The Merritt Centennials and Nanaimo Clippers combined for a whopping 1/16 on the powerplay on Saturday night, but Nanaimo had more markers 5-on-5 to make the difference 3-1.
In the first, the Cents had some jump, but with the game scoreless 6 minutes in the Nanaimo Clippers broke the goose egg to make it 1-0 on a goal from Josh Bourne to the side of the net.
The Cents carried the play, and were forcing the Clippers to take penalties, as they had 5 opportunities on the powerplay in the first, but were unable to convert despite good puck movement.
It was a sleepy second period with no goals scored, part of that was due to a fearless play by Zach Court to block a shot face first. He was stitched up and returned to action before the end of the 2nd.
In the third, the Cents went to the box early, with Christian Sabin going to the box for tripping, and on that powerplay the Clippers were able to convert. Leading goalscorer Tristan Crozier was able to get one up high on Austin Roden who made his first start since returning from injury, and against his former club. That gave the Clippers the 2-0 lead.
Despite Chase Bell taking a tripping call at the 2:31 mark, Zach Zorn was able to convert on a short-handed partial breakaway. Driving wide on the left side, Zorn barrelled towards the net, made a move to the backhand and beat Noah Featherstonehaugh Gove short side mid-blocker to get the Cents back within one.
The Cents were plagued by penalties from the remainder of the period, but had an opportunity even strength for the final two minutes. The Cents didn’t get the opportunity to pull the goalie and push for the equalizer as Preston Brodziak was able to convert on an odd-man rush after Roden made the initial save.
Roden was sensational, especially in the third period when the Cents were shortmanned 6 times, but his efforts weren’t enough to spur the team onto a comeback.
After the game, Joe Martin felt despite the number of penalties in the third they were all justified.
“Sabin is digging for a loose puck, and trips someone. Chase Bell – the same thing. Tyrell Buckley is trying to stop a breakaway, Joey Berkopec is doing the same. Ashton Stockie is following through on a clearing attempt and catches someone up high.”
The Cents will try to stay out of the box and get onto the board with more regularity tomorrow afternoon in Duncan when the Cents square off against the Cowichan Valley Capitals.
Puck Drop 2pm, Pre-Game 1:45 on Q101.1FM or online at q101.ca