It's not often the Coquitlam Express get to lead off a segment on The Sports Network.
On Friday night, they did just that - and they can thank forward Adam Rockwood for that.
Rockwood's dipsy-doodle penalty shot goal on Friday - that lifted the Express past the visiting Merritt Centennials 5-4 in 1: 48 of double-overtime - gave the snakebitten squad a respite from recent bad news and tough breaks. It also got them on the national TV sports show's highlight reel.
The win also marked the start of a new era, or at least the last leg of the 2012-13 season following the team's trading of scoring leaders John Siemer, Philip Zielonka and captain Mitch Nardi last Thursday.
Coquitlam finished the weekend with a tough 7-2 loss to the Prince George Spruce Kings on Saturday.
The twin contests mirrored some of the club's regular shortcomings this season - against Merritt, the Express struggled through a slow start and generated just 19 shots over 66 minutes. Against Prince George, the home team put up 37 shots, outshooting the Kings, but were bombarded in the second period of a game they dressed just nine forwards in.
But the spirited comeback on Friday and a goal that went viral was something that gave the club hope for its playoff chase.
"It was after a long shift and I was pretty exhausted," recalled Rockwood of his double-overtime penalty shot winner. "All I was thinking of was what move, what to do. Once I narrowed it down I had it in my mind, it wasn't like improvised or anything.
I knew we needed that win big-time and I'm just glad it worked out."
After neither team had scored in the first extra session, the two teams went to three-on-three skaters for the final five minutes. Merritt's Sean Maktaak drew a hooking penalty which resulted in an immediate penalty shot for Coquitlam.
Rockwood went on to dangle the puck mid-slot on netminder Tyler Steel before lifting it overtop the goalie's glove. It was just their eighth win since Halloween.
"It just looked like the guys packed it in but in the second period we turned it around, got some lucky bounces go our way for once and made a game of it," head coach Jon Calvano said. "In overtime we just threw everything to the wind. It was a phenomenal goal, how he undressed the goalie like that."
Newcomers Ben Israel and Garrett Forster, acquired for Zielonka from Chilliwack, both made strong contributions in their Express debuts. Israel threw a couple of huge hits and moved the puck efficiently, while 17-year-old Forster tallied once and set up another.
Also scoring in the win were Mitchell Fyffe and affiliate callup Jackson Cressey, with a pair.
Coquitlam fell behind 4-0 before Will Cook put one on the board for the home team on Saturday. Zach Pryzbek also tallied in the loss.
For Rockwood and the rest of the forwards, the trades have created an opening when it comes to scoring opportunities. The top line - which is expected to be led by veteran Justin Georgeson and newcomer Adam Rossignol - has an opening, while powerplay chances will be spread around to those who help generate scoring opportunities.
"(Calvano) needs the secondary scorers to be the primary scorers, and some of us know that's us. It was a big game for me confidence-wise, Jon used me in good situations like 3-on-3 overtime where there's a lot of room to skate, where I'm best," noted Rockwood.
The Express, who sit just a single point back of the Langley Rivermen and the final playoff berth, host Langley on Friday, 7 p.m. at the Sports Centre. They venture to Merritt for a game on Saturday, and wrap up the weekend Friday with the return of Siemer and the Penticton Vees, 2 p.m. at the Sports Centre.