The Merritt Centennials travelled to the Shaw Centre for the final time already this season, and for the second time in three trips the Cents had the opportunity to catch the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in the standings. The first time, in early October the Cents suffered their most resounding defeat of the season 7-4, and tonight they may have suffered one of their most deflating losses on the year 5-3.
The first period was exactly as Assistant Coach Matt Samson scripted it, a strong first 10 minutes capped off by a powerplay goal from Brad Cocca at the 9:04 mark after a beautiful cross ice saucer pass from Jackson Munro following a feed from the line from Colten Gerlib.
The Cents finished the period strong courtesy the Captain, Tyrell Buckley, who cheated down from the left point and was found with a brilliant pass from the right side corner to the left inside hashmark, and Buckley went top shelf over Kyle Dumba who got the start in net for the Silverbacks.
After 20 minutes of play Jacob Berger remained unscathed on 11 shots, and Dumba had surrendered 2 goals on 15 shots.
The Cents wouldn’t remain unscathed in the second period. Trevor Adams was found down low after a turnover at the line by Hudson Schandor, and Adams was able to fire it past Berger to get the ‘Backs within one 2-1.
5 minutes later at the 13:39 mark Matthieu Gosselin was able to bat home the rebound off a Munro point shot to restore the two goal lead for the Cents.
The two goal lead would only last 3 minutes as the Cents surrendered a powerplay to the top ranked team in the league late in the second and the top scorer on the Silverbacks, Rheett Kingston was able to score.
The third period saw the Cents kill off some penalties early before surrendering the tying goal at the 7:53 mark from Adams for his second of the night, and under a minute later the Silverbacks got their first lead of the game from their Captain, Grayson Constable.
Constable would add one late to put the game out of reach 5-3.
After the game, Head Coach Joe Martin said that he felt his club didn’t come to play in the third.
“Their veteran players out played our veteran players. Our older players were -2 in that period, and that was the difference.”
The Cents unbeaten streak stops at 4, and they won’t get a chance to avenge this loss until next Friday when they face the visiting, league leading Vernon Vipers at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.