The Centennials look to make it three wins in a row for the second time this season, and the only thing standing between them and another win streak is the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.
The Cents are coming off two of their more dominant performances on the year, topping West Kelowna 5-1 on Sunday before beating the Victoria Grizzlies last night 6-0. Against the Grizzlies Matt Kopperud was a force all night recording the Gordie Howe hat trick, a goal, an assist, and a fight and Jacob Berger got his first shutout of the season.
The Bulldogs won their most recent game against the Cowichan Valley Capitals, doubling them up 6-3, but before that were on a 4-game losing skid.
Both teams are very similar standings wise as they both own 7 wins on the year, but the Bulldogs have one less loss and two ties to edge the Centennials in the overall standings by one point with 17 compared to the Cents 16. Despite having less points, the Cents actually have a positive goal differential, as they've scored 2 more times than they've been scored against with 61 goals on the year, good enough for 10th in the league. The Bulldogs have only managed 49 goals, third worst in the league, and have allowed 66 for a -17 differential.
The Bulldogs are led offensively by a defenseman, Mitchell Oliver (13), and a trio of rookies: Jackson Doucet (12), Brandon Bergado(11) and Keaton Mastrodonato (11). With solid performances in the last few games the Cents' Zach Zorn moves into a tie with Nick Wicks in points with 15, and three rookies are now over the ten point plateau: Matthieu Gosselin (11), Ashton Stockie (10), and Brendan Schneider (10).
This game could mark the first start for newly acquired Austin Roden in between the pipes, but with Jacob Berger getting his first shutout of the year, Head Coach Joe Martin may want to ride the hot hand. The Bulldogs will likely turn to John Hawthorne in net who owns a 6-3-0-2 record with a .922 save percentage and a 2.73 goals against average. However, the Cents could see their goaltender from last season between the pipes as Colten Lancaster was traded tothe Bulldogs during the summer, he sports a 1-7 record wih a .882 save percentage and a 4.16 goals against average, but his familiarity with the Cents could give him the edge.
Head Coach Joe Martin believes that carrying over the good vibes from last night could be crucial to success tonight.
"I think the positivity and carrying that over will be a big factor. In the last two games, the team has seen what a successful first period can do to set the tone for the hockey game, so we'll look to do the same again tonight."
Puck Drops at 7pm from the Dog Pound in Port Alberni. Pre Game at 6:45 with Jared Thomas on Q101.1FM or on q101.ca on your desktop or device.