A!
Express Win Music City Cup; Finish First in CHL Peewee Central Division
Posted by: Steve Esworthy on Sat Feb 13th 2016 9:01pm
The Roanoke Express peewees have been on a hot streak of late. The Express traveled to Nashville, TN to compete in the Peewee A1 Division of the Music City Cup. The Express finished 2-1-0 in round robin play sandwiching victories over a trio of opponents from the state of Illonois.
The Express defeated the Joliet Jaguars (3-0) and the Chicago Blues (3-2) on either side of a loss to the Geneva Cyclones (2-0).
The Express qualified for the semi-finals as the tournaments #3 seed where they faced off against Orchard Lakes United from Michigan. Orchard Lakes was coached by future NHL Hall of Fame player Daniel Alfredsson. The Express came out firing on all cylinders and defeated OLU 4-0 to advance to the tournament championship.
The championship game against Indian Hill (OH) Winter Club was a nailbiter. The Express never led in the game, but were able to force overtime on a goal by Isaac Fuller with just over 2 minutes left in the third period. Less than a minute into overtime, Connor Gilkeson was able to convert a breakaway off an assist from Kell Kirtley to secure the title.
The Express returned to CHL play in late February and early March. The Express finished the regular season with 5-0-1 mark to finish the CHL regular season at 10-1-1. The Express secured the division championship with a final weekend sweep in Hillsborough, NC.
The 10-1-1 regular season record will make the Express the #3 seed in the CHL End of Season Tournament from February 19-21 in Wake Forest, NC. Let's Go Express!
Express Push Streak to 15; Prepare for Music City Cup
Posted by: Steve Esworthy on Mon Jan 04th 2016 12:20pm
The Roanoke Express Peewees extended their win streak to 15 games with a pair of victories against CHL cross-divisional foe the Charlotte Jr. Checkers Black on Sunday, January 3rd. The Express took the first game by a 9 to 1 count. Game 2 offered more of the same as the Express pulled away to an 11 to 1 win.
These games were a good test for the Express coming off a three week holiday break. the Jr. Checkers Black currently reside in third place in the CHL Peewee A South Division. The Checkers Black is a potential CHL playoff foe should both teams qualify for the tournament in late February.
The Express used these games as a tune up for their upcoming trip to Nashville to participate in the Music City Cup on Martin Luther Kin, Jr. Weekend. The Express are slate to take part in the A1 Division of the tournament playing teams from Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. Among the teams in the Express' bracket are at least three "AA" level teams from these traditional hockey hot beds. The Music City Cup will certainly put this group to the test.
Express on 10 Game Win Streak; Returnin to CHL Action.
Posted by: Steve Esworthy on Tue Nov 24th 2015 5:25pm
The Roanoke Express Peewee travel team is riding a 10 game winning streak following a weekend sweep of the West Virginia Wild in the friendly confines of the Berglund Center on November 21 and 22.
In game one of the series, the Express jumped out to a two goal lead in the first period. The visitors from Charleston, WV responded with two goals of their own early in the second period to tie the game. The Express responded with two goals of their own in the middle stanza. The Express took at 4-2 lead into the final frame only to see the Wild notch another goal just over a minute into the period. That goal made the score 4-3 and signaled that the Express were in for a fight. The Express responded with five unanswered goals to secure the 9-3 victory behind the goaltending of Jackson H.
Game two on Sunday morning was a different story as the Express opened a three goal lead at the end of the first period. the Express rode opportunistic scoring and solid goaltending to a 8-0 home win. The Express effort was backstopped by Alex F. who recorded his first shutout as a peewee goalie.
With the pair of wins against the WV Wild, the Express season record moved to 10-1-0 (2-1-0 CHL). The two victories moved the Express' season win streak to 10 games. Following the Thanksgiving holiday, the Express will return to action in the Carolinas Hockey League when they host the Carolina Lightning Balck, RYHA White and Charlotte Jr. Checkers Red during the weekend of December 5 and 6. That weekend promises to be choked full of exciting hockey with the CHL Peewee A Central Division lead on the line.
Professional Hockey to Return to Roanoke for 2016!
Posted by: Steve Esworthy on Tue Oct 20th 2015 1:37pm
HUNTERSVILLE, NC – The Southern Professional Hockey League today announced the move of the Mississippi Surge to Roanoke, VA, who will return to the ice for the 2016-2017.
At a press conference held this morning at the Berglund Center, league president Jim Combs stated that in addition to the move, the SPHL Board of Governors last week approved the team’s majority transfer of ownership from Surge Ice, LLC to Breakaway Sports and Entertainment, LLC.
Serving as majority owners of Breakaway Sports and Entertainment, LLC are Bob McGinn and his sons, Jamie, Tye and Brock, all three of whom are currently under NHL contracts with Buffalo, Tampa Bay and Carolina, respectively. In addition to the McGinn family, premier sports artist Rob MacDougall, SPHL Chairman Tim Kerr and several local investors are part of the group bringing hockey back to Roanoke.
After 34 years in the heating and air conditioning business, McGinn retired from a successful career as sales and marketing manager in Toronto, Ontario. His lifelong passion has always been sports and along with his wife Cori, this passion was highlighted by raising all three of their boys to earn NHL contracts. His retirement didn't last long, as the passion of owning a professional hockey team led their family to the SPHL and the city of Roanoke, where a drive to win championships and grow the game of hockey is his goal.
"There is a strong fan base for hockey here in Roanoke and the SPHL is the best kept secret in hockey," McGinn said. "We have a city and a league that wants us and we definitely want to be in Roanoke. Our five local owners were a must-have to complete our business plan and my family and I can't wait to drop the puck."
“After several years of searching for a dynamic ownership group, we are excited about the opportunity the McGinn family and Breakaway Sports are bringing to Roanoke and the SPHL,” stated Combs.
The Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL), now in its 12th season, will have nine teams taking the ice when the regular season opens on October 23:
The defending President's Cup Champion Knoxville (TN) Ice Bears, Columbus (GA) Cottonmouths, Fayetteville (NC) FireAntz, Huntsville (AL) Havoc; (Lafayette) Louisiana IceGators, Macon (GA) Mayhem; (Southaven) Mississippi RiverKings; Pensacola (FL) Ice Flyers and Peoria (IL) Rivermen.
For more information on the new Roanoke franchise and the Southern Professional Hockey League, check out our website at www.thesphl.com.