The Merritt Centennials fought valiantly over 3 periods last night. Despite getting out to the early lead, and carrying that through most of the game. The West Kelowna Warriors managed to come back and secure a victory by a score of 4-3 over the Cents in exhibition play yesterday night at Royal LePage Place.
The Cents opened the scoring with the lone goal of the first period. Jack Vincent, who's looked impressive so far through camp and preseason, sped down the right wing and found Mitch Ledyard back door who made no mistake to put Merritt in front.
Vincent Duplessis got the start for the Centennials and proved to be good yet again, stopping all eight shots he faced in the first. On the other end, Billy Girard stopped 9 of the 10 shots he faced for the Warriors.
In the second period, the teams traded goals. The Centennials got one early with Frazer Dodd deflecting a Jake Berry shot five hole on Girard to make it 2-0, but the Warriors answered shortly after with a nice passing play finished by Willie Reim to cut the lead in half at 2-1.
The third period saw the Cents get into a bit of penalty trouble as they surrendered a goal on a 5-on-3 at the midway point of the period. Warriors veteran Jake Harrison was able to slap a one-timer past Jordan Naylor who came in for 3rd period duty, and just 13 seconds later Harrison was able to beat Naylor again with a good move in tight. In a short span, the West Kelowna Warriors had their first lead 3-2.
The Cents managed to answer towards the late stages of the game with Ledyard getting his second goal of the game, a one-timer from the right face-off dot to even things up at 3, but again the Warriors responded quickly as Chase Dubois pounced on a broken play and was able to beat Naylor to makeit 4-3, the eventual final.
Merritt saw strong performances by Vincent, Dodd, Ledyard (2), and Duplessis once again. Duplessis stopped 17 of 18 shots before giving way to Naylor in the third who made 9 saves on 12 shots.
Merritt heads back home for a redemption game tonight at 7pm at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. Tickets 5 dollars at the door.