The Cents are coming off one of their most impressive wins of the year against the West Kelowna Warriors taking the game by a score of 5-1, and they look to continue that same game style as they begin a 4 game road swing away from the Nicola Valley.
The journey begins at the Q Centre in Victoria where they take on the tied for 1st place in the Island Division Grizzlies who have a 10-7-2-0 record. The Cents split the season series against the Grizzlies last season with both teams taking their home games in tight one goal fashion. The Cents won 3-2 in Merritt, and the Grizzlies won 5-4 in Victoria.
The Cents are hoping that the Island Division is kinder to them than it was last season where they struggled to a 2-9 record. As mentioned, one of their lone wins came against the Grizzlies. The Cents finished October 4-4-2-0, which was an improvement over their 2-6-0-0 record in September, and they'll look to improve that in November.
The Grizzlies come into this game after a busy October in which they played 11 games. The Grizzlies finished 5-6 and come into the game losers of two straight, their last against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in double overtime 3-2.
Victoria is led offensively by stand out rookie Alex Newhook who has 21 points in 19 games played. The Grizzlies also boast 5 more players who have more than 10 points this year: Lucas Clark (17), Jamie Rome (15), Ethan Nother (14), TJ Friedmann (12), and Justin Michaelian (11).
After struggling to begin the year on the powerplay the Centennials now have the 7th best powerplay in the league at 18.6%, the Grizzlies are just ahead of them at 6th with 20%. The Grizzlies have the leagues 3rd best penalty kill at 85.5%, but only have one short handed goal. The Cents aggressive penalty kill is sitting at 80.8%, but are one off the league pace with 5 short handed goals for.
Regardless of whether he starts or plays back up, the game will be the first for goaltender Austin Roden in a Centennials jersey after being acquired earlier in the week from the Nanaimo Clippers. To date he has a BCHL record of 11-14-2 with a 3.17 goals against average, and a .901 save percentage with two shutouts in 34 games.
Head Coach Joe Martin says the Victoria start will be nice, but the team will be tough.
" Starting in Victoria geographically is nice, but they're a good team, a fast team, and have good goaltending."
The Cents will hope to test the goaltender early and often tonight at the Q Centre in Victoria. 7pm puck drop, 6:45 Pre Game with Jared Thomas on 101.1 FM, or stream the game on your desktop or device at q101.ca.