The Merritt Centennials (4-1-0) dropped game one of their best of seven second round series against the Penticton Vees (1-0-0), losing 4-1 Friday night. The Centennials only scored once, a goal from Tyrell Buckley, and gave up 40 shots in the loss. Jake Berger made some big saves when he had to, but the team couldn't beat Mat Robson when it counted. Cents Head Coach/GM Joe Martin says the team simply wasn't good enough.
"They get two goals from the point, one goes off our back, the other a seeing eye shot. The Mendel goal I didn't like at all, then their last goal is Jones. Good player, lots of time in front, and it's in. They did a good job of capitalising, we can't be sloppy. You won't see the same jitters tomorrow."
The game started off with a bang, as the Vees scored on their first shot on net. Gabe Bast - playing his first playoff game with the Vees - shot an innocent looking puck from the blueline. It somehow found its way through traffic and beat Berger to open the scoring 1:24 into the game. The Centennials then took a penalty, but killed it off. The Vees scored again when Griffin Mendel rifled home a lazer shot over the shoulder of Berger to make it 2-0 at the 17:49 mark. The Vees then took a late penalty, which the Centennials did not score on. First period ended 2-0 with the shots 15-7 for Penticton.
The second period saw no goals, but a lot of penalties which was surprising considering both of these teams were the least penalized teams in the BCHL in the regular season. Mitch Meek took a penalty just over halfway through the period, but then Henry Cleghorn negated that powerplay with a penalty of his own just 10 seconds later. Brett Jewell later took a penalty, which the Centennials killed off. Then Ryley Risling took a penalty for the Vees, only to have the Centennials take themselves off the powerplay again when Tyler Ward took a boarding call.
The Vees scored early in the third period, a second goal from Bast. This time, his point shot hit the backside of Mike Faulkner and caromed into the net. Bast's second made it 3-0 3:08 into the period. The Centennials got one back to pull within two, with Tyrell Buckley - a native of Penticton - scoring on a rebound over the glove of Robson. The Centennials stormed, but couldn't beat Robson. The Vees got one from captain Nic Jones with just over three minutes left to seal the deal, and went on to take game one by a score of 4-1.
NOTES: With an assist, Ward picked up his 11th point of the postseason. He has now scored atleast a point in all five games so far. Mat Robson made 26 saves for the win. Both teams went 0/5 on the powerplay. The Centennials have now lost 13 games in a row to the Vees in the playoffs dating back to 2006. The Vees were coming off of a first round bye, and hadn't played since February 24th. Game two is now Saturday, at 6pm at the SOEC.