One team moves on, the other goes home.
The Merritt Centennials (7-2-1) visit the Penticton Vees (3-2-1) tonight for game seven of their second round best of seven series. The Centennials are coming off of emotional victories in both games five and six. Game five came on the road, a 5-4 victory to force a game six, which the Centennials won 2-1 in overtime in front of a sellout crowd at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. Tyrell Buckley scored the game winning goal 10:29 into overtime in that game. For a lot of the players on the Centennials, this is their first ever game seven, and Cents Head Coach/GM Joe Martin says keeping nerves in check will be key.
"In a game like this often times one mistake will be looked back upon as the reason you won or lost. I like the way we handle ourselves off the ice and on the bench, and staying calm will be very big in a game like this."
The Centennials clawed back from 2-0, and 3-1 series deficits to force a game seven. Not a single player on the Centennials has been to a game seven before. For all of them, the pressures of game seven will be a first. A big key for this game will be the first goal. The team that's scored first has gone on to win all six games. The Vees scored first in games one, two and four, while the Centennials scored first in games three, five and six. The losing team in every single game has only scored one goal except for game five. Both teams haven't been efficient on the powerplay, if at all as both teams are a combined 3/41 (7.3%). All three of those powerplay goals came in game five.
The Centennials are led by Tyler Ward, who continues his electric play this postseason. He has 16 points (nine goals seven assists) in ten games thus far, and leads the BCHL in scoring. Game six was only the second time Ward was held off the scoresheet this postseason. Stephan Seeger has been very solid as well, sitting second on the team with five goals and five assists for ten points. Michael Regush is coming off of his best game as a Centennial in game six, and he currently has eight points in ten games thus far. After registering six points in four games in the opening round, Brett Jewell has not gotten a single point this series.
The Vees are led by their captain Nic Jones, who leads the team with eight points. His three goals also leads the team, and he has a game winning goal to his credit as well (OT winner in game four). Chris Klack leads the team with six assists, and the top line of Jones, Klack, and Duncan Campbell has been effective this series, combining for 18 points in six games. The Vees have gotten scoring by committee, as currently no less than twelve different players have atleast a goal, and only Turner Riplinger has failed to register atleast one point.
Jake Berger and Mat Robson will get the starts for game seven. Berger has been the better goaltender so far, as he's gone 7-3 with a 2.60 GAA and a .929 SV%. Robson so far is 3-3 with a 2.20 GAA and a .924 SV%. In the series, Berger is 3-3 with a 2.44 GAA and a .934 SV%. Berger is coming off of one of his best games in his career, a 47 save win in game six. Lineup wise, forward Zach Court (Undisclosed) will be ready to play game seven, he will be a gametime decision. He has not played this series. Ever since Ian Creamore has been inserted in the lineup, the Centennials have gone 3-0-1. Puckdrop for game seven goes tonight at 7pm at the SOEC. The winner will face the Vernon Vipers in round three.