The Merritt Centennials started to show some fight late in the game, but the damage had already been done. The Wenatchee Wild scored 2 in the first and second, and that was all they needed to get by the Cents in the third as they won by a score of 4-0.
Jasper Weatherby, the league's MVP and leading scorer showed why in the first period with two goals. One 5-on-5 where he came out from the nearside corner, with a move along the goal line before cutting in front of the net and beating Jacob Berger down low short-side past the toe to make it 1-0. He added another on the powerplay on a deflection off a point shot from Sam Morton to make it 2-0. The powerplay was the Wild's first of the game.
In the second, the Wild added another on the powerplay from Zak Galambos, who walked in from the right point and fired one five-hole from the right dot to make it 3-0.
Wild Captain AJ Vanderbeck has the games final goal 5-on-5 with a nice tic-tac-toe play from Murphy Stratton to Weatherby behind the net, before it was put to Vanderbeck who fired it quickly on Berger. That would end Berger's night with 2 minutes to go in the second period.
Austin Roden came on in relief and stopped the 2 shots he faced in the second plus the 14 he faced in the third to go unbeaten. He made some huge saves late when the Cents started to get a little unruly, and were taking repeated trips to the penalty box. Nick Wicks had a shorthanded breakaway, and Mathieu Gosselin had a chance coming out of the box but neither could solve Seth Eisele who made 14 saves for the shutout.
The Cents have plenty of room for improvement as they head into game 2 of the series looking for a split. More shots, more time in the offensive zone, more determination, and more edge are in order. Head Coach Joe Martin said that whatever the reason was, his team has to move on.
"We can't change the past, we can't change what happened to us. We're here today, and we're down 1-0. Whether we lost 4-0 or 5-4 in overtime, a loss is a loss in the playoffs. Let's get over it, let's remember it, let's learn from it, and let's be better."
Game 2 goes Saturday night at 7pm, Pre-Game 6:50 with Jared Thomas on Q101.1FM or online at q101.ca.