The Merritt Centennials (4-1-0) visit the Penticton Vees (1-0-0) in game two of the second round best of seven series. The Vees lead the series 1-0 after winning game one 4-1 last night. The Centennials appeared to be nervous at times, and weren't able to generate many scoring chances, in large part due to the strong play of the Penticton defense. Cents Head Coach/GM Joe Martin says tonight the team needs to attack better.
"Our forecheck needs to be better. We made it easy on their defense to get the puck out, so we need to do a better job of coming down lower and pressuring them into turnovers."
Tyler Ward continues his brilliance throughout the post season, as he now has points in all five games, and 11 overall. He had an assist in game one, and was one of the few players that were noticeable that game. The lone goal was scored by Tyrell Buckley, who made his return to the lineup after serving his two game suspension in round one. Jake Berger continued his strong play throughout the playoffs as well, making 36 saves including some highlight reel stops.
The Vees were the league's best team defensively throughout the regular season, allowing the fewest goals against and leading the league in shutouts. The defense stepped up in more ways than one, accounting for three goals for (two from Gabe Bast, one from Griffin Mendel). In net, Robson didn't face too many challenges, but was very good in net for the Vees. It's a point of emphasis for the team to not give him easy looks, but to create more dangerous chances.
"It's always a point of emphasis, from here on out every team has great goaltending. We just have to go to the dirty areas and get goals that aren't pretty."
Expect both teams to be more disciplined, as last night there were 10 powerplays overall. Each team went 0/5 with the man advantage. These two teams were the fewest penalized teams in the BCHL in the regular season. Martin acknowledged a few penalties were warranted, but the team could be more disciplined. The Vees didn't have the best powerplay in the regular season (2nd worst mark in the Interior Division), but to give them multiple powerplays is not the best strategy.
Zach Court (Undisclosed) will miss his second straight game, as he was injured in game four of round one, and did not dress last night in game one. Jake Berger will get the nod for the Cents, he owns a 3.13 GAA and a .914 SV% through five games. Mat Robson will get the nod for the Vees. The Vees will be without forward Travis Sanheim (Upper Body) for the second straight game. Puckdrop goes at 6pm tonight at the SOEC.