The Merritt Centennials faced the West Kelowna Warriors for the second time in two nights. The Warriors won the opener, and on Saturday night in front of a healthy host of home fans, the Centennials couldn't convert on their chances and fell 5-1 to West Kelowna.
The first period was even through the first 5 minutes with both teams trading chances, but against the flow of play on a counter attack defender Bryon Moradshadi of the Warriors was able to streak down the wing and get a shot on the Cents Jake Berger who kicked it out and onto the stick of a streaking Jared Marino who put the puck into the net for the 1-0 lead.
The Warriors added a goal late, when a bobble by the Cents defense allowed Willie Reim to gather the puck in tight, and he made a nice move backhand-forehand to slip it through the 5-hole of Berger for the 2-0 lead, and that's how the 1st ended.
The West Kelowna Warriors used a 27-save performance by Nik Amundrud and a five-goal outburst for a 5-1 victory over the Merritt Centennials on Saturday night at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.
The Cents didn't start the second period as they drew it up in the dressing room, as the Warriors pounced twice within the first minute of play to make it 3-0. Tyler Jutting wired a shot past Berger's glove, and just 27 seconds later RJ Murphy received a cross ice pass and went five hole on Berger to make it 4-0.
The Warriors got their work done during the early goings of the period, and the score remained at 3-0 after 40 minutes of play. Halfway through the period there was a goaltending change. Berger allowed 4 goals on 26 shots, and his counterpart for the Warriors, Nik Amundrud, was perfect in his action stopping all 27 shots he faced. Berger gave way to Jon Holloway, and Amundrud left the net to Billy Girard for the remainder of the game.
In the 3rd, the Centennials came out with a bit more energy, but still surrendered the first goal of the period. Bennett Norlin managed to beat Holloway, blocker side, to put the Warriors up 5-0.
The Cents responded just a minute later when Blake Sidoni had a text book screen in front, and managed to deflect a Jackson Munro point shot up and over Girard for the lone tally for the Cents to make it 5-1. Shortly after, Sidoni made a move in tight that went off the crossbar and out, and was amongst the strongest Cents on the ice. Despite not finding the back of the net, Alex Bourhas was a bulldog on the ice always going after the puck with intent and pace. Holloway finished the game with 11 saves on 12 shots.
After the game, Head Coach and General Manager Joe Martin said that in a game like this it gives them a good read on who has a heartbeat out there against the odds.
"You're looking for guys when it's not going your way to somehow change the game in your favour... you have to show something. You're looking for guys like that, not guys that go out there and cave. The positive thing is, it helped us make some decisions."
The Cents are now 1-2-0-0 in the Preseason and will next face the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Wednesday, August 30th for a rematch after topping them 7-4 in the first preseason match earlier this week.