The Merritt Centennials found their offensive legs in game 2, but weren’t able to stop the Wild on the penalty kill as they surrendered 4/6 and fell 6-4.
It was the Cents who struck early in the game, just 33 seconds in Christian Sabin snuck one past Seth Eisele shortside and it found a hole to make it 1-0.
The Wild were able to answer on the powerplay just 2 minutes later, and just 10 seconds in to the attack, Lucas Sowder was able to tie the game 1-1.
Nathan Ionnone got his first of the post season after a sneaky set up by Sam Morton who drove wide, and behind the net, dishing a no look backhand pass before skating out the other side and Austin Roden was caught looking the wrong way and beaten to the blocker side.
31 seconds later, Matt Kopperud was set up perfectly by Rylan Van Unen on a two-on-one, and Kopperud fired one between the legs of Eisele to draw the Cents level 2-2. Eisele would be pulled after allowing 2 goals on 3 shots, and the Cents would get their first taste of Austin Park who hasn’t started a single game all year against the Cents.
Chad Sasaki would add one late for the Wild to pull them back ahead 3-2, once again on the powerplay.
With just 6 seconds to go there was a dust up following a delayed high stick, and Murphy Stratton ended up cross checking Brendan Schneider from behind and going off for a 5 minute major and a game misconduct.
To start the second the Cents had virtually a full 5 minute powerplay, and halfway through that a full 2 minute 5-on-3, but weren’t able to convert on a glowing opportunity.
Halfway through the second the Wild would jump out by 2 following another powerplay goal. Jasper Weatherby found himself open between the hashmarks and ripped one glove side on Roden to make it 4-2. That would end Roden’s night and Jake Berger would come into the game, marking the second game in a row where the Cents netminder had been pulled.
Late in the second, the Cents would start to come on strong. Mathieu Gosselin got the puck at the right hash mark off a feed from Nick Wicks and was able to fire one blocker side to get the Cents within one.
Less than a minute later Zach Risteau beat Park clean to the glove side and blast the water bottle off the netting to make it 4-4.
The Cents went into the third with the game in their hands, but after surrendering an early powerplay to the Wild, which they killed, the Cents found themselves on their heels.
Jasper Weatherby got the go ahead goal off a deflection of a Cooper Zech shot to pull the Wild ahead at the 11:45 mark, and AJ Vanderbeck iced the game with 1:30 to go before the Cents could even pull the goalie.
After the game, Head Coach Joe Martin noted that the Cents got caught up in the moment.
“Towards the end of the game, or during that 5-on-3 powerplay we got a little caught up in the moment and were forcing plays, or just throwing pucks away instead of making something happen.”
The Cents will look to stay more disciplined, and make more happen when they return home to the Nicola Valley for a Tuesday night matchup at 7pm.