In a season pinned by disappointment, heartbreak and misfortune, how apropos that the Coquitlam Express would finally feel the love in the week of Valentine's Day.
The B.C. Hockey League club delivered a pair of losses to two of their betters, as the 20-28-1 Express upset both the Surrey Eagles and Chilliwack Chiefs.
Monday's celebration of Family Day couldn't have come off any better than in the 3-1 triumph the home team held over the visiting Chiefs.
Sparked by some impressive discipline and a momentum-saving impression of Floyd Mayweather Jr. by blueliner Cal Hofford, the Express knocked second-place Chilliwack off its pedestal and took advantage of some foolish penalties.
Powerplay tallies by ex-Chief Ben Israel and Adam Rockwood took advantage of a chippy outing by Chilliwack, while Travis Stephens wired home the eventual game winner early in the third period.
But the talk after the game was about Hofford's fight with Tanner Cochrane, which saw a flurry of haymakers delivered by each.
"That fight that Cal Hofford had was a huge morale boost for us," remarked Israel. "Their fighter [Cochrane] wanted to go, and Hoff came up huge for us.
"They were trying to build momentum and get the win in the fight and Hoff laid a couple of good ones in on him. It was a huge boost of momentum and we just kept going from there."
It came just over a minute after Stephens' tally, as Coquitlam had begun to outplay the visitors after getting outshot 13-8 in the first period. Rockwood's marker came with 10 minutes left in the third, and while the Chiefs tried to ramp up a rally, they were slowed down by a steady stream of penalties.
Israel, who has six goals in 12 games since the Jan. 10 deal with Chilliwack, said both wins
- including Saturday's 3-2 overtime victory over Surrey - demonstrated some fierce pushback after last week's 7-1 loss to Langley.
"Everyone came together, we decided we weren't going to be an embarrassment," the 18-year-old defenceman said.
Rockwell notched the overtime winner on Saturday. Coquitlam's next test comes Saturday, 7 p.m. when they host the Nanaimo Clippers.
. To view highlights from Monday's game, download the Layar app to your smartphone or iPad and point your device at this page.